The History of Erasmus
In 1987, through the initiative of the European student association AEGEE, sponsored by the Education Commissioner Manuel Marin, during the tenure of the presidency of the Commission Jacques Delors, and with special support from the governments of France and Spain, the European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students was launched, whose acronym, ERASMUS, coincided with the Latin name of the famous humanist Erasmus from Rotterdam.
When the program was approved by the European Council on June 15th, 1987, only twelve countries participated, but what began as a timid approach among a handful of universities has become one of the most well known European mobility programs.
Over the years it has taken on new partners to a total of 33 members, 27 of which are Member States of the European Union, the four countries of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland , Liechtenstein , Switzerland and Norway ) and two candidate countries (Croatia and Turkey ). In 2012 it was announced that other members of the European Higher Education Area would be included: Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Spain was one of those 12 countries participating in the pioneering Erasmus scheme, just a year after joining the then European Economic Community, sending 95 students. The program has been a great success in our country, not only looking at the numbers involved (taking into account that some 41,000 Spanish students spent time studying or undertaking work placements in educational institutions and European companies in 2011-2012) , but by its unanimous international renown after winning the Prince of Asturias award for International Cooperation in 2004 .
The prize jury stated that the program is "one of the most important projects of international cooperation in the history of mankind".
The growth of student mobility in our country has been constant over the past 25 years. Spain has always been one of the top European countries as far as student mobility is concerned, since the academic year 2001-2002 being the first host country students, and from 2009-2010 the first country course issuer.
The Erasmus program went through different phases until 1994. In 1995 there was a profound restructuring of European programs in the field of education that have been grouped into a macro- called Socrates. Although Erasmus became a part of it, it retains its name and still deals with higher education.
But the biggest transformation of Erasmus came in 2007 when the Decision of the European Parliament and the Council of November 15, 2006 were adopted by establishing the new Lifelong Learning Programme. New procedures were incorporated into the program, among them student mobility for placements which, until then, had only been available in the Leonardo da Vinci scheme. Also Erasmus for the first time participated in professional training centres of higher education. This has certainly made significant changes that have enriched the program and have helped it to become the most widespread and popular.
In 2003 Erasmus reached one million students in the European Union, and in 2008-2009, it was two million and in 2009-2010 some 2,300,000 students moved throughout Europe thanks to the Program. If current trends continue, the European Commission predicts that for 2012-2013 it will have reached 3 million students in its 25 years.
Erasmus in IES Schamann
From the 1st of April until the 30th June 2013, Schamann hosted a full-time Slovenian student who did an internship with us before finishing college.
Jasmina Verbanac, fluent in four languages, came from the Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana .
The presence of these older students from other countries in Europe, at no cost to the school, is a great incentive and motivation for students. These professionals not only communicate in English with the students, but also show them the different traditions and customs of their country.
To fully perform their mission, in which they learn how to be teachers, the students prepare alongside the teachers interesting activities that can be used in different subjects to increase the motivation of the boys and girls for using English as a communication tool, and also to increase knowledge about other cultures. Thus, there is a mutual benefit, which is for the students to practice in a real environment and to see that students can communicate in a language other than their mother tongue, to a level higher than they expect.
Besides the above, Jasmina devoted some of her time to helping students prepare for the Trinity College exam which will be presented within the CLIL project and to be conducted by an external examiner from Britain. This exam will be conducted at the Centre and the title you get is an official certification of English proficiency.
Opening minds and convincing the students of this island not to be afraid to go out, to travel and to communicate in a language that is not their own, will hopefully be one of the results of the presence of young people in our classrooms.
We hope that for the families of our students, it will be interesting to hear what the students will have learned about the countries of origin of the Erasmus students, as it will hopefully become an exchange of experiences which will also reach the family.
Experiencia de los alumnos (OUR EXPERIENCE)
It is not the first time that we decided to come to Spain for a longer period of time. In 2011 we stayed in Madrid for six months where we did Erasmus exchange and because the experience was very positive we applied for the program Erasmus practice and here we are. We have been friends since secondary school and the fact that we both found a practice in the same city was really exciting for us. Beside that we both love working with children and to get experience of that kind, in times like this, was something that we both dreamed about.
We think that Erasmus program offers a lot to the students from our country, because experiencing it you get to know other countries, cultures and the way of living out of your place. And the most important fact, it gives you the financial means to be capable to get all of this experience.
We have been here for more than a month now and we are enjoying our work. We have to admit that there are differences between the educational system in Slovenia and Spain. And not just that, you can also notice the difference in methodology and approaches. As in every thing there are some good and bad things, considering Slovenian and Spain system. The best thing would be to select the positive aspects of each country and mix it together.
Most of all we like the relations between pupils and teachers. They get along very good; they look like a big family that helps each other not just in the school environment but as well in every day life. We thing that school teachers are like a second family for the youngsters.
For sure we can not avoid the importance of English in our schools. Both (CEIP Pepe Damaso and IES Schamann) are trying really hard to involve English language in all the lessons and make it closer to every day life. They talk with children all the time in English and consequently teach them how to use it in variety of situations.
We started this short overview with the information that we already experienced Erasmus exchange in Madrid and we wanted to finish it with letting you know that being here is a totally different aspect of the Erasmus program. It is true that is harder, you work every day and you are responsible for the pupils and you try to do your best to leave at least on piece of your knowledge to them. But on the other hand, you get to know the people and the culture in the best way possible. We are both surrounded with amazing people that are in the same time great professionals and great persons. We recommend this experience to each and everyone. Not just because you get experience in your field of studies, but also because you grow as a person.
Jasmina Verbanac and Anja Botjancic
My Experience at IES SCHAMANN (Jasmina Verbanac)
Everything began with one informational e-mail that I've got from my University in Ljubljana and it changed my whole year.
I am student of Primary education at University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Last year I applied for Erasmus practice but I never actually searched for some information where or when to go. I said if there will be an interesting opportunity I will take it, if not it is not meant to be. And there came e-mail from IES Schamann. I read all of the information about this school and suddenly it became my big desire to go there and experience it all. I wrote an e-mail to their agency and they gave me information how to get in contact with the headmistress of the school. Maria Jose immediately answered and procedure for getting into this school began. After one nervous week waiting for the news I finally got the mail I was thrilled about. I've got green light to organize all of my things and fly to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.
And there starts my experience at IES Schamann.
First when I stepped into this school I was a little bit afraid if I will fit in and if people there will like me, because of course I wanted to do and get the best of it. But there was no fear, because people of Canary Islands are very kind and warm. And so were the teachers there. I've also got my own mentor Caty, who helped me with any doubts I had. But there were as well other teachers from English department that made my staying there much easier. After losing my both grandpas during the stay there, they were all very supportive, understanding and they were always there for me what I really appreciate.
I need to say that I find the Spanish educational system very different from the one that I am used to in Slovenia. Here the people are much more opened and friendly. I don't want to say that people in Slovenia are cold and unfriendly, but you can see the differences between behavior in schools for example. Let's just mention atmosphere in the classroom. In Slovenia the teacher is the boss and everyone needs to listen to him, no matter what. There is most of the time the teacher who is speaking, the teacher who is saying what is wrong or what is right and there is always distance between student and teacher. In Canaries you can still see the teacher leading the class and making the rules but most of the time there are the students who are speaking and sometimes you can't stop them, because they are all very talkative and open minded. Sometimes for the teacher it is very hard because the students they all want to express their opinion. In Slovenia most of the times you need to force students to tell what they have in mind and force them to make some questions.
But on the other hand I think that in Slovenia they are more organized. One hour lasts 45 minutes and teachers have to prepare activities for each minute. Thereby the hour is divided in 3 parts. First part is motivation, last part conclusion and the part in the middle is for discussing about the new topic and learning new things. In Canaries there is some thread that the teacher is following but it is not certain when which thing is going to be done.
But I think no matter in which country you are, there are always teachers those who needs to inspire and encourage the students to strive for greatness, live their life to the fullest and find the best in themselves. And I had opportunity to see all of this also at IES Schamann.
For conclusion I want to tell that I've spent really amazing time there, surrounded with good teachers, wonderful persons and with students with big will to learn and give so much. I would recommend this experience to everyone!!!
Si necesitas ampliar información sobre la propuesta del nuevo programa Erasmus Para Todos 2014-2020 puedes acceder a las direcciones siguientes: