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Start date: Jul 1, 2014, End date: Jun 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

IES Mare Nostrum is a public school specialized in ESO (GCSE), Bachiller (A levels) and Vocational Training (level 4 and level 5 diplomas), located in a working class neighbourhood (Alicante). We are looking forward to improve our internationalization in order to: * Improve language skills (French and English). * Promote employability (due to a high % of young unemployed citizens) and ease their employment in domestic and European markets; * Establish stable relationships with other European institutions, improve understanding of the economic and social environment of neighbouring countries, strengthen essential social behaviour in the current cultural environment and increase academic performance through motivation of participants in this project * Encourage autonomy (leaving the family, facing a new environment unassisted, dealing with different situations regarding daily life and work: budget management and organizing their activities and lifestyle), and collaboration as a team. * Avoid school dropout (many young people, particularly level 4 diploma students abandon due to lack of motivation). The students who have participated in this experience have studied level 4 diplomas in Information Communication and Technologies (SMR) and Business & Administration (GA) for a total of 22 mobilities. Most of them are adults but we have had two minors during the two years of the project’s duration, with permission of their parents. Students are carefully selected (through an open process that included their academic record, language test result, language preparation and an interview), and have studied English as a professional course module without prior knowledge of French, but are willful, restless, open minded, tolerant and curious; this personality has allowed them to carry out the language course without difficulty and cope satisfactorily with VET school placements in France, which included a week of training at school (lycees l'Arbresle Barthélémy Thimonnier and Rillieux La Pape Sermenaz) and 3 weeks in companies in Lyon (France), according to a previously agreed program. The experience has been valued by our school’s Erasmus Commission as a great success both for the organization and the results achieved meeting the objectives. We have denoted a substantial improvement in language skills, cognitive ability development (problem solving) and easy integration of our students in another country. At the end the students have done a self-assessment of their learning, but the follow-up we have done allows us to apreciate a serious improvement in understanding, and oral and written expression. Our strategy of internationalization has been enhanced by the development of these mobilities. Since this academic year we are part of the network of multilingual schools, teaching specific GCSE subjects and diploma modules in English. We also certify our students in French and English at a CEFR A2 level. We have encouraged our Erasmus students to continue improving their language skills and to study at higher levels of the Official Language School (EOI). We have managed to involve more teachers in the project and have constituted a commission of 15 teachers creating subcommittees for optimal organization, planning and development. We have also managed to establish new institutional contacts both in Spain (participating in Erasmus meetings organized by our Community, and SEPIE) and France (meetings with secondary school principals in the Rhone-Alpes region) to explain our project and encourage student exchange. These contacts have consolidated our presence outside, establishing contacts with companies and improving conditions and placements for our students. We have conducted joint activities with the Chamber of Commerce of Alicante to promote the PICE employment plan, participated on radio programs (Ondacero Alicante), had meetings with businessmen to explain our Erasmus projects, published several articles in local newspapers (Le progres and Diario Información Alicante) and our school’s magazine, and participated in the “Alicante Hoy” TV program on the “Información TV” channel. We have used Etwinning to describe our project, looked for new partners, uploaded files to the Valor platform, and uploaded videos to Facebook and YouTube and other dissemination tools in order to publicize our experience. The real impact will be measured in time but we think we've done a good job and left the seed and continuity of experience for new projects.
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