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ERASMUS Students 20 Years Later



Rev Fr Feidhimidh Magennis with 4 returning Erasmus students who studied in St Mary's 20 years ago


Twenty years after returning home from an Erasmus study period at St Mary’s University College, four European teachers recently met up in Belfast for a weekend to celebrate their on-going friendship and to visit the College campus.

The teachers are seen in the photograph (left to right) with Rev Fr Feidhlimidh Magennis who was their Erasmus coordinator in 1998.

Harmke Clonen (KH Leuven), now a teacher of Dutch as a second language for unemployed adults in Belgium.

Nynke Elzina (NHL Leeuwarden), now a teacher coordinator for education assistants at a secondary vocational school in Holland.

Mireia Alum (Universitat Raman Llull, Barcelona), now a primary school teacher in Spain.

Catherine Van Riet (KH Leuven) now a secondary school teacher of English in Belgium.

Harmke said:
“We were able to walk the streets of Belfast again and were delighted to visit the College and talk to Fr Magennis. It made our weekend”.

The visit highlights the long-term benefit of the European Union’s Erasmus student mobility programme. Firstly, it demonstrates how lasting friendships can be established and maintained when studying abroad and “crossing borders”. Secondly, it highlights the significance of host institutions of higher education as well as host cities in establishing positive attitudes to “others” across Europe.

Twenty years after leaving St Mary’s, Harmke, Nynke, Mireia and Catherine were back in Belfast and participating in the life of our great city.