Between the 6th and 9th of April, the Algarve hosted the biggest gathering of international students in Portugal: the Erasmus National Meeting, an event organized annually by the young volunteers of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Portugal, which is already on its 13th edition.
During four days, more than a thousand young people from all over the world who are studying or training in Portugal, gathered in Praia da Oura to enjoy the sun, the beach and participate in various recreational, civic and social activities.
Hosted in three MGM Muthu hotels - Forte da Oura, Oura Praia Hotel and Clube Praia da Oura - these young people were welcomed with open arms by all the partners of the event. The City Hall of Albufeira was even present at the official opening of the event, welcoming the participants with a speech by the president of the Municipality, Carlos Silva e Sousa:
"Albufeira is a young, welcoming city that likes to well-receive and therefore we associate ourselves with this event aimed at youth."
The event's program included not only recreational activities, such as parties at Kiss Club and Club Heaven, dance classes, sports tournaments on the beach and Slide and Splash Water Park, but also civic and social actions, especially the beach cleaning initiative and the activities developed with “A Gaivota” - Santa Casa da Misericórdia. This moment took place on the second day of the event, Friday, and the international students were able to interact with institutionalized youth to explore issues such as equal rights, prejudice and discrimination. Due to the celebrations of the 30 years of the Erasmus+ program, these young people were also able to find out more about entrepreneurship in a workshop organized by ESN Portugal volunteers as part of their project "Erasmus+: YES - Youth Employability and Skills” funded by the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA).
"It is of our best interest for international students to enjoy themselves while they are in Portugal, but we are also committed to give them the opportunity to cooperate on the local development and contribute to building a society endowed with values such as respect, solidarity and tolerance", says Alexandra Bigotte de Almeida, Communication Manager of ESN Portugal and one of the organizers of the event.
Other civic and social projects were also implemented throughout the event, such as awareness-raising actions for the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages - through the implementation of the Responsible Party project - and the promotion of equality in access to education and opportunities with the implementation of the Mov'in Europe and ExchangeAbility projects.
At the end of the event, the organization donated food to the association CASA (Centro de Apoio ao Sem Abrigo) of Albufeira.
This 13th edition of the Erasmus National Meeting broke the record of participants with a total of 1010 young people of different nationalities and according to the organization, "after meetings with the hotel units, partners and the National Republican Guard of Albufeira, we can be proud that everything has gone smoothly and that the efforts made by our team before and during the event were successful. This is the proof that our volunteers are committed to an equal or greater degree of professionalism than a company".
This event was supported by the City Hall of Albufeira, the National Republican Guard of Albufeira, Club Borda D'Água Praia da Oura, Eurosender and ESAA.