“If you told us a year ago that we would be here, we wouldn’t believe you!”
This was the first phrase that our volunteers said when they arrived in Bergamo airport, Italy. There our ESN fellows surprised us in the best way possible:
Maybe you are wondering now how did we get in touch with each other? From 2000 km distance, 2 ESN sections from more than 550 local sections of the Erasmus Student Network, the biggest student organisation from Europe, we had a great opportunity that united us.
The European Campus of City-Universities, or EC2U is an alliance that consists of 7 universities, University of Coimbra (Portugal), Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (Romania), the University of Jena (Germany), the University of Pavia (Italy), the University of Poitiers (France-Coordinator), the University of Salamanca (Spain) and the University of Turku (Finland) and more than 30 associated partners. The main aim of the Alliance is creating a pan-european campus, increasing the mobility opportunities within the seven Universities and developing innovative education and research models. https://ec2u.eu/
As associated partners of the EC2U Alliance, we were lucky enough to meet the other 6 ESN sections during an online meeting, and establish a first collaboration with S.T.E.P. ESN Pavia, an online podcast, that led to the idea of actually having the chance to meet each other also in person, for a face to face podcast this time.
Thanks to the support of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, University of Pavia and EC2U Alliance, 4 of our volunteers started packing for a new adventure, that lasted from 16 to 20 September 2021.
Some of the volunteers from S.T.E.P ESN Pavia welcomed us at the airport, and it was so nice to meet these awesome people, that this first meeting looked more like a reunion with some old friends. The fact that we have the same mission and values, as ESN local sections, helped us a lot in finding connections, things in common.
During the meeting with EC2U responsibles next day, we had the chance to visit one of the world’s oldest academic institutions, University of Pavia. We were amazed by the warm welcome, good vibes and professional people that we found there. In the same day, we met online the Erasmus community of Pavia, promoting our activities to them.
But that was not all, because our friends prepared a lot of activities for us.
We tasted the true italian breakfast and lunch together with them, they guided us through the city, showing us the beauties of Pavia. Later on, we met physically the Erasmus students, by showing them the traditional dances of Romania, proudly wearing our traditional costumes “ie” and “catrință”.
The most important activity was the filming of the podcast, that we enjoyed very much. We learned from the best what materials do we need, tips and tricks on how to make a podcast by ourselves when we come back home. We can’t wait to share the final result, thank you so much for having us!
In order to thank our hosts, we also cooked for them, letting them taste a small part of the traditional Romanian cuisine, with the famous “mămăligă”, “tochitură”, “cartofi țărănești” and “gogoși” as dessert.
This whole adventure was about sharing best practices, learning new useful things, also new things about Italian culture. We surprisingly found out that we have similar events, that we face similar problems, and from now on we will work to find solutions together. We came back home with the promise that this will not be our last meeting, but only the start of a really nice collaboration. Dear S.T.E.P ESN Pavia, we are waiting for you in Iasi as soon as possible!
Now we want to thank you all for everything and we are sure that this meeting will inspire also other local ESN sections to take the step, to collaborate between each other, but also to get in touch more with their Universities, by supporting their activities and having common projects. This was just the beginning, and we can’t wait to collaborate with the other EC2U partners as well! Because this Alliance represents one of the best ways to promote mobility between the 7 partnered cities, in order to achieve a united and stronger Europe.