FRIENDS Final Virtual Partner Meeting


The last FRIENDS partner meeting, in line with the times, was hosted online on 8-10 November 2022. More than four years ago, the FRIENDS project brought together HEIs from Europe and Asia committed to internationalisation of higher education and keen on building students and graduates’ global skills and sensitivity to cultural diversity. At the final virtual meeting, partners reassured each other what an honor and privilege it has been to work with the FRIENDS participating institutions and to meet all the wonderful staff members, peers and students that this project united. Despite the obstacles that COVID-19 brought, the commitment of the FRIENDS partner universities was the factor that played a major role in bringing the project to a successful end.

The first day of the final virtual meeting was planned as a reunion for the students of the FRIENDS Student Bootcamp 2022. Joy and bittersweet memories were shared between the attendees. Through online games and trivia, students brought back to life the days of the Student Bootcamp in Bulgaria and expressed how grateful they were for having the chance to participate in this truly intercultural exchange.

Ambassadors of Cultural Diversity and Tolerance to Otherness by Neda Dimitrova

FRIENDS Student Engagement and Student Empowerment by Ayse Ozkan

Day 1 Video: FRIENDS Bootcamper Reunion

Day 2 Video: FRIENDS Sustainability and the Way Ahead

Day 2 Video: Co-creating FRIENDS Final Report

Day 3 Video: Co-creating FRIENDS Final Report

As evident from virtual meeting’s recordings, the second and third day provided the FRIENDS partners with an opportunity for networking and co-working to collectively address once again specific concerns of the FRIENDS project such as the Intercultural Passport Virtual Module, the FRIENDS Teahouses activities, and the sustainability of the project. The meeting agenda, which can be found here, included also project management, quality, dissemination and exploitation panels. On the second day, a networking session of the FRIENDS Teahouses coordinators and officers across the 12 Asian HEIs was held. The FRIENDS Teahouses are the focal points to coordinate after the end of the project lifetime the sustainability activities linked, inter alia, to the Intercultural Passport virtual module. The latter has been the core of the FRIENDS project with the FRIENDS Teahouses facilitating the intercultural engagement on campus and contributing to universities’ extracurricular agenda. The Intercultural Passport virtual module brought wider exposure to other cultures and the internationalisation concept. The course also contributed to the alignment of academic courses to international standards across the institutions in the consortium. The activities of the FRIENDS project have touched upon the lives of many and, through the sustainability plan, will continue to attract more and more students and local community members in the long term. The targets that the FRIENDS project had incorporated were met and results exceeded the initial expectations. The project helped strengthen the role of the HEIs involved in the society at large by addressing a knowledge gap to enhance graduate employability skills, particularly soft skills. The impact of the project has a long-lasting effects on both institutional and national level.

With regards to sustainability, beyond the FRIENDS project, the network of FRIENDS Teahouses is about to be extended by 7 more FRIENDS Teahouses established at HEIs in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam through a sister Erasmus+ CBHE project called HARMONY. The HARMONY project that kick-started in 2021 emulates to a great extend some of the good practices introduced in FRIENDS that are linked to building students’ intercultural competence through cultural events and social activities embedded in universities’ informal curriculum.


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