Dynamic pace of today’s world definitely changes the functions of educational process, while the society has an increasing demand for a deeper personal development. That’s why international cooperation, partnerships and academic mobility are so valuable at this time, because they mean professional development, new knowledge, skills and experience.
Today, there is a number of education programs for Ukrainian youths provided under existing agreements between Ukraine and the EU and encouraging young Ukrainians to learn about the diversity of European cultures and languages and understand their value.
International cooperation is presently possible at secondary school and at university levels. However, educational opportunities are not confined to educational institutions only. The most publicized program offering mobility opportunities to Ukrainians is Erasmus+. The program’s architecture comprises several key components: Mobility (КА1); Cooperation projects for development of innovations and exchange of successful practices (КА2); Support for reforms (КА3); Jean Monnet and Sport. The “Youth mobility” component includes: youth exchanges, exchanges for youth workers, and volunteer projects.
Last year, Yuri Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University was ranked among the top five higher education institutions which received the largest number of academic mobility projects under the EU’s Erasmus+ program. The university has the total of over 185 agreements with 32 countries of the world. In 2019, the university assigned 1115 students, members of academic staff and other employees for practical training.
“Besides general university agreements, we have agreements on implementation of EU projects Erasmus+, КА1. They are about mobility of university students, lecturers and employees. There are 30 of them today, but the updated information about the number of agreements will be available in late August. Under these 30 agreements, our students have the opportunity to study one semester, lecturers to teach and do research work, and employees to get practical training abroad,” Serhii Lukaniuk, Head of International Relations Department, says.
Therefore, this program is a good opportunity for students to study one semester at a European university, gain experience, receive more specialized knowledge, and improve their language skills. Under this program, members of academic staff can improve their language proficiency, establish new contacts, and later submit joint applications for other projects (for example, КА2) or large structural projects.
Andrii Stiopkin, presently a fifth-year student at the faculty of history of political science and international relations, studied for one semester in Oradea, Romania. In his time, he passed a contest among the university’s students. The criteria included the result of an English language test and academic progress. “I selected the required number of hours from among the proposed disciplines taught in English. I liked the emphasis placed in the teaching and knowledge evaluation methodology on development of presentations and visualization of study. Overall, the participation in this program was a good experience for me. It was extremely interesting to see what educational process looks like in another country and to learn about its culture. This program also helped substantially improve my proficiency in English, because I constantly stayed in an English-speaking environment,” Andrii says.
It is important that under Erasmus+ program, Chernivtsi National University also receives participants of educational process from the partner universities.
“Last year, we received over 850 lecturers and students from our partner universities under Erasmus and bilateral agreements. Lecturers from the partner universities teach classes to our students in English. It is important, because not everybody can travel abroad and not everybody has sufficient mastery of a foreign language. Therefore, visits of foreign lecturers also provide an additional stimulus to students to improve their language proficiency,” Serhii Lukaniuk says.
Khrystyna Gavryliuk, a participant of Erasmus+ program for Ukrainian organizations, spoke about her personal experience. “The participants are members or activists of organizations operating in various areas. At the same time, it allowed to develop some general (not situational) algorithms that would have worked in building an organizational structure, fundraising, mobilizing volunteers. Surely, communication with people from other countries, where organizations operate and are built in a different environment and different culture, was valuable. Perhaps that is what, first of all, short-term Erasmus programs are about: a dialogue via intensive learning,” Khrystyna Gavryliuk said.
eTwinning is another mobility program from the European Union. This is an education program launched by the European Commission for the purpose of facilitating international cooperation between teachers and schools by using information and communication technologies and creating joint online projects. It provides a powerful impetus to study foreign languages and improve the use of information technologies in teaching and in trainings for teachers. Teachers and students registered in eTwinning network receive the opportunity to implement joint projects with other European schools and join European education community.
Working together with colleagues from Turkey under eTwinning program, Marianna Klymchuk, a teacher from Dolishniy Shepit village, decided to develop civic competencies in her students and familiarize them with the rules of life of a democratic world via own participation in the creation of that world. During one year, the participants created their own democratic country, held an election, drew up a manifesto of human rights and the rights of a child, and conducted many other activities.
“Thanks to our joint work with partners from Turkey, I was able to master many online instruments and teach my students how to use them. This project was closely related to development of civic competencies, which are some of the key competencies defined by national standards. The project’s outcome included several joint media products which we all are proud of and which other students and parents can use,” Marianna Klymchuk said.
Rustam Chornohuz, a sixth-grader, said that while participating in this project he was able to work as a “news editor” and interview the project’s participants in English about the promises of their “parties”. “We all learned to express our ideas about the better life. This project developed in me strong interest in reading, communication and cooperation with partners in Turkey,” Rustam said.
Therefore, education programs initiated by the European Union offer mobility opportunities for Ukrainians, a chance to better understand the intercultural dialogue, enhance cooperation between organizations, improve the level of education, develop linguistic competencies, and overall, the opportunity for general self-improvement. The only thing you need to participate is desire.
By Olha Obersht