The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) organised a fundraising event for Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical School's Paediatric Clinic and Paediatric Health Centre and for the House of Nationalities as part of the Autumn Cultural Festival. The multicultural music programme was hosted by Café Radnóti.
ESN's local mentoring team currently has around 50 volunteers who assist international students to settle down. Not only do they organise programmes for them, but they also help with administrative matters. Besides the entertaining funciton of the programmes they represent social importance. A recent fundraising event was one of these, where amateurs and students instrumentalists and their mentors took turns on stage. We interviewed Andrea Szécsi, one of ESN's mentors, head of the Social Inclusion team and the brainchild and main organiser of the fundraising event.
- How did the idea for the Erasmus Student Network Evening come about?
– The idea first came to me two years ago, when I saw that our international students were very active in music-related events, and many of them also played instruments. This was the inspiration for the Erasmus Student Network Evening, which was eventually organised around a fundraising campaign. Since then, the entry fee has been linked to that particular fundraising. This time, for example, you could bring blankets, baby bottles or toiletries. Last time, we loaded a whole van with the items collected. For this event, ESN's mentoring team in Szeged won the International Project Implementation Award 2021, the third best of all fundraising events organised in Hungary in 2020. Our goal is to work with more and more organisations to help as many different people as possible.
– I myself have experienced first-hand the importance of having a mentor network in a foreign country in the Erasmus+ programme. How do you try to help foreign students coming to Szeged?
–For foreign students who come to study with Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship, we can help you find a flat and open a bank account. They can turn to us for any translation or administrative help - they are guided by more experienced mentors. Some students are completely independent and can do it all by themselves, and others need a lot of help. The new mentors are more involved in mentoring Erasmus+ scholarship holders. However, we will of course organise more activities for them, similar to the Erasmus Student Network evening.
– What are these programmes? What can you expect this school year?
– We have five event management teams. The programme organised at Café Radnóti during the Autumn Cultural Festival is a programme of our Social inclusion team. This team usually organises fundraising events, such as this concert. The Trip Organiser Team organises bike tours and city visits. The Team Green and Heart is responsible for picnics and litter picking, and Mov'in Europe is promoting the Erasmus+ programme. We also have a PR team who, although they don't have their own event, are a very important part of ESN as they are responsible for all the social media coverage. And we also have events that are not linked to any team. For example, our Halloween parties, our carnival parties and our quiz nights - these are expected for this school year.
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– What can you expect if you join their network as a volunteer? Why should you join?
– We are a welcoming team, like a real big family. When I was at university I felt a bit lost and I was very happy to join the team because, apart from making a lot of good friends, I also got to know a lot of different cultures. That's why I encourage everyone to join us, even if you can't be so active because of your other commitments.
- What do you recommend to students in Szeged who are still considering participating in Erasmus+ or other similar scholarship programmes?
– I urge them to take advantage of this opportunity. I think it's a good and a useful experience ao participate in a scholarship programme. Erasmus+, for example, has week-long, month-long courses and summer school opportunities as well.
SZTEinfo - Fanni Fedor
Photo: Péter Zentai