About the project

It is always complicated for young foreigners to settle in a relatively short time in a big city. Among the biggest challenges are bureaucratic challenges, lack of housing, work, social integration, and peer-meeting opportunities, which demotivate people and force them to leave big cities.

Handshake will boost social inclusion in metropolitan cities by developing an online app, offline events and a social inclusion guide for big cities – Paris, Milan and Brussels. Other major cities may be included in the future, when the project reaches the expected results.

General Aim

The main aim of the Handshake project is to integrate expatriates into local life through the creation of a useful tool centralising all the necessary information in all EU languages (in the form of a web application), and thus promoting inclusion and social citizenship.

Handshake’s specific aims are…

  • To boost active citizenship, young people’s sense of initiative by strengthening EU identity and the participation of young people in the social and political life of cities, applicable both for locals and expats. It is also at the heart of the project to come closer to those with fewer opportunities, including people with disabilities and living in facing socio-economic difficulties.


  • To reinforce links between policy, research and practice through:
    – activities to promote better knowledge about bureaucratic processes, existing events in the cities where the target group lives (and beyond);
    – allowing big cities to follow a social inclusion path for young expats and young local citizens, through a social inclusion guide and a user-friendly web app, adaptable also to other cities in the EU.

Use Handshake Social Inclusion Guide to get information about

the city of Brussels, Paris and Milan!

Explore Handshake Web App:


Paris, 7 July 2022

The Handshake project’s web app was officially launched in Paris on July 7, 2022. Led by the gE team, the event showcased the web app’s features and its dedication to promoting the inclusion of expats, Erasmus students, and international students in Paris, Brussels, and Milan. Attendees, including young representatives from France Youth Parliament and other community organizations, were introduced to the user-friendly interface and potential benefits of the web app, generating excitement and fostering collaboration for greater social integration.

Milan, 2 October 2022

On the second of October in Milan, an engaging event took place where new Erasmus students had the opportunity to share their perspectives on the challenges they faced upon arriving in the city. This event provided a platform for open discussions and valuable insights into the experiences of international students. The students expressed their vision through interactive sessions and workshops, highlighting the key obstacles they encountered and their expectations for a smoother integration process. Students also recorded short videos sharing their firsthand experience arriving in Milan. The event not only facilitated a deeper understanding of the needs of incoming students but also fostered a sense of community and collaboration among the participants, paving the way for improved support and resources for future Erasmus students in Milan.

Brussels, 21 October 2022

In Brussels, an insightful event was held on October 21st, where representatives from various universities’ international offices gathered to learn about the project and the inclusive guide. This event provided a platform for meaningful discussions and the collection of valuable perspectives from institutions that handle a significant amount of incoming mobility. The project and its objectives were presented, highlighting the importance of fostering inclusivity and support for international students. The representatives shared their insights and experiences, shedding light on the challenges faced by students and the role that universities can play in facilitating their integration.

Paris, 6 February 2023

On 6 February 2022, Fondation Hippocrène and garagErasmus Foundation were present at the get together by ESN Paris – Erasmus Student Network with the project Handshake, which aims at creating social inclusion guides for the cities of Paris, Brussels and Milan. These guides help expats to better navigate the main challenges that they encounter in these cities, like bureaucracy, job searching and peer meeting.
During this occasion, students were asked what in their opinion could be included in these guides according to their personal experience, so as to help other people experiencing international mobility after them.

Milan, 13 March 2023

In Milan, a dynamic event took place on March 13, where the Handshake project and platform were presented to exchange students, international students, and local students in a university setting. The event aimed to foster open discussions and gather valuable insights into the challenges faced by international students upon their arrival in Milan. Through interactive sessions and workshops, participants had the opportunity to share their perspectives, highlight obstacles, and express their expectations for a smoother integration process.

Brussels, 4 June 2023

On June 4th, a vibrant event took place in Brussels, bringing together young expats, including Erasmus students, interns, and trainees, in an informal setting. The gathering provided an opportunity for participants to share their diverse experiences of living in Brussels, with some attendees having recently arrived while others were already settled in the city. The event was filled with excitement as everyone enjoyed the first rays of sunshine for the season. In addition to socializing, the attendees engaged in inclusive activities, fostering a sense of community and integration among the participants.

Paris, 16 June 2023

On June 16th, an engaging event took place in Paris, where the Fondation Hippocrene partnered with ESN (Erasmus Student Network) to gather feedback on the platform and facilitate discussions on the challenges of living in Paris. The event provided a valuable platform for participants to share their firsthand experiences and insights, leveraging their time spent in the city to contribute to the ongoing development and improvement of the project. With a focus on fostering a supportive environment, attendees engaged in constructive conversations, exchanging ideas, and offering suggestions to enhance the experience of expats and international students in Paris.

Milan, 23 June 2023

On June 23rd, a dynamic event took place in Milan, bringing together locals and expats to exchange their perspectives on living in the city and share valuable insights for the improvement of the inclusive guide. Participants engaged in an open and constructive dialogue, discussing the evolving nature of Milan and the challenges that arise when moving to the city. Some participants recorded a video and shared their personal experiences and observations, both locals and expats contributed to a deeper understanding of the city’s dynamics and identify areas for improvement in terms of inclusion and integration.

Brussels, 26 June 2023

The event held in Brussels on June 26th brought together gE4 Brussels and various civil society organizations in the heart of the European bubble. In a relaxed and convivial setting, gE4 Brussels presented the outcomes of the project, including the web app, to the participants. The focus was on collecting valuable feedback on the web app and on the project in general, while also fostering discussions on potential future partnerships and the scalability of the project. This event served as the closing event of the project, offering a platform for exchanging ideas, gathering insights, and exploring opportunities for further collaboration and expansion. Moreover, it aimed to promote inclusivity and support for expats, Erasmus students, and international individuals in Brussels and across Europe.

See Handshake Scalability Plan :


Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

garagErasmus ASBL

gE4Brussels (Belgium)

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

gE4Milan&Lombardy (Italy)

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

Fondation Hippocrène

gE4Paris (France)


February 2022 – June 2023

Erasmus+ logo

Reference number: 2021-1-BE04-KA210-YOU-000027455