The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest student associations in Europe. It was born on the 16th October 1989 and legally registered in 1990 for supporting and developing student exchange.
We are present in more than 1000 Higher Education Institutions from 42 countries. The network is constantly developing and expanding. We have around 15.000 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.
ESN is working in Higher Education (HE):
- offering services to 350.000 students
- 15.000 active members (40.000 with the buddies included)
- mainly on a volunteer basis
- with an average annual growth rate of 12% since 2005
ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing the student exchange from 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
The students who are returning from 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 future exchange students to gain international experience and gain relevant insight into different cultures.
The values of the Erasmus Student Network that all members stand and work for are:
- unity in diversity, diversity in the unity (we all have different backgrounds, but share one common aim and goal),
- students helping students (we passionately commit ourselves to volunteer for the benefits of others),
- fun in friendship and respect (we enjoy relations based on respect),
- the international dimension of the life (we are open-minded, mobile, like to discover and explore, to co-operate and to interact to break borders),
- love for Europe as an area of peace and cultural exchange (we live and benefit from the cultural richness of Europe to the utmost),
- openness with tolerance (we understand and accept others and learn from them), cooperation in the integration (we share a holistic view towards internationality).