Erasmus Student Network AISBL is a no-profit international student organization founded in 1990 by former students in International Mobility under the initiative of the Erasmus Bureau of the European Community, with the objective of representing the interests of students in international mobility.
ESN operates on three levels: international, national and local and, at the moment, it counts more than 500 sections in 40 countries with more than 18.000 active members that work on a volunteer base, providing services for around 150.000 Erasmus and non-Erasmus students.
The ESN sections work following the principle "Students helping students", in order to help the students making the most out of their study or internship period during their mobility.
The sections provide support both to outgoing and incoming students.
The volunteers are mostly students that already matured experience as exchange students and want to make their experiences available, or students that are about to make an international exchange experience and that through their job inside the organization can gain skills that may be useful to make the most out of the study experience abroad, even in countries with a social and cultural background that differs a lot from theirs.
On an international level, ESN promotes European student mobility interfacing with the major institutions of United Europe.
The executive body of ESN International is the Board, made up of 5 people and annually elected from among the members of the sections. The National Representatives of all the country members of ESN for the Council of National Representatives (CNR), which is the consultative organ and, in some cases, decision making body of Erasmus Student Network.
The decision making power belongs to the Assembly of the members, that gather every year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
ESN and exchange students
The main focus of ESN is placed on current exchange students, who often face problems and feel abandoned in their new environments. ESN therefore 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 courses, buddy system, integration and welcome weeks, international dinners, spot events and much more. In addition to that, many ESN sections, sometimes in cooperation with their HEI, have introduced mentor systems to help and guide the international students mainly in their academic and practical integration.
ESN and homecoming students
Students who return from an exchange period are invited to join ESN to ease their reintegration process by keeping contact with an international environment. Many local ESN sections are set up by former exchange students, often because they had good experiences during their exchange period or because they felt a lack of help during their own exchange. It is also true that these people understand the issues and challenges of a foreign environment. This makes them ideal to deal with these problems. Higher Education Institutions play a big role as with their support (and often “request”) students from different faculties come together and create a local section.
ESN and local students
To support internationalisation at home, ESN provides relevant information about study opportunities abroad to motivate prospective future exchange students. ESN also encourages future exchange students to gain international experience and relevant insights in different cultures before departure. The local section is a place where it is possible to meet students from other countries and cultures, speak other languages and breathe a bit of Europe at home for local students that do not have the possibility or the will to study abroad. Moreover, being active in a local ESN section helps developing soft skills, which are valuable for the future working environment.
Aims and Principles
The Erasmus Student Network:
• works in the interest of international students.
• works to improve the social and practical integration of international students.
• represents the needs and rights of international students on the local, national and international level.
• provides relevant information about mobility programmes.
• motivates students to study abroad.
• works with the reintegration of homecoming students.
• contributes to the improvement and accessibility of student mobility.
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