By NICK JOHNSON

FOSDI/RDA volunteers held a presentation about opportunities to study and volunteer abroad in the College of Applied Sciences in Uzice

On 11th of December the volunteers from Italy and Bulgaria for the project Corpi Civili di Pace implemented their first activity for the local community.
The presentation “Study and volunteer abroad” was shown to the students of the College of Applied Sciences in Uzice. As an introduction the public got familiar with the Italian Civil Corpse. The programme is financed by the Italian government and this year it involves 130 volunteers in different country. Corpi Civili di Pace is part of Italian Civil Service and it has been created as an alternative to the military service for peaceful conflict resolution. Volunteers shared their previous experiences in the Civil Service in Tansania, Bulgaria, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Core topics of the presentation were the Erasmus + projects. As of February 2019, Serbia is now an official Programme Country for Erasmus+.
Erasmus + offers opportunities to spend semester abroad in a Higher Educational Institution in Europe, that have a bilateral agreement with the university, where the students are enrolled. The programme offers also traineeships abroad for current students and recent graduates. All students can take advantage of the program for studying and traineeship for 12 months in total for every educational cycle – once in bachelor, once in master and once in doctoral study. Each student receives a grant which covers partly the costs of the stay abroad. Grants differ from sending and host countries. 

Other programme that was presented is Erasmus Mundus. Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) is international study programme, jointly delivered by an international consortium of higher education institutions. EMJMDs award EU-funded scholarships to the best student candidates applying under annual selection rounds. The mobility lasts from a minimum of 12 months, to a maximum of 24 months.
ERAWEB is a joint mobility project offered by six Western Balkan universities and five EU universities. The focus of ERAWEB is health sciences and the duration is from 1 to 36 months. The financing is based on scholarships, given for undergraduate, Master’s, doctorate and postdoctorate students, and also for academic staff. These scholarships include participation fees (where applicable), travel costs, a subsistence allowance, and insurance.
The U.S. embassy also offers financing for Serbian students through the programmes One Beat, Global Undergraduate Exchange programme and Fulbright Foreign Student programme.
Another main topic was the volunteering abroad. This was presented through 3 programs – European Solidarity Corps (the new name for the current programme period of the European Voluntary Service), and Interreg. Students could learn more about the options of short term volunteering – up to two months, and the long term one – up to 12 months. Part of those programs are also internships and working opportunities, financed by the European Union. Those opportunities has all costs covered, including the traveling to the country where the project takes place. The age requirements for ESC and EVS is 18 – 30, and for Interreg – up to 31. Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) has focus on economic, social and territorial development in the field of health, transport and sustainable energy.

Youth Exchanges and Training courses are also part of Erasmus +. Those mobilities are short term – usually around one week, and they don’t require participants to be enrolled students. Their main goal is for learning mobility and exchange of good practices. The age limit for the Youth Exchanges is up to 25 years, as for training courses there is no upper border. The travel, food and accommodation are provided by the organization, hosting the project, with the financial support of European Union.
For those who wants to stay in Serbia, but still experience the volunteering and help foreigners, there are few opportunities as well. One of the options is to become a mentor of volunteers. The role of the mentor is to support the foreign volunteer during the whole process of adaptation in the new country. Another option for the students is to join Erasmus Student Network and become a buddy of the exchange students. The mission of ESN is to represent international students, thus provide opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students. The third opportunity to experience different culture is to become volunteer or host of an international students, part of AFS network.
All those opportunities were presented also with the practical experience of the five Corpi Civili di Pace volunteers, so the auditory was able to get better understanding about the ups and downs of living abroad. 
The presentation attracted the interests of the local media. Here you can see the interviews with the volunteers, broadcasted on: 

TV5https://www.tv5.rs/2019/12/13/vsss-uzice-i-rra-zlatibor-organizovali-promociju-erasmus-programa/
The volunteers created also a short video about their first public experience in Uzice: https://youtu.be/PVwL3QkfmX4 
If you are interested to see the full presentation, you can find it here: https://prezi.com/view/TUdRnirKTBehE9DZpZAk/