Applying for Erasmus+ project: Successful motivation
Early in the morning (or if you’re not a morning person like me – in the early afternoon). You’re drinking coffee and surfing the Net as you’re getting a notification for an attractive Erasmus+ project. You want to get it on the ground floor but how to apply properly so to be chosen among the others?
You should keep in mind that a lot of people are searching and waiting for opportunities like that and applying immediately so firstly, you have to be quick and decisive – the sooner you start the better. On the other hand, you don’t have to rush the things – it’s okay to invest even few hours if you need to, to prepare the needed stuff. Some applications require only a free text e-mail – just to explain briefly your desire to take part in; for others you’ll need to attach a CV with a photo; or to fill in long application forms and even to write a motivation letter.
We’re talking today about the last mentioned. Even if you don’t have to create a whole letter of motivation the last questions of the application forms include the main things you should concern. Don’t underestimate them, prepare the answers carefully and make them expanded, don’t be laconic.
These questions may include:
Do you have any previous experience in this field; why are you interested in this topic, is it connected with your future plan; what do you think you’ll gain from this project, what competences you want to improve; how can others benefit from your participation; how can you personally contribute during and disseminate after the project; what will be your follow-up activities, etc.?
1) What to include?
You can start with your name, age, country of origin and continue with your education, job or membership in some NGO-s. Tell the organisators about your background – either something connected with the topics/activities included in the project or some personal and unique facts about you, your personality or previous experience.
TOPIC first <3
Continue with the background and try to connect it with the main project’s topic – why are you interested exactly in this field? It is maybe connected to your future plans or you want to collect some concepts for realization of future ideas? Definitely explain if you have previous experience but don’t worry if you do not have any. Just say “Okay, I’m new in this field but I’m highly interested in it so I wanna gain knowledge, which of course will reflect on my activeness and full participation!” (You may think I’m joking but I’ve seen kinda threatening announcements in info-packs saying that if you don’t take part in all of the sessions, you won’t get your reimbursement).
Don’t hesitate to get out of the project’s frame and talk a little bit in general. Say that you want to gain new knowledge and competences. Or to develop your soft skills, which is actually the point of these exchanges ’cause we all know nowadays hard skills are not enough.
You want to learn about new cultures and intercultural differences; you want to expand your international contacts for future global co operations; to start to feel more confident while speaking English or even to overcome your shame and step out of your comfort zone? These are all good reasons to want to get involved in such an experience.
Contribution and dissemination
Every organization invests a lot of meaning, ambition and energy while creating an Erasmus+ project so that’s what they seek to see in your personal motivation.
Why does they have to choose YOU for the project? Maybe you have some talents or skills that can contribute to the project’s activities; you will participate actively in each tool; you can teach other participants your know-how to something; you’ll disseminate the projects’ results and think of creative follow-up activities in your home country?
Just say that! Because this is what they want to hear.
2) What to avoid?
NO PLACE, NO FUN!
I got your attention, huh? I know that the actual reason we all go to these exchanges is mainly to check another visited country on our travel list and to attend some crazy international parties but – NO. That’s not how are the things going. It cost me few wasted applications to understand that I must not say that.
Don’t say neither that you want to take part in the project because it will be held in your dream country and town, not that you want to have a fancy trip and visit some sightseeings. Erasmus+ is not a vacation. It is an actual problem-solving project you have to work on from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. and there could be even cases that you won’t be gifted with a free afternoon or a day-off. Still, you have the right to arrive 2 days earlier or to stay 2 days after the project and actualize your such a dream trip.
Cultural experience and language practice
Even though I recommended you to put these points into your motivation do not exaggerate because these are not main reasons. Remember – topic on first place!
Here come also the C1 people. Don’t try to impress the organisators with “sophisticated” phrases or extra idioms in order to “stick out like a sore thumb”. Even if you have advanced or proficiency level of English do not stress on it. If you don’t – do not lie about it.
Don’t lie about anything else either – like experience, extra-interest or over-motivation. Research well project’s conditions to see if you are okay with everything and will it be suitable for you.
Keep it real, simple, add something unique that sets you apart and... Break a leg!
by Silvia Arsova