April 27, 2020, by abrierley

Global Entrepreneurs UK in Turkey

by Natasha O’Connor 2nd year Geography

February 2020 I left Nottingham and flew out to the capital city of Turkey to attend a week long digital training programme. The best part: it was completely free. My week was fully funded by the European Union under the Erasmus+ scheme; an EU programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Erasmus+ gives UK organisations the ability to collaborate with international partners and provides opportunities to study, volunteer, teach, train or work abroad with £1 billion reserved for UK led projects. Unfortunately, for a programme with such a large budget and range of opportunities, it is severely underappreciated and unknown by many in the UK. Until I met Natasha, I was also in the dark about the scope of Erasmus+.

First term of 2nd year I decided to apply for a term-time placement supported through the Faculty of Social Sciences (a decision I would recommend to anyone). As a result, I spent 10 weeks at Global Entrepreneurs UK, an organisation working on a variety of community projects in Nottingham and major collaborative EU contracts abroad. The founder, Natasha Johnson-Richards, has worked extremely hard, expanding to include offices in Brixton, Nottingham, Dublin and Kingston Jamaica. It’s through Natasha I had the opportunity to partake in the Erasmus+ programme. Mid-January Natasha asked if I would be interested in taking part in a fully funded digital training course in Ankara, without much more information I booked my flights and 3 weeks later arrived in Turkey.

The programme consisted of 7 national teams of 4 people, including UK, Italy, Spain, Romania, Latvia, Turkey and Estonia, although there were several more nationalities within the teams. Which resulted in a complete range of age, nationality and experience. Throughout the week we had a series of lectures and workshops on different digital tools and techniques with 2 afternoons off to explore the city and its culture (this involved visiting the memorial tomb Anitkabir and a Turkish bath). The evenings comprised of cultural nights whereby each team brought food, or more commonly drink, to represent their culture. These cultural nights were good fun and a wonderful ice breaker to help integrate the different nationalities.

Although there was a range of experience amongst the participants, every team included at least one or two community leaders which were knowledgeable in their regions. During the inter-team sessions, it was very insightful to talk to the different participants helping us to understand the prominent issues they faced on a local and national scale from a native perspective.

The whole week was rather an intense experience for me, I was in a foreign country, attending workshops all day surrounded by strangers all while trying to stay on top of university work at the same time. But it was one of the most fun, rewarding and exhausting experiences I have ever had, to which I have come out with a new appreciation for the Erasmus+ programme and a collection of friends across Europe.

Without a doubt I would recommend applying to the faculty of social sciences placement scheme as it has the potential to offer so much more than simply one day a week. Although I was able to attend this course through a partnering organisation, I would highly recommend checking out the Erasmus+ website or the Facebook page ‘As a participant’ which posts opportunities where you can apply to Erasmus+ programmes and projects such as this. Alternatively, Youth Opportunities posts applications for anything from scholarships to workshops or exchange programmes.

Global Entrepreneurs UK Facebook address for more info – https://www.facebook.com/eurodeskUK/

FURTHER INFORMATION on Global Entrepreneurs Depending on the  situation with COVID -19, if travel restrictions are lifted in 2021 and it is safe to  do so, Global Entrepreneurs intends to run volunteering opportunities for students for a 4 months duration in France, Calais.

Posted in Global Placement Grant