On May the 18th, the Kyiv branch of FRI organized the first of three webinars of the online intensive “Erasmus: get prepared for a dream”, where short-term exchanges were discussed.
During the webinar, the head of the FRI International Department, Olha Dobrova, shared the resources for searching Erasmus+ projects, explained how to write cover letters correctly, and gave some pieces of advice about things to be done before, during and after the project. Learn more in our material.
Olha keeps international practice active: she works as a program coordinator at Kyiv Economic school, she has been to 40 countries and coordinated youth exchanges Erasmus+. FRI-girl isn’t going to stop on what she has reached and she happily shares information about her experience with everyone who is interested in Erasmus+ projects and willing to participate in international activities.
The webinar started with the “bingo”-introduction, where all the participants had a chance to get to know each other. People who, for instance, have visited up to 10 countries and more, know more than 5 foreigners and have written over 15 motivational letters, shared their experiences. This kind of informal communication helped the audience to set a positive mood and get prepared for the main part.
So, where do I look for the opportunities?
Short-term projects Erasmus+ are 5–21 day long exchanges, trainings and courses for the young people.
The main question, which usually interests new kids, is where to search for the opportunities. Olha shared the detailed list of Telegram channels, where are websites and groups in social networks, which provide international opportunities.
Olha doesn’t recommend to consider the website Salto as the main source for a search, because the concurrence is too high there, but now there are new opportunities opening, so there is a possibility to find a lot of online-exchanges for the youth.
The list of requirements
Requirements for the participants aren’t universal and they are usually specific for every program. It contains the main information, such as knowledge of the language, age, nationality, experience, communication and teamwork skills etc. If you are self-assured and you have experience of coordination, you might be accepted as a team leader. Team leaders usually have more duties and more responsibility.
Sometimes you get paid for participation in the project, but usually, the amount is not more than 20-30 euros. Most organizations prefer to take in the people who don’t have big international experience yet so that everyone could have a chance to participate.
To finance one 7-days long project for 30 participants, the organization has to cover spendings in the amount of 20 thousand euros. Therefore, during the selection process commission usually puts their attention to applicants’ motivation and makes sure they don’t just want to go abroad for free.
Motivational letters and application forms
The interviews for short-termed projects are seldom conducted that is why candidates are only able to make an impression on commission by their application form and motivational letter. The text of motivational letter should be divided into paragraphs, written in English with simple sentences. First of all, should be added a catchphrase and then present the experience in the sphere of the project. It is important to mention how you can contribute to the project and what you want to learn there. The most important is being genuine and remember about the summary. Do not write the motivational letter in one day, it is better to leave it for a few days, and then come to it and have the second but fresh look at it.
At the youth exchanges, the main program is being constructed by the participants, and communication and experience exchange is most accentuated. There are no boring university lectures, and everyone can contribute to the project. The relevant experience for the projects can be attained through volunteer or public organizations. It is important to praise yourself in the motivational letter, but not too much.
Write the truth. Everything that you point out can be really checked through social media.
Write briefly. Do not waste the time of organizers by reading. Your task is not only to open yourself in the letter and show your knowledge on practice. Do not try to tell everything that you know, because organizers know it too. Do not wait until the deadline.
Question: How much attention do they pay to the accuracy of written English?
Answer: The level of English for the projects is B1 and higher. They are not very meticulous when it comes to grammar, important is that you were able to communicate at the project. Try to simplify the motivational letter not to make mistakes. Don’t forget that there are 300 people for only 4-5 places.
Question: How to answer “Why should you participate in this project?”
Answer: You can share your own experience, your public activity. Tell them how you can contribute to the project and what you will gain from that. Use concrete examples. Read the aims of the projects beforehand and think about how you can achieve them.
Question: How to start the motivational letter?
Answer: You can write your motivation. You don’t have to start with your name, age, place of living if these facts are not related to your motivation. Remember that the reader gets many similar letters and think about what you can say to stand out. Show your open-mindedness, positive life views in the first paragraph. Be really honest and try out storytelling: imagine that you are telling an interesting story to your friend. Olha, for example, used the quotations of famous people and lines from the songs.
Question: Where to search partners, financial support for the organization of the projects?
Answer: In FRI we teach to write projects, so you can join our International Department. In case you are interested contact Olha Dobrova.
If you are interested in Erasmus+
Use the “Erasmus search for partners” query. All Erasmus+ projects funded by the European Commission (the EU body). Only the EU member states and countries that are in agreement can submit applications. Therefore, for your event, you will need to find partners from European NGOs.
Preparation for the project
At the project, you will need to present your country. It usually happens in the evening after the main activities. Try to do it interactively: use games, songs, dances to keep people involved and moving because most of the time they sit and study anyways. You can also bring sweets and traditional dishes.
Be ready to talk about the organization that sent you to the project. If you do not belong to the organization that you applied from, learn some necessary information. However, do not spend too much time on it.
You can get home tasks: something to learn, to discover, or to prepare. Check the project for such additional tasks, because your performance is your active participation.
- Ready issued biometric travel passport or travel passport with a visa (active for at least another six months and with a few blank pages).
- Insurance. The organization does not check it, but you might need to show it at the airport.
- Tickets. You can discuss it with your team.
- All confirmation documents must be easily accessible during the flight. Keep them close so that you could get your money back (e.g., confirmation of hotel reservations, boarding passes, confirmation letters, etc).
During the project you will:
- practice English;
- become more open;
- make new friends.
Tips during the project:
- Try to communicate not only with representatives from your country but with as many people as possible.
- Present your country well!
Outcomes after the project:
The story does not end when you leave. People will often ask you to write some posts, perform specific tasks, organize events, and workshops connected to your project.
Be prepared that after the project:
- you will be sad;
- you will look at the world and your country differently;
- you will probably want more :)
- Do not be afraid!
- Ask, submit applications, open new directions!
- Erasmus+ project is a positive, life-changing experience. However, do not expect too much regarding the educational aspect. You will unlikely solve the world’s environmental problems later because the projects usually do not have academic formats, a large number of lectures, and so on. The primary purpose of such events is intercultural communication among the youth.
- Choose the project that you will be interested in.
- Show the selection committee your experience and that the topic of the project is close to you.
- Prepare documents in advance, not at the last moment 🙂
Keep an eye on FRI to stay up to date!
Written by Maria Ridkous
Poster design: Olexandra Dashko