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Salha Hanna, Vice President of ESN HYY Helsinki and the President elected of ESN Finland, assisting an Erasmus student.  Over 2 million students have taken the opportunity to study abroad since 1987.

IN OUR now heavily globalised world, the desire to experience different countries and cultures has become a significant factor in university students’ lives. Today, the Erasmus programme is more than a simple exchange programme that involves courses taken at host universities; it’s a lifelong experience that affects both your private life and academic career.

The programme was named after the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, who had the opportunity to live in numerous places in Europe so as to expand his knowledge and enrich his life with insights into foreign cultures. This exchange programme came into existence in 1987, and since then, over 2.2 million students have taken part in the Erasmus programme. Currently, the number of participating institutions is over 4,000 in the 33 countries involved in the programme. Finland joined the programme in 1993.

Apart from its role in shaping students’ studies, the Erasmus programme also gives its participants the chance to learn how to be self-reliant, dutiful and self-aware. For many participants, it is their first months spent abroad, which fosters their understanding of the host country and creates a community that helps them fit into their new environment. Several events are organised for exchange students throughout the year that help incoming students feel welcome.

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ESN Finland plays a substantial role in maintaining an enjoyable environment for those who come to Finland as exchange students. ESN Finland consists of 16 local sections all over Finland and is part of the Erasmus Student Network, which is present in 36 countries. ESN HYY Helsinki is one of the four local sections responsible for the activities organised for more than 1000 incoming students each academic year in Helsinki.

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EMIL CHALHOUB
HELSINKI TIMES

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