From the kitchen table to the EU - Former Erasmus Students invited to Brussels
On 24th April two former Erasmus Students of Tomas Bata University in Zlín presented their Erasmus Complete project to the European Commission.
The Erasmus Complete project aims at informing future exchange students about all the possible options of spending one semester abroad. It is run as a student to student project – and is closely linked to Tomas Bata University: “It all started in our kitchen during our Erasmus Semester in Zlin” Ricardo Dores, one of the project managers, remembers “and now we have produced the unique idea of improving the Erasmus Programme back at that institution which enabled us to spend this unforgettable semester abroad.”
In December 2006 during their Erasmus Semester at Tomas Bata University Ricardo Dores and Michael Steinmann came up with the idea of creating one web-portal where all the relevant information about living and learning in the Erasmus Universities throughout Europe can be found. Since this time the two of them have been pursuing their idea and could win three international universities as supporting institutions. One of them is TBU which plays an important part within Erasmus Complete. “We are especially proud to be supported by Tomas Bata University”, Michael Steinmann alludes. “The creative and inspiring atmosphere of our semester at TBU can still be seen inside Erasmus Complete - no matter what we do.”
Furthermore, the two home universities of the former Erasmus Students (University of Algarve in Faro / Portugal and the University of Paderborn / Germany) as well as the Zlin Region support the project. Ondrej Benesik (Zlin Region) clearly names the reasons for that support “A Project like Erasmus Complete will attract more international students to Zlin and thus it will make our university and the city of Zlin internationally more visible.” More visible is now also the project itself – now, after the presentation in Brussels where Ricardo Dores and Michael Steinmann were invited by Alan Smith (Head of Erasmus Programme) to present their idea. “The perspective of becoming a European Union project improved a lot due to our presentation” Ricardo Dores states. “Even if a few bureaucratic obstacles need to be overcome.” “And if such a clearly European Project is not supported by the EU, I don’t believe in the idea of a united Europe anymore.” Michael Steinmann adds confidentially.
With the backup of a successful presentation within the EU the whole team of Erasmus Complete is looking forward to approach the next steps. “We can’t wait until Erasmus Complete is online and hope to be able to present a prototype to our supporters before the end of the summer” the project Managers announce.
However, Brussels was not the last step on the way to success – the next important move is already scheduled: During the Erasmus Coordinator Conference, which will take place in Vilnius / Lithuania from 10th to 12th May, Erasmus Complete will be presented to about 200 universities at once. “A good opportunity to establish closer contacts to other universities – and to meet the TBU International Affairs Department again.” smiles Michael Steinmann.