FLEX Alumni Coordinator in Moldova Inga Daranuta ’13 and Victoria Lungu ’13 together with a team of 10 FLEX alumni organized the Education Network Conference on formal and non-formal education opportunities with a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Moldova. The conference took place on November 3-5 at the Center for Children and Youth ARTICO in Chisinau, and involved 100 high school students. The project aimed to teach participants new skills and to inform them about local and international educational opportunities.
Organizers of the conference focused on sharing their personal experiences of searching for and applying for local and international education opportunities, while offering the participants networking opportunities to create a long-lasting network that would facilitate the sharing of information and opportunities after the end of the event. The workshop was developed in celebration of International Education Week, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education’s co-sponsored annual campaign to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.
Every day of the Education Network conference was dedicated to one of the following: Explore, Experiment, or Connect. Participants brainstormed, dabbled, and discovered hidden talents and skills through alumni-led sessions. Organizers and outside speakers held sessions on public speaking, resume and cover letter writing, and TOEFL/IELTS preparation to build participants’ confidence as they apply for educational opportunities in Moldova and abroad. Alumni of different U.S. Government sponsored programs led presentations about the programs that they participated in and opportunities abroad. In addition to that, the students visited local universities and an Educational Opportunities Abroad Fair to get a picture of what educational opportunities best fit their personal needs and goals. Representatives from international universities and Embassies attended the fair and promoted their institutions. A participant stated, “During these days I learned so many things! No one offers us such information at school. If I would have tried to research this myself, I would have needed to spend much more time, weeks or even months behind the computer.”
The Education Network team created partnerships with various organizations, including media partners, that supported the advertisement and administration of the events. American Councils and the Creative Development Association were among the top supporters of the event.
The FLEX alumni community would like to continue organizing this conference on an annual basis to share information with high school students about FLEX and the many other exchange and educational opportunities in Moldova and abroad. Pictures from the event can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/ENCMoldova/photos/