Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is one of the biggest interdisciplinary student associations in Europe, founded in 1989 for supporting and developing student exchange.
We are present in over 500 Higher Education Institutions from all over the world. The network is constantly developing and expanding.
ESN is working in Higher Education (HE):
- offering services to 150.000 students,
- mainly on a volunteer basis,
- with an average annual growth rate of 12,3% since 1990.
ESN is operating on three levels: local, national and international.
ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing the student exchange on different levels, and providing an intercultural experience also to those students who cannot access a period abroad ("internationalisation at home").
Aims / Principles
In synthesis, ESN:
- 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,
- cares about its members,
- values volunteering and active citizenship.
Who are we for?
The students who are returning from exchange are being supported in 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 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, buddy group and language projects and international food fests 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 to different cultures.
Finally, ESN International is developing, from the Headquarters in Brussels, ambitious projects such as the Survey on the exchange students' rights or the ESNCard.
(from ESN International)