Topic outline

  • Aims of pre-departure preparation

    There is nothing more beautiful than the instant before the trip, the moment when the horizon of tomorrow comes to visit us and tells us about his promises. (Milan Kundera).

    An international mobility project is a great opportunity but also a challenge. Participants will face a new culture, a new life pace, new habits and traditions, values and beliefs, stereotypes and prejudices towards the “other”. They often have to face a new language, they have no experience of the educational system or of the labour market in the hosting country. In some cases, it is the first time they go abroad and/or the first time they get into the labour world or they live outside of family and are autonomous.

    So, it is fundamental that all participants are prepared before departure to better undertake the mobility experience.

     Preparation is intended as act of

    • conduct: which involves an authority leading the student in a certain direction (education)
    • guidance: which is not advising one or another direction, but ensuring that students take their OWN path (counselling)
    • escort: which refers to the concern of protecting, defending against danger (assistance to someone vulnerable)

    The Preparation Phase is a time for re-identifying mobility issues while offering logistical and intercultural preparation. This involves highlighting the practical aspects, in association with the hosting institution, to enable participants to be actively involved and to work jointly on defining the specific objectives that tie together the mobility issues.

    Preparation is a fundamental element of the mobility and its success whose content varies depending on the nature and context of each mobility, but in all projects its main aims are:

    • to provide information;
    • to make participants actors in the project;
    • to provide a space and time for reflection about the issues involved in the mobility project;
    • to contribute to solving possible last-minute doubts and other operational issues related to participants’ documentation, travel arrangements and schedules.

    Without preparation, chance of errors and disengagement rise, reducing the real utility of this training experience.

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  • Basic content of preparation

    Participants should receive:

    • Information on mobility and the conditions in which it can be taken up:
        • funding programme of the mobility;
        • detailed information about the project and the context of the activities they will be involved in;
        • partners involved in the project and reference people;
        • roles of sending and hosting organisations;
        • rules and responsibilities by all sides;
        • financial aspects;
        • insurance.
    • Logistical support: information and assistance concerning:
        • travel arrangements,
        • accommodation,
        • insurance,
        • the portability of government grants and loans,
        • residence or work permits,
        • social security, and
        • any other practical aspects.
    • Learning/work plan:
        • project steps (preparation, socio-cultural activities);
        • objectives and expected outcomes, and
        • the means of achieving them;
        • types of possible activities and their terms (ex. dress code);
        • tutorship/mentorship system to advise and help participants throughout their stay;
        • evaluation activities: activities and documents to be produced during and at the end of the project (questionnaires, final reports, certificates).
    • Cultural aspects of the hosting country, life and work styles: this helps the participant in overcoming more easily critical moments in adaptation and in understanding, respecting and interacting with the hosting country’s culture.
    • Stereotypes and prejudices

    Preparation sessions can have variable duration, but it is recommended they last minimum a day. Methodologies to be used include: formal lesson, simulations and role games, group work and individual activities. Information can be delivered also through video, testimonies, brochures, web links.

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  • A personal and professional experience

    Mobility must fit in the personal learning pathways, skills and motivation of participants, and should develop or supplement them.

    For Second Chance Education students, which could have not specific professional experiences and who have not earned relevant qualification yet, it is advisable that the school provides a description of the knowledge, competences or training experience acquired by their students during the education or training path and/or during internships (ex. language skills, digital skills, specific skills related to the education field) to better explain the learning outcomes and the qualification participants will earn when completing their education.

    Similarly, teachers and trainers should support students in writing the Europass CV, a cover letter and the application form.

     These documents will be useful for the hosting organisations to understand the profile of the participants and to better adapt the training activities abroad.

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