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EMA's 2019-2021 MB reflections

Updated: Jul 19

At the end of June 2021 the two year term of EMA's 2019-2021 Management Board comes to an end. During the last two years the Team and Association were steered forward by President, Katharina Heil and Vice President, Marsela Husen. The full list of MB members can be found on EMA's history page.


At this important point some of the Team are sharing their reflections and gratitude, and give insights of what it means and meant to them to be a crucial and active part of a Student Alumni Association, a registered NGO. Scroll down to read about their experience!


Marsela Husen, EMA Vice-President 2019 - 2021


Once EMA, always EMA
12 MB members, 11 nationalities, 4 continents, 2 years, 1 EMA, WE MADE IT! ❤

Through my almost two-years journey as the Vice-President of EMA, I learned that growth isn’t just about pushing myself to become who I want to be. Sometimes, we just become who we want to become eventually, by making the choices that we are asked not by our mind or our heart, but by our gut. Sometimes, it’s when looking back, rather than forward, that we see better today the person we are becoming.


When I committed to be part of the EMA Management Board, I tried to get rid of my own comforts and routines. And so, I grew more aware of who I am and who I am not and of the difference between who I want to be and who I am right now. The kind of contrast we only ever see when we get confronted with new experiences, new people, or being in a new chapter of our lives.


Together with Katharina, and the other Management Board members, we dived into this adventure - learning, understanding, and professionalizing EMA, with an open mind. It was not always easy, especially because of COVID, but we grew so much from this situation as a team. And we emerged into a different person, optimistic, and inspired, which gives me hope that more people will take the opportunity and be part of EMA.


Starting a new chapter is always challenging, as it begins by ending one. It was a pleasure to be part of the Management Board. I will always look back at this chapter with fond memories. With many thanks to you, EMA members and volunteers, for making my time here so rewarding, it is time for me to say goodbye as the Vice-President. I look forward to being part of EMA’s future as an active member and volunteer.


This is not a parting goodbye, this is a thank you and see you later.


“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

-A.A. Milne from Winnie-the-Pooh



Katharina Heil, EMA President 2019 - 2021

Once EMA, always EMA
“When one door closes, another one opens.”


This is how I got to be elected as EMA’s president - a door opened into a volunteer role with a lot of responsibilities, exciting opportunities and an outstanding group of people.

It seemed like a challenging role to take on, but I committed and promised myself that every little step counts. Together with Marsela and the MB we embarked on a journey of understanding, expanding and professionalizing EMA, while keeping up the ongoing projects, revitalizing dormant ones and coming up with new ideas.


Corona hit EMA as well as all of us on a professional and personal level - and we stood strong - all together. It was not always easy and I have to admit that it has been a pity to not being able to get together with team and EMA members in person, but also EMA virtual meetings always brought a smile on my face. Seeing the dedication of others and feeling the energy to give back and make things happen is unique and can only be experienced if one has been lucky enough to experience and live through an EMJMD degree.


Fast forward, two years later - the 24 months as EMA’s President have shown me the power of a volunteering organisation - dedication, conviction and teamspirit have been crucial to keep going, work together and contribute to the success, allowing students and alumni from around the world to connect, study and experience the gift of education and internationality.


Now that it seems like a door is closing for me - I am looking forward to other opening doors. Within EMA I will be contributing to leading the GO-DIJIP project and hope to be able to contribute in other projects, “on the ground” and/or in an advisory function.


I am convinced that the power of EMA can and will help to establish even more friendships than it has since its creation, it will keep opening doors for many more generations to come and share the gift of a borderless and judgement free world which I am happy and proud to be part of.


I am grateful for all the opportunities my Erasmus Mundus Programme gave me, and what EMA taught me and looking forward to sharing and being part of EMA’s future as an active member and volunteer.



Estefanía Zarate, EMA Communication & IT Unit Director 2019 - 2021

EMA, a lifetime of joy and gratitude forever in my heart.



In February 2019 I had the amazing opportunity to join the Erasmus Mundus Association General Assembly held in Vienna, without knowing it would be the first and so far the last time I would meet in person with a worldwide community that highly represents my personal interests and values.


I was invited by Oxana Sytnik, whom at that time was the Director of the Communications Unit and whom I had been working closely with on the Emanate Magazine project. I had recently graduated from my MA in Journalism, Media and Globalisation, also known as the Mundus Journalism program.


The Erasmus Mundus Association gave me the chance to feel a part of something in a time of uncertainty in my career path. I joined the volunteering team with the passion for sharing my skills and the intention of connecting with like-minded individuals who, just like me, wanted to give back to the world for the great possibility of achieving my postgraduate studies abroad with an Erasmus Mundus scholarship.


Little I knew that during that General Assembly I would find encouragement and support from the then Steering Committee to pursue the position of Director of the Communications and IT Unit. Today I will admit that even though I felt confident in my skill set to fulfil the task at hand, I had no idea what I was really getting into. I had been part of EMA since 2016 when I started my studies in Europe but it was not until 2018 when I joined as an active volunteer; I was relatively new to the structure and processes of EMA at the time I applied for the Management Board position and was elected by President Katharina Heil and her team to take on this challenge.


Soon I learned about the internal procedures and all the administrative work that came with the position. Later I realised that I had become part of a group of individuals who had a deep and genuine desire to be the changemakers in the world we want to live in and I dived hands-on in the pursuit of our shared dream. Since then, I have only felt admiration and inspiration from my EMA brothers and sisters.


I have only gratitude to express for the following two years, which at a personal level have been the most challenging years of my life. Living as a migrant, navigating the integration process in a new and far away from home country and redirecting my professional ambitions has been a journey of personal development full with great memories and also deep slopes, all through which the support of my fellows at the Management Board were a key to strengthening my skills and self-esteem.


Working at EMA on the side of my life roller coaster during the last two years brought me great satisfaction, especially considering the unexpected circumstances that we all faced in this worldwide pandemic, including the loss of my grandfather, soul father and the grieving that I have been experiencing since then. Surely I feel that I could have done a much better job but I also feel happy and accomplished for the inspiration I was able to bring to my team members throughout the whole process.


I can only say that I highly recommend the Erasmus Mundus Association volunteering experience to anyone who has a calling for making a difference, impacting the younger generations of Mundusians and contributing to the making of forward thinking, inclusive and diverse global society.


Thank you EMA, forever in debt with all of you guys at the Management Board 2019 - 2021.


Thank you, goodbye, and see you soon!