Erasmus groups #sharing moments #staying connected

“I m not the same

after

Erasmus”

A story based on the observation of a group of Erasmus students…

As part of “New consumer trends” — a course linked with the “Mobile Reputations — Collaborative Consumption in Sharing Economy Era” project — we were asked by our Professor mrs. Betty Tsakarestou to conduct a study in a community of our choice. We derived inspiration from the fact that our team includes a member of Polish origin that participates in the Erasmus program and decided to form a study consisting of a group of ten Erasmus students studying at Panteion University. This study involves observation of different aspects of the Erasmus group social behavior and culture, as well as presentation of the conclusions reached.

The first part of the study can be described as a hands-on observation process, as we became members of the group ourselves, in order to mingle with their everyday habits. The group’s enthusiasm of our participation helped a lot and urged us to include observational aspects that we hadn’t thought of in the beginning of the project.

The project planning involved following the group in their various activities, in order to understand how they are connected and develop trust among foreigners. As far as the Erasmus community is concerned, the goal was to document the students’ expectations of the program, find out how their community is linked with locals and local lifestyle and specifically which platforms based on Sharing Economy are used for connection to facilitate exchanging and networking.

A first get-to-know approach between freshmen in Erasmus is the creation of official Facebook Groups (Erasmus+ Panteion University, Erasmus at Panteion University 2015–16 by ESN Panteion), but this mainly serves as an event planner or forum-like platform. When it comes to daily communication, the students use mobile applications like Messenger, Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, Snapchat and Instagram.

For the practical side of daily life, commuting is a concern for most Erasmus students, since they can’t afford a taxi on a daily basis. To overcome this difficulty, they all use uber app. based on Collaborative Economy (people can get car rides from specific Uber drivers). Accommodation is also a problem, and some of them use couchsurfing platform based on Gift Economy (people allow other people to stay in their couch for free) as a solution, although some are afraid to use it in Greece. Airbnb platform based on Collaborative Consumption(rental services) is also popular among Erasmus students for accommodation purposes, especially when it comes to visit a Greek island for vacation.

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