Erasmus
Blog eng, Erasmus

Erasmus Experience: Learning and Traveling for All Generations

Erasmus is not only for young people, but also for the elderly

Erasmus+ is a program that is innovative and inclusive, allowing all age groups to join and improve their skills. As life expectancy increases, so does the need for elderly people to receive additional training and education. One area that is particularly challenging to keep up with is rapid technological progress. In order for the elderly to live harmoniously and navigate in the 21st century, they need new skills. Through the "European Senior Exchange" project, we are focused on strengthening the digital skills of the elderly.

Through this project, we are focused not only on strengthening the health and physical abilities of the elderly, but also on mental health, the development of digital and language skills.

Throughout the 3 years of the project, elderly people participated in English language training that enabled them to communicate more easily and better with consciousness in a common and universal language.

Furthermore, in Kranj and Belgium, we learned how to use tools to make traveling easier.

As the last trip and training for our seniors, we visited Ghent. From Croatia, we had a team of 6 members made up of our dear students, teacher Domagoj and me. The training took place from May 15-19, and the topic was improving digital skills. The tools we adopted during the training were: the use of Google maps, and applications for public transport, such as Belgian Lijn, and their application for tracking train schedules.

In addition to digital skills, the social skills and connections we developed throughout this project were much more important.

We became richer for 40 new acquaintances shared across Europe, which enriched our lives and paved the way for us.

This experience was best described by the participants themselves:

Ankica Budimir: "This Erasmus trip to Ghent, for me, was indescribably beautiful, easy, educational, without any stress, even cheerful considering the team I was in." I met wonderful people and cities, learned to use applications that I have never used before."

Sjajna Zemčić: "I was in my own world and I was afraid of the courage with which I agreed to this Erasmus trip. And then Kranj opened up to me, many people for learning, socializing, walking, joy to show me how life is joy and happiness. And now the magic of Belgium, how to be relaxed and enjoy with good people. Most importantly, we learned (we should learn more) how to use computers and mobile phones to make every day easier and more beautiful in the beautiful areas of Kranj and Ghent. Thanks to the people in Kranj, Gent and the team. Lots and lots of praise means that the soul is touched."

Vesna Nikšić: "It was really a great pleasure for me to participate in this project, to see and learn a lot of things. The impressions from Kranj were wonderful, I think we "matched" well as a team and I was really looking forward to Belgium, which exceeded all expectations. I met so many wonderful and interesting people and I consider that the greatest value of the project. I am glad that I had the opportunity to see Kranj and Ljubljana and all the three cities we visited in Belgium, we walked and absorbed a lot, saw how everyday life works (e.g. public transport in Belgium), learned something about characteristic dishes, and especially Belgian chocolate and beer. The opportunity to listen and speak in English is precious to me and it is a big plus of this project. All the skills we learned at the workshops were both useful and fun. I'm sorry that the project is over, but somehow I believe that as a team we will continue to stay in touch and see each other for a coffee."

Katica Budimir: "This trip meant a lot to me, because when a person learns something, he is immediately richer, more satisfied. In addition to my knowledge of English and digital skills, on this trip I was enriched by pleasant human encounters and beautiful pictures of cities. Simply put, this trip was "soul food" for me. She would be overjoyed if there was a sequel."

Domagoj Biondić: "This is my fourth Erasmus trip under Jelena's baton and, just like the previous three times, it was absolutely fantastic. Visiting the country of the best chocolate and beer in the world is a truly unique experience. Every day was filled with adventures, unreal landscapes, fairy-tale buildings, places and events. In addition to all that, I learned how to use interesting, practical and very useful applications, and as an additional precious bonus I single out cooperation, connection, and socializing with other participants of this education. However, the most valuable gift that I personally received were all those wonderful moments spent with Ankica, Zabjana, Katica, Vesna and Jelena, which additionally taught me kindness, simplicity, patience, and living in the moment, and so generously provided me with the opportunity to practice everything those virtues. You are five in 5"

At the end of this trip with our wonderful participants and partners, we are grateful that we had the opportunity to witness the change we see in people during socializing, education and travel, because every new contact and learning enriches us and makes us better. We also remember with joy the memories that were given to us by the project participants who unfortunately left us: Giancarla, Dragica and Edvard. Thank you for everything.

Special thanks to the project managers: HIHSTAS from Belgium, and partners: CDI Ljubljana, LU Kranj, Agora from Italy

Thank you all and we hope to see you again soon.

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Erasmus
Erasmus, Erasmus blogs, Projects, Uncategorized

Erasmus Experience: Learning and Traveling for All Generations

Erasmus is not only for young people, but also for the elderly

Erasmus+ is a program that is innovative and inclusive, allowing all age groups to join and improve their skills. As life expectancy increases, so does the need for elderly people to receive additional training and education. One area that is particularly challenging to keep up with is rapid technological progress. In order for the elderly to live harmoniously and navigate in the 21st century, they need new skills. Through the "European Senior Exchange" project, we are focused on strengthening the digital skills of the elderly.

Through this project, we are focused not only on strengthening the health and physical abilities of the elderly, but also on mental health, the development of digital and language skills.

Throughout the 3 years of the project, elderly people participated in English language training that enabled them to communicate more easily and better with consciousness in a common and universal language.

Furthermore, in Kranj and Belgium, we learned how to use tools to make traveling easier.

As the last trip and training for our seniors, we visited Ghent. From Croatia, we had a team of 6 members made up of our dear students, teacher Domagoj and me. The training took place from May 15-19, and the topic was improving digital skills. The tools we adopted during the training were: the use of Google maps, and applications for public transport, such as Belgian Lijn, and their application for tracking train schedules.

In addition to digital skills, the social skills and connections we developed throughout this project were much more important.

We became richer for 40 new acquaintances shared across Europe, which enriched our lives and paved the way for us.

This experience was best described by the participants themselves:

Ankica Budimir: "This Erasmus trip to Ghent, for me, was indescribably beautiful, easy, educational, without any stress, even cheerful considering the team I was in." I met wonderful people and cities, learned to use applications that I have never used before."

Sjajna Zemčić: "I was in my own world and I was afraid of the courage with which I agreed to this Erasmus trip. And then Kranj opened up to me, many people for learning, socializing, walking, joy to show me how life is joy and happiness. And now the magic of Belgium, how to be relaxed and enjoy with good people. Most importantly, we learned (we should learn more) how to use computers and mobile phones to make every day easier and more beautiful in the beautiful areas of Kranj and Ghent. Thanks to the people in Kranj, Gent and the team. Lots and lots of praise means that the soul is touched."

Vesna Nikšić: "It was really a great pleasure for me to participate in this project, to see and learn a lot of things. The impressions from Kranj were wonderful, I think we "matched" well as a team and I was really looking forward to Belgium, which exceeded all expectations. I met so many wonderful and interesting people and I consider that the greatest value of the project. I am glad that I had the opportunity to see Kranj and Ljubljana and all the three cities we visited in Belgium, we walked and absorbed a lot, saw how everyday life works (e.g. public transport in Belgium), learned something about characteristic dishes, and especially Belgian chocolate and beer. The opportunity to listen and speak in English is precious to me and it is a big plus of this project. All the skills we learned at the workshops were both useful and fun. I'm sorry that the project is over, but somehow I believe that as a team we will continue to stay in touch and see each other for a coffee."

Katica Budimir: "This trip meant a lot to me, because when a person learns something, he is immediately richer, more satisfied. In addition to my knowledge of English and digital skills, on this trip I was enriched by pleasant human encounters and beautiful pictures of cities. Simply put, this trip was "soul food" for me. She would be overjoyed if there was a sequel."

Domagoj Biondić: "This is my fourth Erasmus trip under Jelena's baton and, just like the previous three times, it was absolutely fantastic. Visiting the country of the best chocolate and beer in the world is a truly unique experience. Every day was filled with adventures, unreal landscapes, fairy-tale buildings, places and events. In addition to all that, I learned how to use interesting, practical and very useful applications, and as an additional precious bonus I single out cooperation, connection, and socializing with other participants of this education. However, the most valuable gift that I personally received were all those wonderful moments spent with Ankica, Zabjana, Katica, Vesna and Jelena, which additionally taught me kindness, simplicity, patience, and living in the moment, and so generously provided me with the opportunity to practice everything those virtues. You are five in 5"

At the end of this trip with our wonderful participants and partners, we are grateful that we had the opportunity to witness the change we see in people during socializing, education and travel, because every new contact and learning enriches us and makes us better. We also remember with joy the memories that were given to us by the project participants who unfortunately left us: Giancarla, Dragica and Edvard. Thank you for everything.

Special thanks to the project managers: HIHSTAS from Belgium, and partners: CDI Ljubljana, LU Kranj, Agora from Italy

Thank you all and we hope to see you again soon.

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Split with Erasmus+
Erasmus, Erasmus blogs, Uncategorized

Top 10 reasons to go to Split with Erasmus+

1. Explore Diocletian’s Palace - an ancient Roman palace located in Split. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see and offers visitors the opportunity to explore its many chambers, courtyards, and subterranean chambers. 

2. Taste the Local Cuisine - Split offers a unique mix of regional Croatian and Mediterranean cuisine. Try some of the local specialties such as Dalmatian pašticada, pršut and cheese, as well as fresh seafood.

3. Enjoy the Beaches - the crystal clear Adriatic Sea and its numerous beaches make Split a great destination for lovers of the sun and sea. Relax on the sandy beach at Bačvice or go for a swim at pebble beach, Kašjuni. 

4. Go Island Hopping - Split is a great base for exploring nearby islands. Take a day trip to the picturesque islands of Brač and Hvar, or take a ferry to stunning Korčula. 

Learn to Speak English Confidently with Native Speakers in Beautiful Croatia! 

English Course for Absolute Beginners With the Callan Method

🎯Break free from the fear of speaking English 

✅ Native speakers

💡 Full immersion course

📍 Dynamic and interactive classes

⛵Learn and enjoy the beauty of Croatia coast

5. Visit Marjan Forest Park - a large, wooded hill on the west side of Split. Take some time to explore the many trails, scenic views, and churches in this beautiful park. 

6. Try the Local Wine - Croatia is known for its delicious wines, and Split offers some of the best. Visit a local winery to sample the local wines and find your new favourite. 

7. Appreciate the Architecture - Split’s architecture is a mix of old and new. Take a stroll through the old town and appreciate its Baroque and Gothic buildings, and modern structures. 

8. Discover the History - Split has a rich history, from ancient Roman times to the present day. Take a tour of the historic sites and learn about Split’s past. 

9. Participate in Festivals - Split is full of festivals throughout the year. Join in the fun and take part in the celebrations of art, music, food, and culture. 

10. Experience the Nightlife - Split offers a vibrant nightlife scene with a mix of bars, clubs, and pubs. Spend a night out on the town!

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Erasmus blogs, Projects

Intergenerational learning and study trip to Kranj

In partnership with the European Senior Exchange project, we took part in a study visit to Kranj with our students from the 24th to the 28th of October.

The meeting was planned for socializing and learning, as well as the exchange of experiences of senior citizens who had the opportunity to participate in several activities.

The meeting was attended by over 30 elderly people from partner organizations of the Initiative, AGORA' - Laboratorio Terza EtàProtagonistaonlus, CDU Ljubljana and Human University Kranj, as well as the managers of the HIHTAST project.

When we arrived on Monday, we presented our organization and programs to our partners, and after the lunch break, socializing continued outdoors through a guided tour given by one of the participants of the People's University of Kranj. As a small town, Kranj offers a lot to its residents, and it is known as the most respected high school in all of Slovenia. Furthermore, there are gourmet delicacies, especially for meat lovers – most notably Carniola sausage and beer. One of Slovenia's most famous poets comes from Kranj, after whom the main square in Ljubljana is named; France Prešeren. The cultural and economic wealth of Kranj comes from the past when Kranj was one of the main industrial cities in Yugoslavia. The city centre is located in the old part, which still has ramparts and underground tunnels.

After a good hike and a very interesting review of history, we sat down to hot tea and rested before going to bed.

Human University of Kranj under the slogan "Learning for a better life" emphasizes intergenerational learning, encouraging cooperation and transferring knowledge and experience from older generations to younger ones, and vice versa. For the purpose of these activities, they also opened LUK - an intergenerational centre where all generations are welcome. The purpose of LUK is to bridge the lack of time and space for intergenerational learning, which used to happen spontaneously, but is today hindered by the modern way of life. On Thursday, we had the opportunity to see what LUK looks like and what activities can take place there. Among other things, there is a large kitchen intended for the transfer of culinary skills from generation to generation.


In order to enjoy a real Slovenian dinner, we all first put on our aprons and got our assignments. The preparation of food started with the collective cleaning of mud, while others started kneading the bread cake. The final result was a traditional soup with pumpkin and Carnivoran bread.

Throughout the dinner, socializing and singing, we were presented with traditional customs, costumes and songs from Kranj, and a special part of the evening was marked by an emotional speech by a participant from Belgium who emphasized the importance of European values, peace, and cooperation, especially in these areas.

On the last day, we finished with the evaluation and the final joint discussion of all participants.

A special thank you to Sjajna and Vesna, who were with us as the representatives of our students on this wonderful trip, and to teacher Domagoj, who always brightens up every gathering and trip with his energy!

See you again soon!

Jelena Posavec Smilović

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Erasmus, Erasmus blogs

5 giorni a Firenze – Erasmus plus project

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, the centre of Tuscany, a sea of pasta and tomato sauce, tripe and divine wine... All of this now reminds us of our training in Florence.

As part of the Creativity for Innovation project, our party of 5 set off from Zagreb in a mini-van.

The carpooling option is supported by the Erasmus+ projects as a more ecologically-friendly way of travel, so we started on our journey, happy and 'green', early in the morning.

Five employees from Initiative attended the course in Florence, and we were met by two more participants from the Storytelling Centre in Amsterdam, as well as our colleagues from Florence who prepared the course for us.

We arrived in Florence late Sunday night, so after dinner we practically collapsed in bed. In the morning, we headed off for the Europass Teacher Academy training centre, which is located in a historical building in the centre of Florence. We were placed in a classroom with a fresco ceiling, but we soon realised that all buildings in the centre of the city had fresco ceilings, and history was living alongside us in this city.

The program started with an introductory topic for all of our English teachers. Called CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), it is used for all types of lessons in which something is taught in a foreign language. CLIL is an approach in which a foreign language is used as a tool in learning a non-lingual subject in which both the language and subject have a common role. This way, by learning about history, art, culture and food, you can simultaneously learn the language as well.

A successful CLIL lesson should include 4 elements:

CONTENT – advancement in knowledge, skills and comprehension about certain elements of the curriculum

COMMUNICATION – using the language while learning about using the language

COGNITION – developing thinking skills which combine forming ideas (abstract and concrete), comprehension and language

CULTURE – exposure to alternative perspectives and common understandings which deepen our awareness of others and ourselves.

For the lesson to be successful, every teacher must carefully explore the subject they wish to prepare for a CLIL lesson, and expect to have to learn more about the new topics themselves.

They also have to structure the lesson carefully, and know the knowledge level of each participant well so the content can be adapted accordingly. At the end, it is necessary to determine a good way of evaluating the learnt knowledge.

The second topic of our meeting, and also the main one, was creative writing. Creative writing can have pretentious connotations, but with us it luckily awoke our emotions and creativity, which was the reason we came to Florence in the first place. The first day of creative writing was about language, while later we explored writing about the city and art.

Exploring language as a topic for writing, we researched various texts which were inspired by language. Some of them played around with language as a form, some used dialects, others slang. In all these stories, the language influenced someone's character, childhood, or had a significant influence on their life. As an exercise, we dove into some creative writing and memories which tie us to language learning, and the results were that everyone's pieces of writing connected us and made us come together more after sharing personal stories.

This type of exercise can be easily used in activities in which a teacher wants to encourage students to write creatively and freely, while memories emphasise how language has an effect on our emotions.

These exercises are a useful example of how to intertwine writing exercises with the Callan Method, and to stimulate students to think about ideas, their surroundings, and how to encourage them to use place descriptions, experiences, feelings and their senses in writing.

Through cultural activities, we had the opportunity to enjoy fabulous food, strolls through the centre of Florence, botanical garden, museums and sculptures.

Thank you to all our partners for this wonderful experience.

✔This program is co-financed by the Erasmus + program.

Erasmus + enriches lives, broadens horizons 🇪🇺

@Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes





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Projects

Croatian Language Courses for refugees from Ukraine

As the name of our organization says - we have taken the Initiative!

In order not to remain a passive observer and considering language integration as one of the key steps towards social integration, we launched Croatian language courses for refugees.

The initiative came in response to inquiries about the course of Croatian refugees from many refugees from Ukraine, but also from other NGOs working with refugees. Although the course is currently attended only by refugees from Ukraine, it is open to all third-country nationals who can to register at: dzenana@inicijativa.biz.

We are proud that our volunteers have been working with two groups of refugees for the second week in a row, who found themselves in an unenviable situation in Croatia. With our mission of including vulnerable groups in non-formal education, we are happy to have the opportunity to help with this kind of support in integration.

Croatian as a second language courses are held twice a week, and classes are currently taught by four volunteers, but we are happy that applications for volunteering are still arriving. This is showing us that there is empathy everywhere we look, i.e. that citizens are willing to volunteer and set aside time for those who are in dire need of help at this time. Our teacher volunteers are trained in the Callan method.

They are native Croatian speakers using only their native language in teaching. This method, along with the Croatian  curriculum, facilitates teaching of groups in which participants do not speak the same common language, which makes learning the target language (in this case Croatian) faster and more efficient. Since we wanted to provide this opportunity to refugees from all areas of the Republic of Croatia, we organized our classes in an online format.

For several years now, the initiative has been actively involved in the integration of refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and now Ukraine. We hope that in the future we will continue our work in the direction of successful social integration of all those who, regardless of which country they come from, find their way in our local community.

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Erasmus blogs, Projects

Leadership and Management in Schools – Valencia Experience

The Teacher Academy training course 'Leadership and Management in Schools' held in Valencia in October 2022 was intended for members of educational establishments who wish to further their management skills and serve as leaders to their schools to the best of their ability.

The training participants were school principals and vice-principals, head teachers, and administrative staff from different European countries who have multiple years of experience behind them. Their passion and pride in being part of educational establishments that help elevate personal and social life was prominent in everyone.

There was a sense of togetherness bound by the love of our job, but also a sincere curiosity for others' experiences and feedback, as everyone there had surprisingly different school organisation, approaches, and roles inside the school system.

This diversity made the program more enjoyable, as it proved the point that there is no one (perfect) way of managing a school. Flexibility, adaptability, creativity, and compassion for the needs of others are all crucial skills for a good manager. It isn't always just about logic and chasing goals.

We were also lucky enough to have a representative of the praised Finnish school system among us, whose take on student integration and the challenges coming from the current political events were highly educational and thought-provoking.

Setting goals and overcoming differences 

The program touched upon the methodologies of setting goals and their completion. A well throughout, measurable, and relevant goal is half the success. We were given tools, e.g. Trello, that are a practical representation of the lessons learned.

The majority of the material was focused on working with people, understanding the differences in personality, character, and the general sense of work dynamics and culture. We discussed possible managing styles and their perceived outcomes. Every new topic fell back on introspection and defining our identity as a leader now and the ideal we strive for.

Taking the time to get to know your team properly and being aware of their weaknesses and strengths, establishing quality, open communication lines helps tremendously in proficient work assignment and execution. To achieve that, we discussed possible meeting tactics, negotiation, and conflict resolution principles. One interesting and fun activity was taking the 16 personality test, which led to some surprising results.

The week-long training on leadership and management in schools gave us a lot to think about and further explore in the future. The culturally rich, welcoming, and architecturally breathtaking city of Valencia made the whole experience that more enjoyable.

Mobility of course participant is enabled within the project "Step up", code number: 2021-1-HR01-KA122-ADU-000018329. 

The project is funded by the European Union. 

Erasmus +: Enriching lives, opening minds.

Monija Škriljevečki

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Online reviews
Erasmus, Uncategorized

Why Online Reviews Are Crucial For Your Language School Now More Than Ever

Have you ever wondered why students choose one language school over another?

In the past, pre-Covid, the deciding factors for choosing a language school were a combination of the price of the course and the school’s location. 

In the last 12 months, with schools moving online, the main deciding factor for choosing a language school now is online reviews. If you don’t have that many reviews, then you need to start collecting them now. 

Let’s go over why online reviews are crucial for your school now more than ever.

The Facts

 

Did you know that up to 90% of your students will check your reviews before they ever interact with your school? The latest studies have shown that people value reviews so much that they account for 67% of their buying decision!! So you see, getting reviews for your school is extremely important and will only increase in the future.

So here are the main benefits of having great reviews:

  • They improve your SEO (search engine optimisation). This means the more good reviews you have, the easier it will be to be found online. Google wants to connect customers with businesses that have great reviews. 
  • They establish trust. This is the point of reviews. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do a personal friend. The higher your review score, the more trust you will generate. 
  • They generate more business: Great reviews = more stars = more clicks to your website = more business.
  • Reviews are a great source of feedback, good and bad. Use the positive feedback as inspiration for describing your business. Student feedback can be used in your promotions very effectively. These opinions can help you to describe your courses better, etc. The bad feedback is valid and needs to be addressed. We live in an online world where we need to be completely transparent.

I know when I want to go to a new restaurant or stay at a hotel, join a new gym or go to a new hairdresser, I always read the reviews. They are usually what tips me over to actually choosing any particular one.

How do I get them?

It's simple! Just ask your customers to write a short online review about your school and let them know how important it is to your business.

What to keep in mind:

  • Have believable customer testimonials. They have to be believable, sound authentic and be from real customers. 
  • Ask often, don't just ask once and leave it at that! This needs to become a common practice, every couple of weeks. Motivate your teachers to help.
  • Give your students at least 2 different platforms to leave reviews. Google and Facebook are enough.
  • Respond to your reviews, good and bad. Google want to see that you react to your feedback. Never ignore any review. If they are positive then say 'thank you' and tell them you appreciate the feedback. The same goes for negative reviews: respond, be courteous and polite, acknowledge the complaint and respond in a mature manner. Never get into an argument, however tempting or provoking it may be.
  • Timing is crucial! Let your customer get value from your school first before you ask; this will increase your reviews dramatically. Likewise, don't wait too long either! If they forget the value they received, then they most likely won't leave a review.
  • If, by any chance, you have had a local celebrity coming to your school, be sure to use their photo and review as an endorsement. Put it up on your website.

Try to put yourself in your students' shoes. Reviews from your present and past students provide proof for them to see. One particular review might be all it takes to push someone from just thinking about using your school to actually becoming a paying student.

What to do next

Send an email to your students asking them to leave an online review on your Facebook page or on Google. It takes them just a few minutes and, if they really do like your company, they'll have no problem sharing their experience with others. 

You could do this in the following way:

Send out a survey to your customers, asking them to rate different aspects of your service. You can use this information to improve or tweak things to make your students happier. 

At the end of the survey, you could say, "If you are happy with our service, leave us a review on Facebook!", with a link for them to click. It's easy for them to do, and because they've just been thinking about your business while answering those questions, they're more likely to leave a review right there and then.


The purpose of these quotes is to drive people to your business. Pick and choose the best ones you get and put them on your website as promotion material for everyone to see.

If you need help with your school's marketing, check out our Digital Marketing course for Schools and Educational Organisations here

Do You Want MORE Full Classes in 2021/2022? 


Learn A Simple Yet Powerful Marketing Framework That

Will Get Your School Up to  50% More Bookings

marketing for schools

The next workshop starts on the 13th of September at 2pm CET

Check out our English Language courses for teachers and other Erasmus+ courses

Contact us!

Ask us whatever you are interested in.

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