Erasmus as an experience is often associated with, of course, studying, getting to know new people, creating new relationships and social networks, traveling and perhaps also a little bit partying. In addition to all of this awesomeness, there are many more important aspects to Erasmus, which sometimes may get a little bit forgotten alongside all fun, new and exciting things studying as an Erasmus student can offer.
ESN Jyväskylä is proudly part of a bigger, international ESN project called SocialErasmus. The aim of SocialErasmus is to encourage young citizens during their mobility to go and take social action by, for example, volunteering or participating in projects that have a positive impact on the local community. SocialErasmus doesn’t only benefit the community and help create long lasting social change, but also gives every student an opportunity to enrich their Erasmus experience and integrate their selves into the local community on a deeper level.
Petra, an active member of ESN Jyväskylä, and Rimi, an exchange student from Slovenia studying at the Faculty of Sport and Health sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, getting ready to donate blood at SPR Jyväskylä.
This semester we celebrated SocialErasmus Week (3.- 9. April 2017) by getting together a group of exchange students and locals to go donate blood at the local SPR blood donating center. The need for blood for patients and many medical procedures is constant. Therefore, the need for donations is constant as well. It doesn’t matter what kind of reason one has for donating blood because every contribution helps to keep blood supplies of hospitals reliable and safe. After coming up with the idea of donating blood for SocialErasmus this semester, it didn’t take too long until the date for donating was set and the event for the exchange students created.
The whole ESN Jyväskylä team was positively surprised to see many students (more than expected!) on spot, ready to volunteer. No matter if an experienced blood donor or a nervous first timer, donating blood in Jyväskylä seemed to be a new and fun experience for all participants. Of course, we couldn’t avoid some disappointments either; some participants had iron levels too low or their vein couldn’t be found right at the beginning of the process of donating. However, this is completely normal, especially for new donors, and we hope to have at least encouraged and inspired the ones, who came but couldn’t donate, to go and try donating blood some other time in the future!
Fairly said, helping others definitely means helping ourselves, too! The participants of this semester’s ESN Jyväskylä SocialErasmus project left the SPR blood donating center with a smile on their faces, knowing they had just helped to save someone’s life. ESN Jyväskylä can’t wait to make donating blood a once-a-semester tradition and create some new, exciting SocialErasmus projects in addition to it!
To know more about SocialErasmus, please check out their international webpage https://socialerasmus.esn.org/ and Facebook page under SocialErasmus.