Culture is the knowledge and characteristics of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts. Culture is also a set of shared patterns of behaviours and interactions, cognitive constructs and understanding that are learned by socialisation. Culture is the past reflected in the present. Cultural heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Cultural heritage consists of cultural and creative resources of a tangible (like museums) or intangible (like a traditional dance) nature, with a value for society that has been publicly recognised in order to preserve it for future generations. It includes natural, built and archaeological sites, museums, monuments, artworks, historic cities, literary, musical, audiovisual and digital works, and the knowledge, practices and traditions of European citizens. Some heritage aspects are relevant to the whole world, deserving a special attention to their conservation, particularly under the management of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.
Education and youth:
Education and youth are the most important field for us. We are an association based on international education, mostly higher education, and it is integrated by young people that vindicate the importance of young people as social group to consider. All the activities we do are focus on the learning of the international students and their personal self-development. ESN understand education as a tool of social change, it’s the key to have a better society and formal, non formal and informal education are fundamental. We defend a quality education with a strong international and social dimensions, this internationalization is an amazing opportunity to develop important competences. We work with the main educational actors in the European Union to share our vision about education, we are also part of the Lifelong Learning Platform.
The society is living a constant growth and development that compromise the future of the same society and the planet as we know it. This fact, together with the lack of policies and control over the environment and the care of our environment, has made today is in clear danger the sustainability of the planet as we know it, from mediatic cases as climate change, to less known, such as could be the congestion of cities and large concentrations of population. It is common to confuse the concept of sustainability with the caring for the environment: although they are similar concepts in many cases, sustainability is a word that encompasses a wider field of realities. From the search for renewable and non-polluting energies to research on sustainable products and food with growth and with the planet, or the management of human communities in their different groupings, especially in the case of the big numbers that lives in the big cities.
Health and well-being:
We might be tempted to give a simplistic definition of “health” as a state of sound body and mind, and of “well-being” as how individuals feel about themselves, feeling healthy, happy and well-off; but when we combine the concepts, the discussion becomes more complex: that’s why through the years, the definition of “Health and Well-being” has changed a lot. Where in the past a mostly negative definition of Health and well-being was used that describes the concept merely as the absence of physical illness, disease and mental distress, now society uses a more positive definition in which the concept Health and Well-being can be defined as the achievement and maintenance of physical fitness and mental wellness. Nowadays “Health and Well-being” is seen as a combination of physical, social, intellectual and emotional factors, in an holistic definition of well-being characterised by a global approach.
Skills and employability:
The connection between employability, skill development, and mobility is more than evident. The latest Erasmus Impact Study clearly includes mobility, and in especially the mobility within Erasmus +, as a real boost to the Employability of participating students. These mobility experiences also increase entrepreneurship, innovation and adaptation capacity, curiosity, ability to collaborate and work in teams, and many other skills. In the same way, at ESN we also work for the recognition of skills acquired in volunteer experiences, and their importance in order to achieve job.
There are two main directions ESN is working towards in the field of social inclusion: widening participation and social integration. First, we aim to widen the participation of students with fewer opportunities, that are underrepresented in the Erasmus+ programme through the promotion of mobility opportunities and advocating for more accessible and inclusive mobility programs and Higher Education and we aim to provide the conditions and opportunities for students to actively participate in student life. Secondly, we aim to increase the interaction between exchange students and local communities in order to instigate social engagement and intercultural dialogue to foster global and active citizenship and intercultural awareness. The scope of our activity is student focus. Based on the General Policies, the Erasmus Student Network works towards international student mobility with a higher reach, better quality and easier access. More mobility, better mobility and more accessible mobility are three intertwined concepts that are at the heart of every action of the Erasmus Student Network.