On 9 July 2021, National Erasmus+ Office (NEO) in Uzbekistan together with the EU Delegation in Uzbekistan organised a Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) Meeting for the sixteen newly selected Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMD) scholarship winners. Amid the covid-19 pandemic, this farewell meeting was held on the Zoom platform.
In a traditional ceremonial part, EU Ambassador to Uzbekistan Charlotte Adriaen warmly welcomed and congratulated the EMJMD grant holders on being selected to one of the most prestigious scholarships to pursue a master`s degree in various European universities.
During the opening speech the EU Ambassador to Uzbekistan, H.E. Ms Charlotte Adriaen pointed out: “For the last five years in total 72 young people from Uzbekistan were awarded Erasmus Mundus Scholarships. Studying abroad is becoming the key to success in your global economy. Uzbekistan and EU count on young, bright, well-educated and dedicated people like you to travel, explore the world and foster our cooperation”.
Also, the Coordinator of National Erasmus+ Office in Uzbekistan (NEO) Aziza Abdurakhmanova expressed hope that knowledge and practical skills that EMJMD students are going to learn studying in different European universities will be instrumental to the full-fledged reforms taking place in Uzbekistan. The main purpose of the meeting - to build a bridge and so to foster networking and experience exchange between current students and alumni of EMJMD in cooperation with the NEO, was highlighted in her speech.
Networking platforms available for students, including Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) and Erasmus Student Network (ESN) was presented by Mr Kudratkhon Bakhadirov, a NEO expert, as well as EM alumni.
Most importantly, the newly selected scholarship holders had an invaluable opportunity to hear tips and life hacks on life and education in Europe from an alumni and current EMJMD students. Stemming from their own experience, the latter shared their opinions on how to alleviate academic and organisational hurdles and to capitalise on opportunities that the programme is to provide for their personal benefit. The Q&A session was a finishing touch of the meeting, where students` questions regarding their personal issues of concern were addressed.
Furthermore, there was very useful training session by Nora Gavalyan (Programme Manager at TEAM University) on “Intercultural Communication and Learning” in order to check the students’ comfort level in every situation when they start their life in EU and she gave some tips on adaptation with different cultures.
Thus, the PDO meeting laid a solid foundation for future cooperation and networking among EMJMD students and alumni, and it was especially beneficial for the newly selected students.