The Linguist

The Linguist 53,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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A unique experience ESN offers opportunities that might not otherwise be available to exchange students. At 'tandem' language exchange events, each Erasmus student is assigned a student from their host country to talk to, encouraging thorough immersion in the language and international social connections. ESN organises weekly events so that adapting to the new home becomes a natural process rather than a shock, as well as subsidised trips to tourist sites to allow students to gain a better understanding of the host country's culture. Marzia Lapadula began an Erasmus placement at the University of Bristol in September, as part of her degree at the Università di Bologna. 'I took part in different events ESN proposed – a walking tour of Bristol, a trip to Bath – as well as in some tandem language exchange meetings they offered to practise English,' she says. FEATURES Charis Fisher looks at the benefits of linking up university Erasmus societies through a student network The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a volunteer organisation which has been a key player in enriching exchange students' experiences abroad since it was founded in 1989, at a meeting between the Erasmus Bureau and 32 former Erasmus students. It offers a support network to university Erasmus societies so that they can improve the quality of the events they offer to help integrate international students in the host city. ESN now covers 430 Higher Education institutions in 36 countries, ranging from Iceland, Latvia and Cyprus – with one ESN section each – to Poland with 33 sections, Turkey with 34 and Italy with 50. As you might expect, Spain, Germany and France also have large ESNs, with the UK falling on middle ground – along with Sweden, Switzerland and Hungary – each with 15 participating institutions. Five UK candidate sections are hoping for approval in October. The journey for ESN UK has been relatively difficult. Local boards were formed and disbanded, leading to a lack of continuity. However, within the last eight years it has gathered strength. ESN Bristol is a good example, re-establishing itself in 2012 after closing in the 1990s. Today, it is a strong section, which organises a variety of events for incoming exchange students – and I have been involved in the coordination of these events since returning from my third year abroad last year. ESN local boards can ask for guidance from the National Board, which is made up of experts who have been running their local ESN sections for years. Local boards can get advice on how to improve the experience of incoming exchange students, how to get them talking to both local and Erasmus students, and how to manage the business side of ESN initiatives. Initially funded by the European Commission, it is now self-financed, mainly through student membership fees. A better exchange

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