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On 10 September 2020, National Erasmus+ Office (NEO) in Uzbekistan together with the EU Delegation in Uzbekistan organised a Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) Meeting for the fourteen newly selected Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMD) scholarship winners. Amid the covid-19 pandemic, this farewell meeting was held on the Zoom platform and main presentations were streamed and posted on NEO`s YouTube channel (t.ly/4teT).

In a traditional ceremonial part, Mr Jussi Narvi, Chargé d'affaires in EU Delegation to Uzbekistan and Ms Aziza Abdurakhmanova, Coordinator of National Erasmus+ Office in Uzbekistan, 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. 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, as well as with the NEO, was highlighted in her speech. Also, the head of NEO 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.
Following the ceremonial part of the meeting, Mr Kudratkhon Bakhadirov, a NEO expert introduced with and elaborated on the Erasmus+ opportunities for students. Additionally, he shed light on networking platforms available to students, including Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association and Erasmus Student Network, and explained their use for the students in their future endeavours.

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.   

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.