What is ESN?
Erasmus Student Network is the biggest student association in Europe. It was born on October 1989 for supporting and developing student exchange.
We are present in more than 1000 Higher Education Institutions from 39 countries. The network is constantly developing and expanding. We have around 13,000 active members that are in many sections supported by so-called buddies mainly taking care of international students. Thus, ESN involves around 40,000 young people offering its services to around 350,000 international students every year.
In synthesis, ESN's Aims & Principles are:
- working in the interest of international students
- working to improve the social and practical integration of international students
- representing the needs and rights of international students on the local, national, and international level
- providing relevant information about mobility programmes
- motivating students to study abroad
- working with the reintegration of homecoming students
- contributing to the improvement and accessibility of student mobility
- caring about its members
- valuing volunteering and active citizenship
Who are we for?
The students who are returning from an exchange are being supported in the reintegration process in their home countries by keeping contact with an international environment. Many local sections are set up by former exchange students, often because they have had good experiences from their exchange period or because they felt a lack of help during their exchange. They also understand better the issues and challenges in a foreign environment.
However, the main focus of ESN is placed on current exchange students, who often face problems (and feel abandoned) in their new environments. Therefore, ESN offers help in the academic, social and practical integration process. This is mainly done through activities in the local sections, which include cultural and social events such as trips to various places within the country, film nights, language projects, international food festivals and last, but not least, parties. In addition to that, many sections have introduced mentor systems, which help the international students mainly in academic and practical integration.
ESN also provides relevant information and encourages the future exchange students to gain the international experience and gain relevant insight into different cultures.