The city of Ghent has emerged triumphant as the Erasmus Destination of the Year 2023, which was celebrated during a one-day conference that brought together educators, students, and stakeholders from around Belgium and further. Organised by ESN Gent, ESN Belgium, and ESN International and hosted by the University of Ghent, the event showcased Ghent's commitment to inclusive and exceptional support for international student mobility.
The Erasmus Destination of the Year initiative spotlights cities that excel in local practices supporting student mobility. Ghent's success is attributed to the collaborative efforts of a student organisation (ESN Gent), Higher Education Institutions, and the city itself. The conference aimed to explore and celebrate these joint initiatives that make Ghent the best mobility destination of 2023 and to confirm its title as the European Youth Capital of 2024.
Already 35 years ago, it was clear that peer support would be key for the further support of the Erasmus programme. As a result, the Erasmus Student Network was initiated with support from the European Commission and local universities like Ghent University. Ghent was home to one of the first ESN chapters, and ESN Gent very soon became a solid support factor for the international students here in Ghent. - Rector of the University of Ghent, Rik Van de Walle
The conference featured a couple of presentations, a panel discussion, and a video made by the volunteers of ESN Gent, providing a platform for attendees to delve into various aspects of international student mobility.
During the event, Ghent was recognised for its outstanding initiatives in creating an environment that embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity. Success stories were shared, illustrating how Ghent has become a model city for supporting and enhancing the experiences of international students.
The conference was enriched by our colleagues from Eurail, with whom we joined forces to support sustainable travel during mobility and gave out 5 Interrail Passes to international students in Ghent attending the event.
Recognising the global nature of education, the conference was live-streamed to allow virtual participation for those unable to attend in person. This ensured that the celebration of Ghent's achievements reached a bigger audience, further emphasising the city's impact on the international student community. The recording of the live stream is available on this link.
As we reflect on the accomplishments of Ghent as the Erasmus Destination of the Year 2023, we are filled with inspiration and determination to continue fostering collaboration towards creating more and better mobility for everyone.
Keep a close eye on ESN's channels to find out the next Erasmus Destination of the Year, which will be announced at the Erasmus Generation Meeting Seville 2023.