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ESNplPolishFolklore: Father's Day

Thu, 22/06/2017 - 23:13

He likely learnt you riding a bike or picking you up from the trainings.More than once he supported you on your matches and tournaments. I am sure, that you know who I am talking about. So please, remind your father’s face now and think about everything what you received from him. There are many memories,aren’t they?​

Today we celebrate Father’s Day in Poland . It is nothing strange for foreigners, as in the other part of the world, people also practice it. But what about the beginning of this celebration? The first local Father’s Day, happened in the small village in America in 1910, as a result of a war veteran’s daughter, who wanted to honor her dad. She claimed that the fathers also deserve their own day, as well as mothers, because they are the part of the family to the same extent. However, the official holiday was established by president Nixon in 1972. 
Polish prime celebration was held in 1965, few years in earlier than in America. Probably the way of spending that day are the same all over the world. Kiddies give their fathers drawings, teenagers buy a small gift and adult children just take care of those, who hugged them several years before.
How do you surprise your daddy this year?

Categories: ESN Poland News

ESNplInterview: Adrianna Skolimowska

Tue, 20/06/2017 - 12:34

Ada is a lawyer both professionally and in the ESN. No one knows the Articles of Association better than her. Although she’s been active in ESN for 7 years, she still has a motivation and willingness to work. She always notices things to improve and what’s more, she aims to do it! 


How does ESN help you in your working life?

Being in ESN has an influence on my professional career, especially on the soft skills, such as planning ability, time management, working under time pressure or multitasking. All of them are helpful in all kind of jobs, actually. But perhaps the most important abilities which I’ve developed in our organization are communication and teamwork skills allowing me to successfully cooperate with all kinds of people. Apart from that, there's also a wide range of contacts and connections that one can develop thanks to ESN.


Could you tell me which post you've hold so far brings up the best memories and why?

It’s hard to choose only one, because each of them has taught me something valuable and gave me a lot of satisfaction. If I had to point it out, I think if I had to point out just one, I would say that it's always the first things you do which give you the best memories. In my case, it was being a Mentor for an Erasmus exchange student and a Travel Coordinator in my local section because at the time I could be close to Erasmus students and I was able to help them directly. On the other hand, on ESN Poland level, my best experience is being the Vice President of the National Board. It was the most intense time of my life. My last academic year was also amazing, as I was in the Audit Committee, where the atmosphere was really good. (Greetings for Gabi and Magda :) )


It’s the third time when you are in the Audit Committee of ESN Poland. In your opinion, from of all the tasks,what is the essential task of the committee?

I believe that the most important tasks is to keep on improving the activity of the Association, for example by carrying out controls, presenting proposals and paying attention to the irregularities up to date. In general, the control authority should evaluate the completed tasks, and that’s why it might look like we are only pointing out the mistakes, but it doesn’t work like that. Our comments and suggestions must be constructive, so that our actions may create the desired effects.


Is being part of the Audit Committee difficult? How much time do you have to spend on it? Is writing reports a laborious or a pleasant task?

It might sound a bit trivial, but each position in our Association is difficult in one way or another, which is good, because this way the members are given an opportunity to learn new things. In the Audit Committee,  one of the most difficult things to do is to separate your responsibilities from private relations. On the one hand we should care for our good relationship with  with the National Board, but on the other hand, we have to be as objective as possible.

As the time we need to spend on our tasks, it could be limited to the statutory duties only, but we can also do more than that. How much time the Audit Committee spends on a given task depends solely on its members. Being in the Audit Committee is far less absorbing than being in the National Board. How much time do I spend on my duties? As much as it takes. One day,   it could be only a few easy contracts to evaluate, which takes about 10 minutes; but the next day I might have to write a report, which obviously requires some more time.


I wouldn't say that writing reports is the best thing I've ever done. You certainly need to get through a lot of documents before you start writing a report. Yet, WHEN the atmosphere between the members of Audit Committee is good, and WHEN we support each other, it's not that bad , though.


Would you say that being a member of the Audit Committee requires any special experience?

The background from ESN Poland Board helps for sure, however it isn’t essential. It’s helpful when the Audit Committee members have an experience on both the local and national level, or on the international level, as controlling the Board requires general knowledge about ESN. Nevertheless, individual skills, educational background, and professional experience of the candidates could be of importance too.   

Categories: ESN Poland News

#myESNcareer: Robert Banet

Mon, 19/06/2017 - 22:50

When did you join ESN? Why? What was your motivation?
Before I started college, I found out about the Erasmus programme and I really wanted to do a part of my studies abroad. During the first week at my university, I found the student organisation ESN and I visited their office. I met a friend there, who explained that I’m too young for the Erasmus programme because at the AGH University of Science and Technology, there is a rule that a student must pass the first year of studies to be able to go for Erasmus. Considering the fact that I started studying a week before that, it was impossible. For the next few months I continued studies but I felt that something was missing all the time. This is why I came back to that office and I found that friend who I talked to before. I told him that I feel bored in my life and I would like to join the ESN. We talked for a very long time about what ESN is and how it works. After that I was informed that soon there will be a meeting I should attend. I thought he meant the recruitment process meeting but it turned out to be a meeting of the whole section. I didn’t understand a thing the members of the meeting were talking about, apart of one question - can someone pick a French Erasmus student up from the airport? I volunteered for that task and it was the start of my activity in ESN, which lasts till this day.
Breakthrough moment in your Newbie career?
It’s difficult to tell. When I was a Newbie - because there was no recruitment process or training camp back then - I attended two section meetings, after which there were Christmas holidays. Following that I picked up an Erasmus student from the airport. That was the breakthrough moment (from nothing to something) which lead to more interesting events.
General breakthrough moment in ESN?
I think that on a local level, it was becoming the president of ESN AGH. On national level, I believe it would be becoming the president of ESN Poland.
What functions did you have in ESN?
I started from being a mentor, then a local HR manager, and then president of our section. After that I had a 5-months-long break, because I went for a students exchange to Singapore. During that exchange I was able to join the InterCom committee. I was also a National Coordinator of ESNcard project and a member of PR committee. In 2013, I joined the ComCom, where I was the Corporate Identity Team Coordinator. During summer, I went for Eduk8 T4T in Cluj-Napoca and a year later for Eduk8 T4T Trento, so I am an Eduk8er. I estimate the number of platforms during which I got to organise trainings to be around 50. In 2014, I became a coordinator of ESNcard project on the international level and a president of ESN Poland on the national level. After finishing my adventure with the national board, I was asked to join the Education Officers Support Group in ICE. In recent years, I was a member of chairing teams of different platforms four times. Recently I joined the Audit Committee of ESN Poland.
What are you most proud of in your ESN career?
The one thing I thought was impossible and which indeed happened, was reaching an agreement with a hotel during the organisation of Silesia Dream Event. I called a lady from a hotel and kindly asked if by any chance we do not need to pay them the money (around 10 000 PLN) since the event didn’t take place.
She just said: Ok, no problem.
Did you have any doubts? What? When? Why? How did you deal with them?
Of course there were moments of doubt. First of all the criticism, which I could not understand and the resignation of the members of the board. One of them resigned for a short period of time and the second one resigned for good. Moments of doubt go away after some time, but what definitely helped me was the support of good people. You can find a lot of them in ESN.
How would you rate the development of our association over the time you are its member?
In some aspects there is a huge progress and in some there is a regress. If we consider  trainings we can see a huge development. During my first National Platform in Łódź in 2011, there was a fantastic HR training. Back then there was no UPGRADE, but there were Newbies and I believe that choosing UPGRADE was a great decision. 5 years ago there was no Eduk8 in ESN International. So we can notice a great change in this field.
On the other hand, the area in which we need to improve is the contact with partners. We need fresh blood, new companies, because if there are any, they are short-termed. Additionally alarming is the fact that some sections themselves have partnerships like the ones of ESN Poland.
How do you assess your development and development of your competences?
Due to the fact that most ESN people do not remember how I started, I have to admit that I have changed unrecognisably. For example, I was the chairman of a chairing team this  year at the NP in Warsaw, in which 150 people took part and I felt like I was standing in front of a mirror at home. When I was freshman, after several months of activity, I was asked to give a presentation at the Welcome Dinner, an event for Erasmus students, for a similar number of people. As I was studying English, the language was never a problem. Back then I refused by explaining I had extremely important activities that I could not miss at the time, and now I would not have the slightest problem with it. I developed the skills of presentation, communication, and something hard to describe, but so-called ‘getting a grip’ of life. In ESN we gain a lot of experience in solving difficult life situations, which ordinary students do not have.

Do you find ESN experience useful in your work life or private life?
Yes and yes. I have finished my studies but I do not work in the profession. On the recruitment interview in the company where I am currently working, I applied for a fairly average internship offer. After the first interview, I was invited to a more prestigious internship program. Then I went through three stages, eliminating all the other candidates. The only question about studies was whether or not I finished it. There were no substantive questions about bachelor or master thesis topics. I was asked about my skills, ESN directly, as well as questions about crisis situations where I presented solutions and behaviours developed in ESN. During this interview I was constantly coming back to ESN. And as for private life, my girlfriend is from ESN.

What has ESN changed in your life?
ESN has changed me totally.  Besides the soft skills I mentioned, it changed me visually. I used to wear Nike shoes, torn jeans, colourful hoodies and had an afro on my head. Now, if someone sees me in a hoodie or trainers, it's just in the hostel during a platform

What was your biggest ESN failure, what didn’t you manage to achieve, even though you wanted to?
I always wanted to place a partner logo on the ESNcard.  Since the time when I was the coordinator, the National Board has changed three times and recently we returned to this topic. We are working on changing ESNcard's distribution format and I think that if we manage to do this, it will be a first step towards it, but still a long way to go.

Where do you think you would be if it wasn’t for ESN?
Hard to say. Probably not at AGH University of Science and Technology, because if it was not for ESN, I would have changed the university. If I have changed the university I would not be an engineer. I would study something related to my current work, but I would pick the student path, more theoretical than the practical path of ESN. Maybe I would be in another student organisation or I would be working for a long time already, but I certainly would not be who I am now.

Were you prepared enough, when you were taking over your first position? Did you know what you were about to experience?
Generally speaking, I think I was prepared. You know, you can never be prepared 100%. I certainly was not the person who decided at the last moment. When it comes to volunteering for the National Board, I've known about this for a long time and decided that if nothing in my life would change significantly, I would be a candidate for President of National Board in the elections of 2014/2015. Everything went according to a plan, for a few months I was working on developing my skills and projects, then I volunteered as a candidate for the President of ESN Poland.

What would you call the nicest memory from your term?
The little successes that were most visible for me when I was abroad. I had the feeling that we were a strong country and that everybody envied our atmosphere. The content of our platforms was often at a higher level than the international ones, and our problems in comparison with other countries turned out to be not so serious.
Karolina Sikorska
Language support: Paulina Traczyk, Joanna Sławecka, Zofia Post

Categories: ESN Poland News

#myESNcareer: Natalia Raczyńska

Tue, 30/05/2017 - 19:28

When did you join ESN? Why? What was your motivation?

In 2010 I moved to Poznań for my studies and I knew that just studying will not be enough for me. I wanted to do more and pay attention to my self-development. I wanted to settle down in the new place and meet new people. Ever since I remember I was a proactive person, I liked to organise events, I had experience in student council. When I heard from my friend who was studying on Gdańsk University of Technology that there is something like ESN, I did not hesitate and wrote an email to the section at my university.


Breakthrough moment in your Newbie career?

It will be my first CLR in Kraków, in 2011. It gave me a bigger perspective and greater spectrum of possibilities for development. I was able to meet people from different cities, I saw that we share the same values. Shortly after that I became a part of OC NP Poznań and then everything went so fast… :)


General breakthrough moment in ESN?

When I became the President and Delegate of ESN UAM Poznań, I was totally gone. Of course in positive way. I came back from Erasmus and I took upon myself a new position at the local level. At that time we were strongly collaborating as Poznań United. I was Head of the OC of Upgrade Poznań, a delegate, shortly after that I became the chair of FR committee and a member of FICO, all of that happened in year 2012/13. Every platform, next trip, skype, written application, every new person, no matter if it was an ESNer or an Erasmus, was a puzzle that let me create my own vision of my future. All those things gave me great motivation and pushed me towards further actions.


What function did you have in ESN?

I hurried and I already listed some! I was a member of local board and HR manager, president of my section, member of the section’s Audit Committee. In 2013/14 I was a member of the national board and Project Manager, after that I was a member of national Audit Committee, vice-coordinator of ESN TEAM, and head of Partnership Team in FICO.


What are you most proud of in your ESN career?

There are a few aspects. Starting from local level in my section ESN UAM, when I was a president of my board, we tried so hard to change the atmosphere in our section, the attitude of members and their motivation; and I dare to claim that we did it. On national level, I’m proud that we received the title of the best country in the network during AGM Milano while I was in the National Board. On international level, I’m proud of organising the first edition of ESN TEAM.


Did you have any doubts? What? When? Why? How did you deal with them?

Of course I did have doubts. I was devoting plenty of time to ESN and sometimes the effects were not as fast or as spectacular as I wanted them to be. On the other side, I found myself having short motivation breakdowns or doubts but I have never given up.

I remember that I had a hard time during the work on ESN Team or ESNOLYMPICS. How to deal with it? I go one of two ways, if the situation doesn’t need immediate response - I’m calming down, cutting off for a day from problems and I come back the next day with a clear head to collect conclusions and perform analysis of what has gone wrong or what to change. In the other case, when my motivation is down and I need to act right away - I always ask for assistance of a person with whom I was cooperating on a given project. It is worth it to calm your ego down and admit to a bad day, an error, lack of motivation. In ESN we rarely work alone so it is important to use the fact that we have next to us another freak who is pushing himself for the same reason - passion :)


How would you rate the development of our association over the time you are its member?

There is no clear answer. What I really appreciate and assess as strong advantage is our attitude for trainings, cooperation with institutional partners, and business insight. I would also point towards local projects, cooperation of sections on national and international level, and visibility of Poles in ESN International. However I can see some kind of stagnation in the field of national projects, administration, or innovation. Those are the fields in which knowledge and ideas of a huge bunch of people which are still in the organisation can be used. I mentioned stagnation but it doesn’t mean that we cannot do anything about this. We can get inspiration on different fields from other countries, analyse and draw conclusions from projects that we have done, consult with Alumi, watch what other students organisations do, and last but not least talk to each other…


How do you assess your development and development of your competences?

Well? Of course now, from perspective, I know what I would have done differently, from what I could have drawn even more. But realistically, I think that ESN gave me the opportunity to develop my competences through action. Especially the soft skills - motivation, HR management, planning or setting goals. The same goes for hard skills - budgeting, knowledge of basic project management programs, and foreign languages. Such experience is invaluable.


Do you find ESN experience useful in your work life or private life?

Sure! From the professional point of view - ESN allowed me to develop a number of competences, gave me experience that I could use during recruitment interviews, international perspective, possibility to use foreign languages and work on projects on all levels. For a recruiter, the fact of an activity in a student organisation is important by itself, having different positions in multiple projects with intercultural environment is a great asset. In addition, the perspective and awareness acquired over the years in ESN have allowed me to gain more humility and at the same time self-confidence, the ability to work with anyone, regardless of their character.

From personal point of view? I am currently living with one of the Alumni. I spend plenty of weekends with people who I met while being a delegate, and from time to time we organise non-formal meetings of “dinosaurs”, were we meet with “our” crew among which you can find old ESNers from Gdańsk, Poznań, Wrocław, Katowice, Łódź, Toruń, Warszawa ect. So yes, I definitely find ESN useful in my personal life :)


What has ESN changed in your life?

I will shortly sum up what I said before. ESN gave me a possibility to meet a bunch of people from all over the world, most out of whom are still my closest friends. From a person open to the world, other cultures, nations, tastes etc., with a broad perspective, I became even more tolerant and empathetic. ESN let me gain invaluable experience, which paid off during recruitment interviews and then at work. ESN allowed me to gain knowledge, learn new things, and take part in a number of interesting events (e.g. European Youth Event, consultations with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education).


What was your biggest ESN failure, what didn’t you manage to achieve, even though you wanted to?

A few smaller or bigger projects, but if I were to classify something as failure, it would be the chairing of FICO partnership group. I had a lot of ideas, energy, and knowledge that I wanted to use, but I was not able to combine this role effectively with work, studies, and coordination of the ESN TEAM. And it is this project that is my (and not only my) "baby", hence when I got to the point where I had to to give something up, I chose FICO.


If you could redo something in ESN, what would it be?

Now as I’m wiser with the experience I have gained over these past few years, from the huge amount of events and projects, platforms, and activities at various levels, I think I would have planned differently the ESNOLYMPICS and definitely the cooperation with partners when I was the Project Manager in the board of ESN Poland. Moreover if I could, I would organise a CND or maybe an AGM in Poznan :)


Were you prepared enough, when you were taking over your first position? Did you know what you were about to experience?

Regardless of a position that we would talk about, the answer would still be the same. Of course I could know more, I could have had more experience, and thus be even better prepared, but that is also the point of all this. It’s about facing challenges, crossing borders, or going out of the comfort zone. I think that good preparation is experience, passion, and knowledge of who can you consult with about any given issue. In the case of a Project Manager in the national board, I can say that I knew what I will have to do, however reality still brought some crisis, surprising, or simply new situations. As an ESN TEAM coordinator I didn’t know what it’s going to be like, but I believed in this project and in the back of my head I visualised the final outcome and this imagination became real in the end.


Where do you think you would be if it wasn’t for ESN?

I'm glad I do not have to think about this possibility!


What would you call the nicest memory from your term?

People. Incredibly positive people from my home section, other Poznan sections, delegates from "my time’’, the board of ESN Poland, who were the Incredibles and the Erasmus people from all over the world. Those people came with events where I met them. My top 3 are AGM Maribor, European Youth Event in Strasbourg, and probably SD Gliwice.


Author: Karolina Sikorska

Categories: ESN Poland News

ESNplPolishFolklore: Mother's Day

Thu, 25/05/2017 - 22:16

Handmade postcard, lovely poem, field flowers… this way we were celebrating the day of the most important person in our life. Mother, mom, mommy…

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, Egyptians  and Romans, who held festivals in honor of  goddesses of crops, fertility and harvest. Forgotten for a long time came back in England and Scotland as Mothering Sunday. In Poland the celebration started in 1914. At times, Mother’s Day has been also a date for launching political or feminist causes. People were using the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.

As adopted by other countries and cultures, the holiday has different meanings, it is associated with different events (religious, historical or legendary), and is celebrated on different dates. The first one is Norway. On February 9th all mommies start to celebrate by breakfast in bed, small gifts and flowers. Mexicans start this day with festive mass and Canadian people decorate their clothes with cloves.

May 26th in Polish culture is one of the most important holidays during the year. We don’t forget about our moms, the same way they would never forget about their kids. Flowers and gifts or maybe whole day with your mom? Everyone has their own way to celebrate this day with a mom.

And you…? How do you honor your mommy?


Categories: ESN Poland News

ESNplInterview: Aleksandra Brzeżańska: The Vice Chair of the “ice-cold” Committee/ ICE

Tue, 23/05/2017 - 17:12

It takes time to be ready to become a chair of the committee. Nevertheless it doesn’t have to be such an incredibly difficult work, suitable only for the chosen few. Ola from the “ice-cold” Committee (ICE) told us about her interest in the field of education, willingness to change and improve the standards of the international student exchange programs, and being the Vice Chair of the Committee during her own Erasmus exchange.


You’re the Vice chair of ICE. Was it a long way to get into this position?

Not really. I was just active in different working teams and in the Committee.


Was it hard to make a decision to take up a position of the chair of the committee? What was your greatest fear and what surprised you positively?

If Valentin, the previous Chair of the ICE, did not ask me if I wanted to be Vice Chair, I would not have run for the position. I really had other plans for the ICE. The moment the Main Chair suggested me to run, I started thinking about it. Then it was hard, because I didn't know whether I am the right person and whether I am sure that I want to be one.  Nevertheless I finally made up my mind and I was chosen. What was I afraid of? The fact that I can't manage my duties and that I am not experienced and knowledgeable enough for the position. It surprised me how wonderful people started to work with me and how many good friends I met in the ICE.


Have you been in the local board earlier?

Yes, I was a Treasurer in the local board.


Have you had any experience on the national level before you joined the ICE?

I was a local Education Officer for the half of a year.


Why the ICE then? This is the committee that everyone knows but only few know its scope of activity.

Before I've gone on my first Erasmus exchange I had the opportunity to study on two universities in Cracow. Besides, my dad is a professor at the university also in Cracow. That is why I very often discussed with him the subject of the Polish educational system. We talked about pros and cons, problems and opportunities. Then after I have gone on my first Erasmus exchange, I could compare my experience from Poland with what university in Germany offered. I I've started to compare this different educational systems, the approach of the professors towards students, what is regarded as the most important, the approach towards the nationalization and mobility. I’ve been curious, how does it look like in different countries, that is why I decided to join the ICE. Moreover, I’ve joined the committee because I was angry with the Erasmus+. I mean it. I had to fight with my university for my right to go on the exchange. It is generally easy to get the Erasmus+ scholarship from my university but at my department it is more problematic. At the beginning my dean and several professors didn't  agree for me to go, although I fulfilled all the requirements. At the administrative level it was like going through hell and back, only to be able to make my dream come true and learn something new.


Have you succeeded?

I succeeded but I haven't forgotten what I had to come through. I couldn't understand why some professors wanted to stop someone from getting the foreign scholarship even though dean's already approved it, without giving any specific reason. Why wouldn't they let you catch up with the syllabus differences after coming back, despite an individual purse of studies. Such cases are  very common and I know many students who had to repeat the entire semester after coming back from the exchange. In the ICE I was able to share my experience about the Erasmus+, but also about my ESN work. I met people who, like me, noticed that it is not all roses. I could also work in many working groups where I learned a lot of interesting things from many different areas. In addition, joining the ICE gave me the opportunity to present some of our doubts about the European Commission's Erasmus program. The ICE is a wonderful committee with wonderful, passionate people. For those people who do not know what the ICE is doing, I invite you to check out our Wiki or to participate in my Regional Platform sessions.


Is it possible to  reconcile being on the Erasmus exchange and being a Chair of the Committee? What was the biggest difficulty? Or maybe there wasn't any?

It is absolutely possible to reconcile those two things but it is not easy. The  biggest difficulty is always a lack of time.

Who do you think would be a good candidate for the ICE? Those interested in what  subjects or areas? Should such a person study anything specific?

The ICE is for every ESNer, no matter where in the organization structure they are at the moment. However, it is recommended to have more than the half of a year of experience in the section. The area of your studies is not important. It is important for the candidates to show their interest in education, mobility, empowerment, etc. While applying to the ICE you have to remember that the most important thing is to have a good cover letter and a nice resume. Nice means it can’t be written in a rush and we’ve received a lot of such documents during the open calls. Sometimes we felt ashamed that in such an organization as ESN we can send a CV basically illegible, without a specific structure and with language errors. Nevertheless, cover letter that shows your motivation is the most important. In the cover letter it would be the best to point out that you have a good attitude and your own opinions, experience connected with mobility or educational system or personal development. It is also important to show commitment to a specific topic. If the candidate sees any problem with Erasmus+ or the mobility it is worth mentioning it and expressing your opinion on the subject. Also if there is a specific area of ​​the ICE that a candidate is interested in or a specific project he or she should mention it in the cover letter.


Do you have any further plans for your career in ESN?

I do not know. We will see. ESN opens up a lot of development paths, but there are many other possibilities beyond that. I will decide what to do next when I know what the future holds

Categories: ESN Poland News

#myESNcareer: Agata Lech

Tue, 16/05/2017 - 18:18

When did you join the ESN? Why? What was your motivation?

I joined our section in November 2011. I found out about ESN thanks to the parties organised by ESN-EYE. By that time I already heard that Erasmus Students tend to create an amazing atmosphere. End those French guys…. The party was amazing, I conducted an investigation to find out who organised it, and then I decided to find out if my University has such an organisation too.


Breakthrough moment in your Newbie career?

Shortly after becoming a Newbie, my section received an additional spot for Upgrade in Białystok. After receiving a welcome pack I came around the ESN dictionary. The great amount of abreviations. All those events and Pallomeri. It was my first sight at ESN as an international organisation. At the same meeting I took part in training prepared by Ania Seweryn. Shortly after that training I decided I want to be like her someday.


General breakthrough moment in ESN?

I don’t have one breakthrough moment. My development in ESN is proceeding very slowly and in the most natural pace possible. Every single new experience comes right after another, but if I had to specify the most important moment, I think it would be taking over the function of local HR manager, and following that becoming a chair of HR committee and becoming a Eduk8 trainer.


What are you the most proud of in your ESN career?

Despite my strong motivation to work in ESN, being appreciated by the others makes me proud of my work the most. For example receiving an amazing souvenir from my committee during the presentation at National Platform in Lublin. I am very proud of that we were able to form a fantastic team with great work environment and do tasks assigned to HR Committee, I believe that it is a dream not only of every HR manager, but moreover a dream of every lider.


 Did you have any doubts ? What? When? Why? How did you deal with them?

Not always everything goes perfectly and you can do your best performance for couple of years straight. The first moment I recall is when I came back to Poland from my Erasmus exchange and I couldn’t find myself in my ESN section. Before I left I was in local board, after I came back I had to find my place in ESN all over again. During one semester I experienced being the ESNer focused on Erasmus students, and after that  I was already looking for some new responsibilities.

The next stage, when I was lacking motivation. There were moments when I didn't feel satisfied about my work in HR committee. What helped me then was meeting other members of the committee. I believe that working remotely can sometimes be difficult and unsatisfying, especially when you don’t know people you’re sharing your docs with ;)

I have to admit that before each UPGRADE I had sudden drops of my strength. It is a great project in which many things can happen. For couple of days I was convinced that after the Upgrade finishes, I will never undertake such a thing ever again. I think that for times like this the best remedy is the support from people from my surroundings, such as Ania, Upgrade trainers and both previous OC’s that I collaborated with in the past. Of course by the time that convention started,  all those negative emotions were already gone and I couldn’t wait for the next UPGRADE! This year I also had better and worse moments, but when Ania is a mentor of your board, it is really difficult to get stressed for a longer period of time. The support from KOPIKO is also invaluable.


How would you rate development of our association  during the time you are its member?

I joined ESN I in the same time when I started my studies so I did not only develop from ESN point of view but moreover throughout my whole academic career and semester abroad. Surely, I can say that I developed my soft-skill competencies, which I pursue to develop every single day, but I believe that I also acquire many hard-skill competences. Apart from those from my field which are connected with recruitment process and trainings, I also improved my technological competences, which are crucial for my current work. I also believe that a strong advantage is that my studies still encouraging me to pursue my ESN career. I often use my knowledge I acquire during my studies in my ESN work, and complement my academic knowledge with my experiences from ESN. If I had to name one capability I gained thanks to this organisation, it would surely be the broad meaning of leadership.


Do you find ESN experience useful in your work life or private life?

Of course! Work, Internship, apprenticeship.. all the chances I received due to my English language knowledge and my cool experiences in ESN I can put into my CV. I don’t remember single recruiter who didn’t ask me about that. Truth be told, recently the recruiter was more focused on my career work, but when it got to the interview with the manager, he was strongly interested in my ESN career, considering he knew all about ESN!


What ESN has changed in your life?

It would be easier to answer other way around. It didn’t change my fondness for sleeping, traveling and TV series. ESN convinced me to stop wasting my time of studying and motivated to start next studies. It gave me the idea for my future career, a chance of self-development, improving my experiences,  building my self confidence and stepping out of my comfort zone. It may sound a bit cliche, but thanks to ESN I met a lot of amazing, inspiring people.


What function did you have in ESN?

In my section I was a local HR, right after that I became a member of sectional Audit Committee, in which I am working with the fourth board now. Also for a year I was a local representative. In association I was a chair of HR committee and member of a development and research team (famous and mythical ZBiR!) Now I am also an Alumni coordinator. On an international level I am a member of HR and NEC ( i was working on e-learning platform) Eduk8 trainer


What was your biggest ESN failure, what didn’t you manage to achieve, even though you wanted to?

I have a whole list of unrealised ideas! But all the time I’m telling myself that maybe I can still do them. On the other hand, my biggest failure is not being able to use the potential of mentor program during its first edition.


If you could redo something in ESN, what would it be?

Training event! Mainly because it’s so much fun, and every single next training trip is better than the one before.


Where do you think you would be if it wasn’t from ESN?

I have a huge imagination, but it’s not that huge! It’s almost like doing something else with 20% of your life. If I had to chose, I would say that I would join AIESEC ;)


Were you prepared enough, when you were taking over your first function? Did you know what were you about to experience?

I am a coward, so if I agree to something it means that I feel well prepared to pursue it. With a clear conscience I can say that neither of functions I had disappointed me in any way. Paradoxically, my biggest sink or swim was taking over my present function of Alumni coordinator, strictly because this is a completely new matter for me.


What would you call nicest memory from your cadency?

Every single time when at ESN event we come around the ESN dance. It’s rather a small detail, but it gives me a strong feeling of affiliation to an amazing organisation!


Karolina Sikorska

Categories: ESN Poland News

Donor Day with ESN Poland

Sun, 14/05/2017 - 13:08
Erasmus Student Network is an organisation with the motto students helping students. However, our activities do not limit itself to international students, as proved by projects such as SocialErasmus or ExchangeAbility. We want to help everyone who needs help from volunteers.

In January this year, we established a partnership with the DKMS Poland Foundation, which aims to support those in need of physical, mental or emotional support, as well as promote science and research in stem cell transplantation and public health promotion. Thanks to the DKMS Foundation, people can help people with blood cancer by registering as potential bone marrow donors. ESN Poland promotes this activity, so, in agreement and with the support of the DKMS Poland Foundation, we organised Donor Day with ESN Poland at Polish Universities. Our goal was to raise awareness and knowledge about blood cancer (leukemia). We have provided information on how we can help fight this disease and we have registered potential bone marrow donors.

Between the 8th and 11th of May, we conducted Donor Day with ESN Poland at 22 universities in Poland. Every event had its’ own leader, who was responsible for the event at each university. Also, about 150 Erasmus Student Network volunteers helped with the event. Everybody interested had the opportunity to talk about the fight against blood cancer, they could learn more and dispel any doubts about becoming a donor. During these days, it was very important for us to face stereotypes that still negatively affect people’s objective view of being a bone marrow donor. Within a few days we managed to register over a thousand potential bone marrow donors!

We want everyone to be aware that leukemia can affect any one of us, regardless of age, gender or nationality, and help the person suffering from blood cancer is invaluable. We are not indifferent to show how much we care about helping those who need support.

Below is a list of people, without which this event would not have taken place:

UP (Wrocław) - Klaudia Buraczyńska
ESN UŚ (Katowice) - Anna Gurgul
ESN UW (Warsaw) - Justyna Astriap
ESN PK (Cracow) - Janusz Mączka
ESN UwB (Białystok) - Dominika Młynek
ESN-EYE (Łódź) - Adrian Piotrowski
ESSN UE (Katowice) - Helena Janik
ESN UŁ (Łódź) - Weronika Krawczyk
ESN UKW (Bydgoszcz) - Emil Stróżyk
ESSN ASP (Cracow) - Tomek Różak
ESN Gdańsk - Monika Wiśniewska
ESN LUT (Lublin) - Joanna Samulak
ESN Łazarski (Warsaw) - Joanna Kanabus
ESN PB (Białystok) - Anna Dąbrowska
ESN PW (Warsaw) - Martyna Kania
ESN SGGW (Warszawa) - Dominika Szymańska
ESN SUT (Gliwice) - Angelika Stadnikiewicz
ESN UAM (Poznań) - Paulina Fularczyk
ESN UEK (Cracow) - Agnieszka Mach
ESN UG (Gdańsk) - Monika Spychała
ESN UKSW (Warsaw) - Julia Cendrowska
ESN UMCS (Lublin) - Michał Chmielewski
ESN AGH (Cracow) - Hubert Put

Coordinator of the national level - Monika Milewska (ESN PK Cracow)

Categories: ESN Poland News

ESNplPolishFolklore: May 3rd - Polish Constitution Day

Tue, 02/05/2017 - 16:35

May 3rd Constitution Day [ pol. Święto Konstytucji 3 Maja] is a Polish national and public holiday, celebrated , as the name implies, on the 3rd of May, to commemorate some very important moment in the Polish history. ​

On May 3, 1791, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s constitution was adopted. It was the first constitution in modern Europe and second in the world, following the American one. Despite being in effect for only a year, until the Polish- Russian War  of 1972, The Constitution enactment is considered to be one of the most important achievements in the history of Poland.  May 3rd was established as  a national holiday just days after the Constitution was approved by Polish Parliament. It was later suspended for many years due to the country’s partitioning but was reinstituted after Poland regained its freedom in 1918.  After World War II, in 1946, the holiday’s public celebration was banned once more, this time by the communist authorities, to be finally reestablished after the fall of communism in 1990 . Since then it is annually celebrated as an official statutory holiday in Poland.

Constitution Day is a part of a holiday season known as Majówka, which also includes the May 1- Labour Day holiday. It is solemnly celebrated in every major Polish city with numerous parades, exhibitions , concerts and public figure speeches taking place that day. Everything is kept in a patriotic undertone in order to highlight the importance of the celebrated events for the Polish history. The main festivities take place in Warsaw with the presence of Polish President and other important dignitaries including our Prime Minister and Members of Parliament. The official programme begins with a celebratory mass in St. John’s Archcatherdal which is followed by the presidential awards for achievements in the field of advancing Polish culture. The whole splendour is added by cannon salvos, reading of the constitution preamble and singing a patriotic song from the November Uprising : „Witaj Majowa Jutrzenko” [ ang. Welcome , May Dawn] . The festivities are crowned with a big military parade that goes around the historical center of the city. After the parade, people gather at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier [ pol. Grób Nieznanego Żołnierza] which is a monument in Warsaw, dedicated to the unknown soldiers who have given their lives for Poland.

May 3rd Parade is also held in many other Polish cities so that everybody can join the celebration and see Polish people finally united and full of national pride with hundreds of patriotic flags hanging outside of their windows and balconies.
Jan Matejko, a famous Polish painter, painted a work of art May 3rd Constitution Day. You can see the picture in the background of our cover of the text. 

Joaana Zając

Categories: ESN Poland News

ESNplInterview: Patryk Borowski: From Freshman To PR Comittee

Mon, 24/04/2017 - 22:08

He is shy. He does not speak a lot but always ready for challenges. In ESN he is present prom October 2016 but the most part of our Society has chance to see his graphical talent. What is more interesting, he has found it out just a few days after joining our team.


Your ESN’s career is getting really quick. You participated in last October recruitment. Am I right?

In deed.


Are you on a first year of your grade and you have already decided to join ESN?

Yes, I did not see any sense in waiting with this decision.


So tell me, how did you find out about us?

A friend of mine told me about it before I started the university, so I decided to go on the first meeting with him.


To sum up, till October you have already been in OC of Council of Local Representatives in Białystok where you were PR. And all those frozen graphics are yours?

(laughing) Yes.


A bit after, you joined to PR Committee. Did I forget about something?

I was also at UPGRADE, of course as a praticipant. And on National Platform at Warsaw.


Maybe you will tell me that you are also a member of ESN PB board?

(Laughing) Not yet, but I will participate in elections for PR function. He is not present in this year council but I am sure that he is needed in.


It is sure that you are a really engaged in ESN’s life! But how is it possible? When you were going to the university, did you know that you would be a member of any student organization?

No. At the beginning, I joined a few clubs to see what they are really doing. I liked ESN the most. A lot of positive people around me.


As a new member, what is your best motivation?

First of all the fact that people enjoy my work. It gives me a motivation for further work.


And... Are you studing something related to graphics?

Not really... I am studding Computer Sciences. Anyway, I wish to make the progress in this branch also. For a while I was thinking about the change of my studies to something more relateg with graphical projects.


So what is your next ESN goal? Maybe ComCom? ;)

Not now. I will participate in local elections for PR function, and after that, we will see.


Looking forward from October, what has ESN gave you already?

Hmm.. A lot of contacts and friendships for ages, and of course experiences. I have learned how to create partnership offers but first of all how to do the graphics using Photoshop because I have never do that before ESN.


Is there any one in your local section, who learn you how to Photoshop?

No, I am self-taught. I have learneg it via YouTube.


So how the idea of doing the grafics by you was born if you have never do them before?

It was the closest thing to the topic, I’m acctually in. I like drawing, painting, creating. It was my own decision to join PR Committee.


What do you like the most in our Society?

I do not want to repeat but I think those are people, the organization system and all what you can learn in here.


Interwiev: Izabela Szczerba

Trad: Emily Moazk

Categories: ESN Poland News

Polish Folklore: Easter

Fri, 14/04/2017 - 22:28

Full of traditions, the most important Christan Holiday, colorful and of course, days we enjoy delicious food in the past used to be the most awaited ones. After 40 days of fasting finally there’s time for joy and happiness. Altough, customs and religious traditions of Easter vary among countries, some of them are the same. especially those related to the Holy Week.

The most popular ones – Easter Monday, Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs – are only a small part of Easter traditions. A few days or even weeks before there’s time for springtime cleaning. In a past people were cleaning their houses as well as make them souls pure. They wanted to be clean right before Palm Sunday to start Holy Week without any sins.

Easter Saturday/Good Saturday, one day before the Resurrection, is the day of blessing Easter food. Every region in Poland has their own custom of what to put inside Easter Basket, but the most important are eggs, bread, salt, sausage and, of course, Easter lamb. Blessed Easter food is to be eaten during breakfast on Easter Sunday.

An egg – one of the most important symbols of Easter – the symbol of life. Eggs are not only a food – it’s also a decoration of Easter table. The easiest way to dye eggs is to boil them in a water with onion peelings or spinach. The tradition says that people suppose to share blessed eggs during Sunday’s breakfast.

The most joyful and important day – Easter Sunday – starts at dawn. People are going to the church to attend to Easter mass. After mass there’s right time to eat Easter breakfast – full of food (the most important – ham, sausages, eggs). After fasting since Friday, it’s the best breakfast during the year! The table has to be covered with white tablecloth and decorated by boxwood. Easter in Poland is not really about gifts, but kids still have an opportunity to get some small presents. They have to find small packages left by Easter Bunny.

At the end of Easter, there’s the most popular day/ tradition in Poland – Wet Monday. The day when everybody’s wet, but the tradition says that only girls are supposed to be. The more soaked with water girl, the faster she supposed to get married.

During Easter the nature is going back to life after winter, days are more sunny and it’s getting warmer. It all makes Easter the most coloful and traditional time of the year. It’s a time when catholic’s are thinking about Jesus’ ressurection and after Easter Sunday they’re happy, because Jesus is alive! But we can’t forget that Easter, as every time of Holiday, is the time for our families, so we supposed to spend this time together and avoid those moments which ruins joyful Holiday’s atmosphere.

Categories: ESN Poland News

ESNplInterview: Szymon Semper: Let’s become a Vice President! Because, why not?

Tue, 11/04/2017 - 18:27

Almost every ESNer knows him well, it’s because he is a Vice President of ESN PL. Thanks to that he also met plenty of interesting people. But how did it happen that Szymon decided to take up a position which made him experience ESN from a totally different perspective ? Did he use to dream about it for a long time or was it just a spontaneous decision?


A decision to become a Vice President of such a big organisation as ESN Poland couldn’t be made just overnight.  Tell us then, what convinced you to  run for a Board Member position?

In my case, the situation was not that clear at the beginning. During the whole year before taking up the position I was not very active on the national level. I was mainly busy with my work and studies. In fact, my appearance as a presidium member during the National Platform ( NP) in Lublin was rather a farewell gesture towards ESN. My plan was to slowly resign from ESN committees and devote myself to writing a thesis and searching for a dream job. However, as it turned out later, it is not that easy to say goodbye to ESN.

During the National Platform there was no candidate for the Vice President function which surprised me a lot since in my opinion it is one of the most attractive position. That was the time when I first considered myself as a potential candidate and this though developed gradually in my head till NWZD ( Special General Delegates’ Meeting) which was held in Warsaw.


Weren’t you afraid that the Board that was incomplete after the NP might have encountered some executive functioning issues?

No, I wasn’t. I knew already who I was going to work with and that knowledge encouraged me even more to run for the position.


From the time perspective, how would you evaluate your decision? Did your expectations meet reality or did you encounter any unforeseen difficulties?

To be honest, I expected the first weeks to be really tough and was simply afraid of that. In fact, it occurred to be not that bad. It’s not like everything lands on your hands all at once and you are left alone with it. You are surrounded by people who are always willing to help you, give you a good advice or simply show how the things work. After all, summer time is not very demanding when it comes to ESNer work so that you can smoothly come in terms with the upcoming responsibilities.

 At the end of each cadence the outgoing Board Members are usually asked whether they  would go for it one more time. To answer the question, yes I would! The reason why is that being a Vice President of ESN PL turned out to be an incredible adventure which I strongly recommend to everybody!


Did you talk to somebody before making a final decision ? If yes, who was that?

You know..I was rather encouraged by others to run in the elections. However, I tried to asked for an advice people more experienced in ESN than I was, people who I was good friends with. I just needed to feel more confident with myself and the fact that many people believed in me gave me the most strength.


Did you receive a positive feedback? Or maybe it happened to bring you any doubts?

Not really. I mean, the biggest doubt was the fact that nobody wanted to run for the position at the beginning. So that, I was asking myself whether they were encouraging me only because somebody had perform the function or because I was actually a good candidate( laughing). In general, to whoever I turned asking for an advice I always received 100% of support.  


I’m sure that many people would like to know how your life changed after you became a Vice President. Or maybe the changes were not that significant?

First of all, you need to realize that when you work for ESN especially at such an important position, your life gets somehow subordinated to that. There are deadlines and duties that cannot be ignored, sometimes even regardless of holidays. In my case, that was the reason why I decided to quit my job. I was simply not able to combine it with university due to the lack of time. The things I’ve mentioned above could be perceived as a negative aspect of my function however I don’t see it this way.

When it comes to the positive side, it would be definitely an opportunity to meet a bunch of great people , opportunity to travel. Plus, you can learn a lot and I’m talking not only about knowledge that comes from the formal duties. You learn also some useful stuff that is related to PR, IT , law or Higher Education policy. It expands your horizons. Then, come good organizational skills and ability to cooperate with others which is what you have to learn. Another thing is that you will be expected to make decisions which are not always that easy. Especially when opinions are divided within the group and you have to reach a consensus.


What did you gain from being a Vice President of ESN PL? 

I would say.. self confidence. If you asked me whether I’d like to run for this position, as far as last year I would say “no way” without a consideration. Why? Because I had certain plans, I knew what to do with my life and the Board - it was something out of reach for me.    As it occurred, I was wrong. ESN may not be a big corporation however it definitely is a huge and significant student organisation  which gives plenty of benefits for its volunteers. Last but not least, you can learn a lot about yourself. As I’ve mentioned already ESN gave me a boost of confidence and made me believe in myself.


Are you planning to go further in your ESN career or slowly leave the stage?

I was a member of ESN Network Committee for two years which I can call a very inspiring and productive time. Right now I’m already an Alumnus of the Committee. When it comes to ESN International I don’t see any possible development paths for myself either. I mean there are plenty of them, but the ones directly related to my professional career plans are slowly coming to an end. I think I’d rather offer my good advice and helping hand to ESN community. 


Besides volunteering in ESN, what are the things Szymon Semper likes to do in life?

I like staying awake till late hours and then sleep a lot. I like watching Italian, French or English movies in small, noncommercial cinemas. And I love my studies! ( laughing) It is because  they deal with and are  focused on people who are my another passion, by the way. To the point that sometimes I even listen to some random conversations in the public transport. I enjoy good craft beers, long walks and lying on the grass beside the Vistula River. I also like  exploring old tenements, especially the ones that are forbidden to enter ( laughing). And Italy! That country fascinates me and I’d love to find a job and live there for some time. I don’t think I have any special talents. I’d rather admire other people’s work than create things myself.  However, what I find pleasurable is writing, academic writing.


Are you trying to say that writing a Bachelor Thesis was  kind of a pleasure for you?

At some point, yes. Maybe it’s  because of the fact that I like building long and complex sentences.

Categories: ESN Poland News