Every day ETN’s training agencies welcome hundreds of students from all over Europe; from their arrival to the accommodation in selected families, every aspect is organized down to the smallest details, in order to guarantee students an unforgettable life experience they can tell friends, parents and, in the future, children and grandchildren.
But what is life like in an ETN agency? What does a typical day look like?
Diana Pantcheva and Stiliana Todorova, respectively Training and Teacher’s Tutor and International Relations of ETN Business Lab, the only ETN agency in Sofia, tell us about this (and more).
Enjoy the reading!
Diana, what does a Training and Teacher’s Tutor do?
- Basically, I organize and assure the quality of the training program during the Erasmus+ mobilities. This requires constant contact with partner host organisations in the private sector, governmental institutions, NGO’s, schools and universities in order to provide high quality work placements and training experience that matches the individuals’ psychological, linguistic and professional profiles of the students and teachers coming to Sofia. The Training and Teacher’s Tutor is the reference person for everything related to the training. I meet the students to present work experience, accompany them to the interview and monitor work experience through weekly meetings with both the students and the host companies. I also organise training activities for educational staff: such as seminars, structured courses, workshops and tailor-made trainings for trainers.
Stiliana, what does a international relations officer do?
- International Relations Officer process the requests from all over Europe making possible to answer the needs of the partner organisation in terms of educational programme. I am the contact person for the Bulgarian educational institutions that want to organise their mobilities abroad. We are collaborating from the definition phase of the project idea; immediately before the arrival of the group, preparing all necessary information/documents and defining the services to be provided; passing through the implementation of the mobility and at the end closing the project by sending Final reports and Europasses. International Relations Officer is a reference point for all ETN International on-going projects that the partner could benefit and opportunities within Erasmus+ programme.
What other figures are present within the agency?
- As in all our agencies we have Agency Director – the person who guarantees the quality of the projects, coordinating the team and making sure that all the services organised and provided have a high level of satisfaction and meet the expectations of the partner. The Operations Manager is the person responsible for administrative procedures with schools and organizations (invoices, budgets, agreements, etc.) And the Student Welfare Offices ensures the general well-being of the students.
Diana, what are the most popular sectors in Sofia?
- I wouldn’t say there are any particular sectors that are popular in Sofia. We receive a large variety of requests in different sectors, for example: marketing, tourism, health care, administration, sports, IT, photography, hospitality, gastronomy, car repair, automation, electricity, etc. Being a fast growing and developing capital Sofia can offer to our partners many opportunities for high-quality work placements and trainings.
Diana, what are the services we offer to students and teachers?
- We offer services in the three main and very important aspects of educational mobility: training, psychological support and logistics. We organize personalized training path both for students and teachers; assure monitoring and evaluation of the training through the ECVET procedure and support our partners from the project writing phase up to the implementation of the mobility. We provide personal and professional psychological support to our partners during their entire stay and make sure they adapt to the new context successfully. In terms of logistics and organization we provide accommodation, transfer to and from the airport, flight tickets, local transport, cultural and recreational activities.
What is the aspect of Sofia that most impresses students who carry out an Erasmus project in the Bulgarian capital?
- Sofia is a beautiful city with a strategical location in Europe. We are the only capital on the continent with a gorgeous mountain so nearby. Actually, if you need a quick escape from the everyday routine and city rush you can reach Vitosha maintain in only half an hour and go skiing or just relax and enjoy the view from above. Students usually fall in love with Vitosha mountain easily. They are also attracted by the culture, the friendly and hospitable people, the typical mixture of architectural styles, the numerous historical sites, the vibrant night life, the delicious local food and many, many opportunities to entertain themselves and explore new things.
What does a typical day in an agency look like?
- Usually, we start the day with a cup of hot coffee or tea and a smile. We are a small team and we work pretty much together. As Stiliana is mainly communicating with schools you can often see her talking on the phone or writing emails. My work requires more face-to-face meetings and when we have a lot of groups in Sofia, I am very often out of the office, meeting with partner companies, accompanying students and organizing different type of activities. A typical day in the agency always involves a lot of dynamics, communication, outside-the-box thinking and creativity. One of the things I like the most in our job is that there are no two days alike.
Why should a school/organization choose ETN Business Lab?
- We will be very happy to welcome you to one of the oldest capitals in Europe. Our team of professionals has more than 12 years of experience in managing and organizing mobility projects. We are matching the project idea, participants’ skills and knowledge with the opportunities that our territory provides and make sure that you will want to come back again!