Over the past two weeks, international students studying at the University of Malta participated in a number of volunteering opportunities and activities organised by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Malta, a student society at UM which facilitates the social and practical integration of all international students on campus.
From the 23rd November - 07 December, ESN Malta organised the Social Inclusion Days to advocate for the social engagement of foreign students in Malta through activities which bring together international students and members of local communities. During these two weeks ESN Malta organised a beach clean-up at Ghajn Tuffieha, encouraged international students to get involved with volunteering programmes and hosted a football festival.
At the Beach Clean-Up
The beach clean-up coincided with Green Day and was made possible thanks to the help of the Gaia Foundation and the Ministry for Environment who provided the equipment needed to be able to clean the beach from microplastics and other debris and waste which accumulated in the bay following the previous storms. Besides the beach clean-up, the students also got to participate in a seminar on Maltese fresh water resources and sustainability organised by Tapp Malta.
Team ESN Malta
With the assistance of the Malta Football Association, ESN Malta organised a fun and unifying friendly football tournament on Sunday 06 December. The tournament was held as part of the MFA’s Play Football Live Football EU funded project which aims to promote and facilitate the social integration and inclusion of refugees as well as other Maltese nationals encountering difficulties integrating within the community. The football festival featured the ESN football team which is made up entirely of UM international students, Cartias FC which is a football team for rehabilitated drug users, and 4 other teams made up of refugees.
These activities organised by ESN provide opportunities for international students to engage with the local Maltese community, instigate intercultural dialogue, and encourage international students to learn more about their host country through volunteering activities.
“Our social inclusion activities burst the “Erasmus bubble” by bringing international and local students together to organise meaningful activities for the benefit of Maltese society, while also fostering the internationalisation of local students. ESN Malta strives for “the enrichment of society through international students” and the social inclusion days achieve just that”.
- Luke Bonello Ghio, President of ESN Malta