Mobility to Namur MAy 14-18

The last mobility of BEATS took place in Namur, Belgium. Our activities started early in the morning, at the Ecole Supérieure des Affaires of Namur where we were warmly welcomed by Ms Marie Demazy. Learners and coordinators from each institution gave short presentations and talked a bit about themselves. It was the time to start to get to know each other, although some learners had met in previous mobilities. Afterwards, goodie bags and souvenirs were distributed and it was time for lunch in a restaurant in Namur.

In the afternoon we started to get ready for the activity on Tuesday, the visit to the business incubator “Five Digital Village”. Learners in teams had to think about different aspects of a startup project: finances, logo, target group… And they had to be able to defend their project before a panel of experts.

On Tuesday 15th we spent the morning at Five Digital Village in Erpent listening to fantastic professionals who told us about their start-up companies and the story about the very beginning of their successful business.

Moreover, we had the chance to listen to the interesting speech by the Director of the Belgian Foundation for Young Enterprises who explained all the details of the support that they are providing to young people that want to build a startup company.

After a lunch break, learners (and coordinators as well) took part in a life-like activity: we had to defend our project for a business in front of a team of experts on different aspects of an entrepreneur’s experience: how to get financing, how to decide who your target group is, how to “sell” your business and how to define your visual image. They did not hesitate to highlight all the details, weak and strong points of their projects, and some advice about what you should look up when starting up a business.

Full of inspiration and wise advice, we went back to the city centre of Namur.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of hotels in Namur, in this mobility not all the teams stayed in the same facilities. Some stayed in the Youth Hostel, in a beautiful location by the river, while others opted for a hotel in the city centre or a rented house. We still had many opportunities to get together and socialize during the activities and free time.

The third day of the mobility was dedicated to visiting different kinds of companies. Learners and coordinators were divided into groups according to the company they preferred to visit and from the meeting point, the Youth Hostel, they were disseminated to different cars to “explore” different kind of companies. The visits ranged from the amazing visit to Public Service of Wallonia archaeological dig to the useful view of how the Communications Department of the Public Service of Wallonia works, passing by the world of foreign trade at the Walloon Agency for Export. Each group would be telling the rest of the teams about their experience and what they had learnt, so everyone had to be really attentive!

After a nice walk around Namur, all the participants arrived at a gorgeous place located on the other side of the river, in Jambes: L’Elysette (with that name because of its resemblance to the French Palais de l'Élysée). For a while, we were all immersed in the centre of the power of Wallonia and we had a glimpse of the complications of the politics and institutions in the country. After that, we also had the chance to visit The Province Palace in Namur.

The dinner was an interesting experience, with a truck parked at the school, providing delicious pizzas for learners, teachers and coordinators.

Thursday morning was dedicated to sharing the experiences in the different companies the previous day. In order to do that, the members of the different teams had to work together and prepare a presentation they would show the rest of the groups later in the morning. Both preparing the slides and presenting them was a demanding and challenging task, but with a very successful and motivating result.

A great challenge was to brainstorm and share roles in preparing presentations, but everything was easy and ran smoothly, even though it was necessary to concentrate and prepare quite a lot of information in a short time. Inmediately after that, each group had to share their impressions on what they saw and heard on Wednesday showing their just prepared presentation. Quite a stressful, but useful activity.

After a morning of hard work, a little free time and getting ready for a new cultural visit of the mobility: the Citadelle of Namur. We had the chance to enjoy the visit with the help of a tour guide, who explained all the details of the history of the old walls, taking us deep underground in the passageways and rooms that were used by the army in different moments of European political conflicts.

Friday was the last day of the mobility and a farewell to BEATS. All BEATS Namur mobility learners, BEATS coordinators and English teachers gathered in the nice and comfortable conference room for the end of project conference. This conference was also attended by ESA students, teachers, representatives of “FIVE” among others.

We learned more about the possibilities and size of the ERASMUS+ programme. We were told how the BEATS program started in 2015, how the project leaders (who are also teachers and coordinators) from different countries came together to Belgium to agree on project principles and develop it, which was implemented together in 2016-2018.

At the end of the conference, we had a nice walking lunch and the diplomas were also awarded to everyone for completing the program.

The coordinators with their diplomas

Ms Carine Deschamps, Director of Ecole Supérieure des Affaires of Namur, kindly gave the participants a gift with Belgian chocolate and typically Bister mustard. Then it was time to say goodbye and get ready to go back home.

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