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Mental health is important for students pursuing mobility and seeking quality education abroad. However, going to a new country brings forth many challenges beyond the everyday hurdles. From cultural shock to navigating housing arrangements, making new friends, managing dietary changes and more, students often find it challenging to maintain their well-being through these new experiences.

To address these concerns, as many students may struggle to articulate their problems, especially when far from their comfort zones, ESN Türkiye, together with their educational partner TPÖÇG (Turkish Psychology Students Working Group), launched an initiative to understand and support the psychological needs of students involved in mobility programmes, such as Erasmus+.

Gökay Bağrıyanık and Hakan İlikçi, President and Education Officer of ESN Türkiye, presenting their initiative

Led by the Education Team under the National Strategy Committee (NSC) and coordinated by İremnaz Turan, the External Relations Coordinator from TPÖÇG, a comprehensive survey consisting of approximately 30 questions was created. The survey, developed by Hazal Pınar, the NSC's Survey Team Chair, gathered 158 responses in just two weeks through Google Forms.

The findings were meticulously analysed by psychologist Serdar Doruk Avunduk, leading to the creation of a booklet by Gül Pınar Nişantaş, PR Responsible of NSC. This resource, later distributed among all ESN Türkiye sections and pertinent groups, offers accessible and understandable information to students, addressing common challenges abroad. The project's success was further highlighted when it was featured as a standout presentation and ultimately chosen as one of the best projects at the Education Community Meeting in Ghent.

The goal of this booklet is not only to provide practical support and guidance to the Erasmus students during their mobility journeys but also to raise awareness about the importance of seeking professional help during challenging times abroad. Hakan İlikçi, the Education Officer of ESN Türkiye and the project’s planner and facilitator finds it particularly heartening that none of the respondents sought professional help during their time abroad, underscoring an essential aspect for future focus.

The impact of this initiative goes beyond simply addressing the challenges faced by students on mobility programmes, it also showcases the power of collaboration among student-led NGOs in achieving significant results. By pooling resources and enthusiasm, ESN Türkiye and TPÖÇG have demonstrated how such organisations can effectively address pressing issues and contribute to their peers' lives. Furthermore, collaborative projects between partners not only highlight the quality of the outcomes but also serve to strengthen the ties between organisations and the dedicated volunteers supporting them.

Looking forward, plans are underway to conduct a second edition of the survey with an expanded scope aimed at reaching a broader international audience. Keep an eye out for updates as the efforts to support the mental well-being of students during their mobility experiences continue.