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The Social Dimension of Erasmus+: Integration Through Volunteering

Tue, 07/06/2016 - 16:55

On Friday 24th June 2016, the Erasmus Student Network will host a conference in Brussels under the theme The Social Dimension of Erasmus+: Integration Through Volunteering.

Underlying the theme is the belief that the Erasmus+ experience has the possibility to foster active citizenship, hereby shaping a better future through the generation of young people who have lived the great adventure of mobility.

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has been working hard to fulfill this vision by developing SocialErasmus, a project that aims to enrich the international experiences of young people abroad through volunteering activities that allow them to get to know other realities and learn how they can contribute to improving society as citizens of the world.

Taking this project as a reference, this event will provide a space where it will be possible to learn, exchange ideas and come up with concrete conclusions on what organisations involved with Erasmus+ programme can do to involve young citizens during their mobility experience through volunteering activities that take social action, fostering change in the society.

This event aims to highlight the importance of the Erasmus+ programme not only for its participants but also to the local communities and societies. Through this event, youth organisations involved with Erasmus+ will have the chance to discuss the added value of volunteering to this programme.

Registration for the conference (24th June, 9am to 2pm) is now open through the following link. Attendance is free-of-charge and includes lunch. The deadline for registrations is 13th May.

Register Here!

For more information, contact Gaffar Rampage, ESN AISBL Communication Manager at

Categories: ESN International

Section in the Spotlight: ESN Joensuu

Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:03

Here’s a bit of trivia for you: In which European country are all the flats and rooms literally empty when you rent them? If you’re Finnish or have a good mind for useless information, then you’ve probably guessed it: Finland!

So get this: Erasmus students come to their new beloved apartment only to see it bare as the day it was built. Yikes! If only there was someone who would take them to a furniture shop so they could buy a bed! If there was anyone who could help!

Luckily, there is.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hold your horses. We’re about to visit ESN Joensuu: the June 2016 Section in The Spotlight!

So, have you ever thought about organising an ESN trip to IKEA? Well, these guys did, and for all the right reasons! As stated before, all rooms and flats in Finland are empty when they are rented, so the kind folks at ESN Joensuu offer their help by organising trips to furniture shops to make their Erasmus students’ lives just a little bit easier. Clever, huh?

But let’s backtrack a bit. ESN Joensuu has been around a whopping 14 years, and has managed to do some pretty impressive things along the way. First off, ESN Joensuu can teach us a thing or two about multiculturalism, as its members represent 12 different nationalities. They’re often engaged in showing Erasmus students the Cultural aspect of living in Finland, like through the “Survive Winter in Finland” event, where Erasmus students have the opportunity of taking ice baths. Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.

ESN Joensuu are also very eager to mingle with the locals too. The “Market of Possibilities” and “Colour Festival” (The latter being a flagship of ESN Joensuu) are prime examples of events organised by members of ESN Joensuu which are often visited by the local population.

Another interesting thing about ESN Joensuu is that they hold elections for not only two, but three boards per academic year. The reasoning for this is surprisingly logical.

“Having 3 boards throughout the year allows International Students to join the Board and be very active in our activity, which makes total sense in terms of knowing what exchange students want and also increases their participation”

Members of ESN Joensuu also hold a special place for ExchangeAbility and SocialErasmus projects in their hearts. They carried out the mapping of their university, and held a couple of different events, such as Social Inclusion and Equality Friday (both scaled-down versions of events organised by ESN Finland).

What is most striking about ESN Joensuu is their attitude towards Exchange students. The vast majority of events organised by ESN Joensuu are, putting it their own words:

“Cultural events that are meaningful and not just focusing on partying.”

It’s this attitude of a truly multicultural, friendly and original way of working together that has put them into the spotlight this month. Keep on rocking!

by Chris Ptasiński

Categories: ESN International

ESN reacts to Eurobarometer 2016

Thu, 19/05/2016 - 14:00

The latest Eurobarometer report, European Youth in 2016, shows worrying trends concerning the mobility of young people. The survey conducted among 10,294 young Europeans aged 16-30 in the 28 Member States revealed that a striking 61% of respondents are not interested in intra-EU mobility for training, education or professional purposes. This is a significant increase compared to the 2011 EU Flash Barometer Youth on the Move which indicated that a mere 37% of non-mobile young people showed a lack of interest.

The increasing disinterest for learning, training or profession in a different country revealed by the survey is worrying, to say the least. In a crisis-shaken Europe, these alarming figures must be addressed by all those in power to act. Europe is suffering an identity crisis, a democratic crisis and an economic crisis. Political answers to these crises must take into account young people’s future well-being and opportunities.

“We believe the apparent lack of interest shown by the Eurobarometer is rather a lack of proper information regarding the available opportunities and the benefits of mobility for young people. This is particularly true for young people with less opportunities. These young people needs to be addressed by decision-makers urgently.”

Safi Sabuni, President of ESN International.

The Eurobarometer shows that only 12% of young Europeans have experienced professional or learning mobility within the EU. This is in line with the EU Youth Report 2015, which showed that only 9% of young Europeans aged 15-24 had experienced learning mobility. Mobility for all is still very far away from the reality of most young Europeans.

Learning and professional mobility is a powerful tool to develop a strong sense of European citizenship, to encourage multicultural understanding and tolerance, to foster active democratic participation in all its forms and to develop a wide range of skills young people need to thrive as professionals and active citizens in increasingly complex societies.

“The Erasmus Impact Study leaves no doubt about the direct individual benefits of mobility on employment, multicultural abilities and a wide range of transversal skills. The only conclusion to draw is that it is time to make the Erasmus Generation really happen!”, adds Safi Sabuni.

Investments in accessible and high-quality mobility of young people are part of a solution to the current crisis Europe is facing. Long-term and short-term, volunteering, studying, training and professional mobility opportunities should be made available to all young people in order to reflect the diversity of their needs and aspirations. ESN calls on all institutions, at the European and Member States’ level, to renew and strengthen their commitments to international mobility. From the accessibility, diversity and quality of available opportunities to the promotion, support and information provided to young people about these opportunities and their benefits. 

It is becoming essential for the future of Europe to achieve mobility for all. Adequate support, including empowerment of youth-led associations, should be provisioned in order to ensure all mobility experiences are quality ones, delivering the promised results and creating a systemic impact on youth.

ESN commits to continue to promote, support and facilitate student mobility by providing quality services and representation, through collaboration with all stakeholders involved, for more mobility and better mobility for all.

Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a non-profit international student organisation. Our mission is to represent international students, thus provide opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students. ESN mobilises more than 13.500 members from 500 local associations in 38 countries working on a volunteer basis in Higher Education Institutions. We offer services to 180.000 students.

Categories: ESN International

ESN welcomes new Visa Directive

Fri, 13/05/2016 - 13:03

On Tuesday (11th May) the European Parliament approved new rules for the Visa permits of third-world non-EU students, interns and researchers.

The Visa Directive has been a long process in which ESN has been active advocating for the importance of improving the conditions for non-EU students, volunteers, interns and researchers in Europe. On Tuesday the new directive was adopted with improved conditions for students from third-world countries to enter and stay in Europe. The new rules merge two previous directives, one on students and one on researchers and now states:

  • students and researchers may stay at least nine months after finishing their studies or research in order to look for a job or to set up a business, which should also ensure that Europe benefits from their skills;
  • students and researchers may move more easily within the EU during their stay. In future, they will not need to file a new visa application, but only to notify the member state to which they are moving, for example to do a one-semester exchange. Researchers will also be able to move for longer periods than those currently allowed;
  • researchers have the right to bring their family members with them and these family members are entitled to work during their stay in Europe; and
  • students have the right to work at least 15 hours a week.

(European Parliament 20160512)

We believe this is a great step in the right direction. Youth mobility and intercultural exchange in education is of vital importance in creating inclusive societies based on cultural understanding and diversity. It facilitates the process and encourages young people from across the world to take the opportunity to travel and learn abroad.

The directive is, however, lacking a provision for non-EVS volunteers, where Member States themselves can choose whether to adopt the same conditions for non-EVS volunteers or not. As a Network built on 15,000 volunteers in 38 countries in Europe, we urge Member States to ensure that they implement the same conditions for all volunteers and pupils. Volunteering itself is an act of solidarity that fosters a spirit of understanding and respect - it contributes as much to society as students and researchers do, and should be seen to have the same importance in the process of adopting the new directive.

Read more on the Visa Directive through the following links:
European Parliament | European Youth Forum

Categories: ESN International

SocialErasmus Week Spring 2016

Mon, 02/05/2016 - 13:43

Between 2nd and 8th May 2016, the sections of Erasmus Student Network (ESN) will organise volunteering activities that have a social impact under the umbrella of SocialErasmus Week Spring 2016, a biannual celebration of the SocialErasmus project.

SocialErasmus is an international project developed in Poland in 2009, that became recognised internationally by the network in 2010. The project was created with the purpose of involving international youth in their local communities by volunteering in their host countries and contributing to the surrounding society. In order to better show the social impact of the project, all ESN sections are invited to organise activities in the same timeframe, twice per year, in what it is known as SocialErasmus Week.

SocialErasmus promotes a social attitude among international students and facilitates their social integration into the local community while exploring the added value that resides in Europe's diversity. Besides this, international volunteers have a better chance to expand their knowledge of other cultures and educational systems and to have a first-hand experience with locals. Through their engagement, students enrich their curricula, gain experiences, knowledge, understanding, and a sense of appreciation for Europe. Also, they show others that mobility does not only consist of travelling or studying abroad, but also active engagement.

ESN sections are encouraged to organise their best and most innovative SocialErasmus activities this week. During this edition, the focus is on the importance of the social impact international volunteers have upon the local communities. Even though they are not wearing capes, the volunteers are seen as heroes. They dedicate their time to make a difference in the societies they are in and to make life easier for the people around them. The activities are open for everyone who wants to give something back and to leave his/her mark in the surrounding community.

Follow the event on social media with the hashtags #SocialErasmus, #SocialErasmusWeek and #LeaveYourMark!

For more information about SocialErasmus Week Spring 2016, please visit the Facebook event. More information on the SocialErasmus project can be found on

Categories: ESN International

Section in the Spotlight: ESN Split

Sun, 01/05/2016 - 10:48
We hope you are ready to squeeze back into your swimsuits because this month we are travelling to the sunny Croatian coast. Close your eyes and imagine the sound of sea waves as you welcome Section in the Spotlight of May: ESN Split!   Their journey began in 2012 when they were accepted as a member section of ESN Croatia at the National Platform in Zadar, followed by receiving the official certificate of membership at AGM Maribor 2013.    ESN Split has an impressive internal structure. Currently, the section counts 50 members and each of those members plays an integral role in the work they do. Every candidate member has to hand in a CV and fill in an Application Form which the Local Board later reviews in order to decide if the candidate should become a regular member. After they have been accepted, new members experience a teambuilding event called Integration Day where they learn about how ESN is structured, from the local to the national and international levels. Speaking of their Local Board, they are divided in two parts: Presidency, which consists of the President, Vice-President and the Secretary, and Local Coordinators who each lead their own teams of 3-10 people. Fun fact - their current PR Manager did his Erasmus exchange in Split, and later decided to continue studying in their town and join their ESN section!   While a good relationship with the International Office secures funds for ESN events, they mainly fund themselves by selling ESNcards. However, they are in the process of applying for city funds in order to expand the scope of their activities, and they are still awaiting the results of two projects that have been written with their neighbouring section, ESN Dubrovnik. Thumbs up for section cooperation!   ESN Split celebrates its fourth birthday this year, and they say this is their most successful year so far. We can confirm that just by looking at all the creative events they organise for their Erasmus students: varying from theme parties to cultural activities and field trips. Apart from being successful with international students, they are also successful in engaging their local community. Their flagship project, “You’re a student? Travel!”, shows a successful cooperation with another NGO in their district, Square of Youth Kaštela. They have also established good cooperations with other associations, especially when it comes to implementing international ESN projects. It seems that ESN Split is slowly mov’in to the stars!   While we are on the subject of international ESN projects, this section loves implementing them! They are successful at organising SocialErasmus Week, participating in national events and organising at least one SocialErasmus activity each month. This year they have managed to raise the number of ESNcard partners from 13 to 25, received a “Mov’in Activity of the Month” recognition for one of their Mov’in Europe activities in January, and received an award, given by their National Board, for the best Responsible Party organised.

They are also presented at the national level of ESN Croatia - one of their members holds the position of Treasurer in the National Board, and the other is a National IEG Coordinator. As they grow, they aspire to send more people to the national and, possibly, international level. Their members are always present at national and international events, and they hope to serve as the Organising Committee of an international event in the near future.


ESN Split takes pride in how close they are to their Erasmus students - they are interested in making long-term friendships, not time-limited gatherings that originate from necessity.    “Even Erasmus student often say that we live Erasmus with them.”   There’s only one way to describe ESN Split’s current situation - they are going places!   by Tajana Mohnacki
Categories: ESN International

Open Call: Web Developer

Thu, 21/04/2016 - 14:38

Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the largest student network in Europe with its international headquarters in Brussels. ESN is present in nearly 500 Higher Education Institutions in 38 countries. ESN has been supporting student mobility since 1989 and conducts transnational surveys and research projects focused on mobility and the internationalisation of higher education and student accommodation.

ESN is looking for a Web Developer to join the Secretariat in Brussels.

Required skills and experience

  • Background in computer science, engineering or related fields
  • Experience with Drupal and module development
  • Knowledge of PHP, HTML(5), CSS(3), JavaScript/jQuery

Main tasks and responsibilities

  • Developing a Drupal-based online platform
  • Writing project documentation
  • Assisting the Web Projects Administrator office with IT-related tasks

Terms and conditions

  • Full-time position
  • One-year contract from May 2016
  • Transport costs partly covered and health insurance in Brussels covered

Why work at the ESN Headquarters

  • Casual, friendly, multicultural environment
  • Professional web development environment
  • Work using latest technologies and tools on web development

For a more details, please refer to the PDF attached. 

To apply, please send your motivation letter and CV to by Wednesday 4th of May 2016 23:59 CET. Please use the subject line "Web Developer". Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions regarding the position.

Attachment Files:  2016 04 Open Call Web Developer.pdf
Categories: ESN International

21st April: ExchangeAbility Day!

Wed, 20/04/2016 - 17:25

On April 21st, the Erasmus Student Network will rally volunteers from its 500 sections in celebration of ExchangeAbility Day 2016.

ExchangeAbility Day is a new initiative of the ExchangeAbility project that will bring Europe together through events and activities that raise awareness about obstacles faced daily by students with disabilities. The initiative also aims to promote mobility to students with disabilities.

Studying abroad is becoming more popular and an ever increasing amount of students go on a student exchange every year. However, when it comes to students with disabilities, the numbers are not increasing at the same rate. That is why the Erasmus Student Network believes that it is high time to improve the conditions for these students. A parallel goal of the project is to make ESN more inclusive and accessible as an organisation.

On ExchangeAbility Day, ESN sections from all around Europe will organise events and activities under the ExchangeAbility project, focusing this year on the topic of accessibility. As a follow-up of this day a social media campaign entitled 'What is accessibility for you?' will be organised on April 24th to raise awareness on this topic. ESN volunteers and Erasmus+ students are encouraged to post photos or short videos explaining what accessibility means to them. The aim of the ampaign is to raise awareness about accessibility and its importance for the inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream culture.

ExchangeAbility Day 2016 is set to prepare the Network for the year 2016-2017, when it assumes the status of Flagship Project of the Erasmus Student Network. To follow the event, use the hashtags #ExchangeAbilityDay, #WhatIsAccessibility and #THISisESN.

Categories: ESN International

Open Call: Web Developer Internship

Wed, 20/04/2016 - 14:53

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest student organisation in Europe. It was founded in 1989, with the aim to support and develop student mobility. Every year, ESN maintains and develops several IT tools such as its intranet ESN Galaxy and its webpage template ESN Satellite.

ESN is looking for a Web Developer Intern, so if you are a student or recent graduate in a related field,  send us your CV and motivation letter stating why you want to work on the web projects of ESN at the international headquarters (Rue Hydraulique 15, 1210 Brussels).

Terms and conditions
  • Internship for a duration of 6 months
  • The successful applicant should start ideally as soon as possible
  • Must have an Erasmus Placement or any Internship Agreement
  • Accommodation at the ESN house in Brussels is provided
  • Transport costs in Brussels are covered 
Required skills and experience
  • Experience with Drupal
  • Structured and reliable way of working
  • Background in computer science, engineering or similar
  • Interest in web development
  • Knowledge of HTML and CSS
  • Basic knowledge of PHP (advanced knowledge is a plus)
  • Knowledge of MySQL is a plus
  • Knowledge of git is a plus
  • Knowledge of Drupal module development is a plus
  • Knowledge of ESN’s projects and especially its web projects is a plus
Main tasks and responsibilities
  • Concretise the functional design of a web project
  • Develop a web platform with Drupal
  • Assist the IT Committee*
  • Assist the office with IT related tasks
  • Assist the Web Project Administrator
  • Write project documentation

To apply, please send a short motivation letter and CV to by Wednesday 4th May 2016 23:59 CET. Interviews (via Skype) will be conducted the following week with the shortlisted applicants.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions regarding the position.

*The IT Committee of ESN, which works closely with the Web Project Administrator, aims at strengthening the organisation by developing IT systems for the whole network and providing assistance and advice about technological matters in general.

Attachment Files:  2016 04 Open Call Web Developer Intern.pdf
Categories: ESN International

Be our new neighbour

Fri, 15/04/2016 - 13:35

A nice (net)working place for organisations active in the field of HE and in an awesome place which is well located, with easy access to the European Commission, European Parliament and public transportation (2min walk to Maalbeek, 3 min walk to Schuman).

Both ESN and European University Foundation as organisations active in the field of youth and Higher Education already being in the building. We’re looking to host: NGOs active in the field of youth and HE, Innovative (social) start-ups, representation offices in Brussels.

120 Rue Joseph II, 1000 Bruxelles
Two newly renovated office rooms of 22,6m2 and 20,8m2
Approximately 1700€ including all charges A few minutes’ walk from metro stations Maelbeek and Schuman
Walking distance to both European Commission and European Parliament Access to common area and meeting rooms
Friendly neighbours and NGO environment
Moving in: early July 2016

For more information: and

Attachment Files:  Be our new neighbour.pdf
Categories: ESN International

Students’ verdicts on university teaching revealed in U-Multirank survey

Fri, 08/04/2016 - 08:08

U-Multirank, the largest global university ranking tool, will today give a voice to students by revealing the universities they have rated satisfactory for teaching and learning.

Based on a survey exclusive to U-Multirank of over 105,000 students around the world who have rated their own study programmes, the announcement will be made at today’s Annual General Meeting of the Erasmus Student Network in Warsaw, Poland. 

These findings are drawn from the annual student survey conducted by U-Multirank as part of its exhaustive research into ‘learning and teaching’, just one of the five ‘dimensions’ or areas of performance by which it measures more than 1,300 universities in over 90 countries around the world. By splitting performance into these dimensions, U-Multirank can reveal the diverse strengths that different universities offer whether in learning experience, research, internationalisation or social and economic impact. This provides students with a much richer picture of excellence from traditional rankingsthat focus on research reputation. 

Safi Sabuni, president of ESN, welcomed the latest edition of U-Multirank:

“With its multi-dimensional approach, U-Multirank gives a voice to students for students. There is a real need for university comparisons that look across all different aspects of performance excellence, whether it’s internationalisation or teaching and learning, especially given the increasing number of mobile students.” 

The fourth U-Multirank rankings will be released in 2017. Institutions that would like to participate can express their interest on the U-Multirank website

Categories: ESN International

When a hobby turns into a life-changing experience

Tue, 05/04/2016 - 12:35

ESN changes lives every day. The number of new, inspiring people you meet and the range of activities and enthusiasm turn your life around so much that you can’t imagine leaving all of that behind one day.

Stanislav Staněk is a great example of how volunteering can change your life. He was an active member in ESN until the end of 2015, and during his time in the organisation, he was the president of ESN Czech Republic, a workshop coordinator and an Eduk8er. His work in the network was inspiring for many members who came after him. While finishing his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and working as a teacher and a researcher at the university may be his priorities at the moment, he admits that his career in ESN made non-formal education a more appealing field to him and that he plans to steer his future in that direction.

“I realized that empowering people through nonformal education is the most rewarding activity and I will forever be grateful to ESN for helping me discover it.”

ESN exceeded his expectations in an unimaginable way because it offers much more than meets the eye. There is so much space for personal growth and the most difficult part is to choose the right path for yourself―he says that creating an environment where young people can grow and gain valuable skills for their future shifted his point of view and opened his mind. Also, being part of a community that is creating something really beautiful and meaningful is simply magical.

He claims that ESN changed his life for the better―it pushed his boundaries in many ways, which helped him grow personally. When it comes to learning experiences, he says that he had learned a lot about communication and team cooperation, and something more about being open-minded and tolerant.

Being in ESN also gave him a chance to learn about other cultures and travel to different countries. Since his first experience in Liège, Belgium, he knew that the Eduk8 project is the right thing for him, and the training in Cluj-Napoca, Romania rocked his world even more. He realised that that is what he wants to do in life, and to this day he cherishes it as his most valuable ESN-related experience.

We are all very well acquainted with formal learning and all of its advantages and disadvantages, but ESN allows us to bash in all the glory of informal learning. We experience the teachings and skills development in a different way and, in return, our life adapts a different shape.


Categories: ESN International

Launch of the ESNblog

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 17:33

Today marks the launch of the ESNblog, a brand new platform by the Erasmus Student Network, catering to Erasmus+ exchange and internationally minded students and youth. With content specially tailored for an international audience, the ESNblog will serve weekly doses of informative as well as entertaining articles to help you make the most of your mobile lifestyle.

As part of the launch, the Erasmus Student Network has published a series of articles for Erasmus students - with topics from how to make the most of your Erasmus+ experience, to the top destinations for Erasmus students.

Visit the ESNblog now - the voice of the Erasmus generation!

Categories: ESN International

Section in the Spotlight: ESN Timisoara

Thu, 31/03/2016 - 16:31

We think it's prime time we leave Poland and see the other municipal beauties ESN’s network has to offer. Let’s hit the road to the scenic Timisoara where we can find this month’s Section in the Spotlight. Let’s all give a round of applause to ESN Timisoara!

Being founded only back in 2011, ESN Timisoara is a relatively new section, yet they already have had a significant impact on the network, starting off with organising the National Boards Meeting in 2013 to the Eduk8 Starter just last month. As you can see, these guys don’t rest on any laurels!

In terms of flagship projects, ESN Timisoara organises something truly special. In the true spirit of students helping others, ESN members and Erasmus students alike work together creating beautiful trinkets, which in turn are sold to obtain enough funds to support children in local foster homes. This lovely project has already been recognised by ESN international and has been awarded with a Star Award in 2015!

Their originality and desire to help others is not limited to just one great event. Just last christmas they launched yet another project called “Santa’s little helpers”, where homemade decorations were sold to raise enough money to buy presents for the local orphanages. It looks like SocialErasmus has a special place in these guys’ hearts!

What really makes these folks special is not necessarily just their eagerness to share ESN’s values but the way they treat each other.

“Our section is not just a team, but a family with goods and bads, we work together to greater deeds.”

This family spirit is what propels this section into a league of their own. A team may accomplish any given task, but a family will stay together, regardless of the situation and leave no woman or man behind. Members of ESN Timisoara put this ideology into practice when they organised The Eduk8 Starter. As many sections know, organising a multinational event creates enough stressful situations for a couple life spans. ESN Timisoara were put to the test during this event, but because of their teamwork, commitment and family-orientated attitude they prevailed together!

This family spirit is accentuated by the fact that each year the local board organises a three day training camp where members have a chance to embrace ESN’s values and join the family.

In many ways ESN Timisoara does not meet our expectations of a section worthy of the Section in the Spotlight Award, it exceeds them. Seldom do we encounter a section so eager to do more despite having done so much in such a little amount of time. Their ambitions to excel above others while maintaining traditional values such as treating each other like one big family really gives ESN Timisoara that special shine which makes them this month’s winner. ESN Timisoara, we salute you, and wish you all the best in the future.

by Chris Ptasinski

Categories: ESN International

A Volunteer’s CV - how to get it right

Tue, 29/03/2016 - 12:51

Sure, you’ve seen these articles before: “10 tips on writing a successful CV”, “Top tips for writing a perfect CV”, and all the others. And we truly hope you’ve read them, we’re not here to tell you you have to do it completely differently. What we want to show you is how you can make your volunteering experience boost that already amazing document describing who you are in the big world.

Let’s get it going, here are the do’s and don’t’s of a volunteer’s CV.

Volunteering can be work experience

We couldn’t stress this one out enough. Although many CV frameworks say that volunteering is a separate block in a CV, what matters in the end is what you’ve been doing. And what you’ve been doing is giving you the skills and experience that is needed in the big world. Have you lead a team of people? That is a work experience just like any other job, don’t underestimate yourself. Have you dealt with customers or organised events? These are the skills that might give you the extra edge you’ll need!

Don’t overthink the structure

A good CV is a simple CV. There are so many “creative” CV out there, however, think about if you find what you need in those. Imagine you’re reading 20 CVs a day—if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the first 5 seconds it’s most probably going to trash. Keep it simple is the general rule, just like with so many other things. Intro, work experience, education, skills & languages, and interests do the trick in 99% of the cases. One block below each other, just like we are used to read. No need to challenge Monet’s painting with what needs to clear and readable.

Make it look good

Readable is actually the key word in here. Make sure you adjust the CV to the medium you’re sending it in. Is it a printed CV? Invest in some quality paper. Are you sending it via email? Save it as a .pdf file to make sure it looks the same on every computer. What about the design? You don’t have to be an award-winning graphic designer to make your CV look good. Read a little bit about typography. Think about what are the important bits and what is their structure. Usually this comprises of what was your position, what was the company, how long you did it, and what you did. Still feels like an overwhelming task? Try some of the online tools, such as Europass, EnhanCV, or Kickresume.

Here’s an example using just the basic formatting tools any text editor gives you:


President at ESN Reykjavík
Erasmus Student Network Iceland
January 2015 – January 2016

Leading 8 different teams of total 70 colleagues we take care incoming exchange students to Iceland. During my mandate we managed to organise more than 30 events for the exchange and local students and expanded our core team to include 3 more volunteer positions. This experience awarded me with great leadership and stress-reliance skills that make me an efficient team coordinator.

Be concise

And that’s it! Have you noticed how to-the-point the position description is? The person reading your CV is not interested in all the stories, as much as the phrase Curriculum Vitae might be misleading. They want to hear about what you accomplished. What did you do in those volunteer positions? Have you overcome a major crisis? That’s worth mentioning. Have you increased the traffic on your website by a significant amount? Say how much. Numbers work magic when used in the right place.

Be relevant

Every CV you sent should be tailored to the needs of the position. And yet it’s so easy to fall into the I-need-to-show-everything-I’ve-ever-done trap. Stop for a moment. Is it really relevant for your employer to see where you’ve done your secondary school? Possibly the cashier job you took in the 9th grade might not be too interesting if you’re applying for a programmer position. On the other hand, showing the opportunity you had to develop your soft-skills through your volunteering might be gold. Your CV should fill no more than one, maximum two A4 pages. And these pages have to be gold. Not gold for you but gold for the employer. Have you thought about adding your three most relevant skills you have and how they can help the company?

Leave the fluff out

Ever heard of the term “buzzwords”? Well, they don’t work anymore. It’s exactly those words that make you look like an accomplished vacuum cleaner salesman. Being a “team player” and seeing “synergies” are basically meaningless these days. Instead, focus on actionable words, such as “improved”, “created”, and “increased” when mentioning your volunteering experience.

Include references

Now to give your words the actual value, the “improvement”, “creation”, and “increase” need to be supported by facts. The easiest way to do this is to include a contact for someone who worked with you or managed you. These people will be more than happy to vouch for you, wouldn’t they? Leave a contact for your volunteer colleagues and they will most probably be contacted, supporting the statements you made in the CV. Also don’t forget to link your online profiles, such as a LinkedIn account or your website.

Show your interests

This is a part of the CV that is commonly given zero interest by the HR people. Mainly because “music”, “friends”, and “travelling” take the most common top spots in this list. Why don’t you show things that can help you impress the employer? Here’s where all the extra volunteering comes in the spotlight. How about your active involvement in the youth rights European scene or being an avid blogger? In the end, any small detail can push you forward.

Keep it up-to-date

This should be a tradition. Going back to your CV every couple of months and reviewing it. Life changes rapidly. Updating the dates, switching the 2-month long experience from 5 years ago for something more current. You might even find some better ways to phrase some bits here and there. It is the process of constant iteration, improving it little by little that makes an outstanding CV.

Don’t forget the work experience

This one goes without saying, right? Most of what we said here applies to the work experience. This doesn’t mean though you shouldn’t treat your volunteering experience the same way. After all, what you did matters the most, not whether it was for money.

And that’s it. Run your CV by this checklist before sending it out next time. You’ll make the hiring people a little bit happier. And you know what a happy hiring person means.


Categories: ESN International

Statement on the efforts of ESN Spain

Mon, 21/03/2016 - 17:30

This Press Release was originally published by ESN Spain.

The Erasmus Student Network is the largest student organisation in Europe, founded in 1989 to support and develop student exchange programmes. ESN is a non-profit organisation present in 500 Higher Education Institutions in 38 countries, with 15,000 volunteers offering their services to 200,000 international students. The mission of ESN is to represent international students on local, national and European level and to advocate for better conditions of student mobility and volunteering. In close cooperation with universities, National Agencies of Erasmus and the European Commission, ESN provides opportunities for cultural and self-development under the principle of ‘Students Helping Students’.
Since the accident happened, twelve representatives from the local ESN sections in Barcelona that organised the trip (ESN UB, UAB, UPC and UPF) and the National Board of ESN Spain went to Tortosa from Barcelona, Almería and Valencia. These representatives have been working in close cooperation with the Police to help identify the victims and offer support to affected people. The priority of the Erasmus Student Network has been to collaborate with the police, the authorities and the affected universities, especially the University of Barcelona
The Erasmus Student Network Spain would like to, again, thank the volunteers and emergency services for their diligent work in these sad circumstances, as well as all the members of our Network that have shown solidarity from all over Europe. In addition we would like to thank the University of Barcelona for their collaboration in these unfortunate circumstances.

We wish, for all those involved, strength in this moment of deep sorrow and again send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

Press Release downloadable in English, Spanish and Catalan.

Categories: ESN International

Statement on traffic accident near Freginals, Spain

Sun, 20/03/2016 - 15:02

This Press Release was originally published by ESN Spain.

Erasmus Student Network Spain is deeply saddened to inform about the traffic accident suffered by a bus in which exchange students and volunteers from the organisation were travelling. The accident took place in the early morning on the AP-7 highway, near Freginals, when the students were on their way to Barcelona coming back from the “Fallas” festivity in Valencia. Unfortunately, there have been several fatal victims and injured students.
The emergency services are currently working in the area and have moved the injured people to the nearest hospitals. Volunteers of the Erasmus Student Network are in close contact with the authorities and work together with them. At this point, the authorities are responsible for the publication of any additional information.
Taking into consideration the sensitivity of the issue, Erasmus Student Network Spain would like to request the public for discretion in respect for the families and friends, to whom we send our deepest condolences. In addition, we would like to thank all the volunteers and emergency services for their diligent work in these sad circumstances.
The official telephone number of the authorities for further information is 012 from Catalonia or +34 900400012 from other places.

Press Release downloadable in English, Spanish and Catalonian.

Categories: ESN International

International experiences can lead to an international job

Fri, 11/03/2016 - 15:49

Daphne Scherer is another example of a person who has used her volunteer work for ESN to her benefit. Today, she works for the European Commission.

Born in Genova, Daphne is Italian by nationality but has enjoyed a life in an international context, both through studying and working as a volunteer. Already in 2003, Daphne had her first experience abroad, when she attended a high school cultural exchange. After one year in the US, Daphne started her undergraduate degree in Italy.

However, she still wanted to be a part of an international community. Even before enrolling at the university, she joined the local ESN section. For three years, she was responsible for the Tandem project and organising language cafés. Like many ESNers, she also used the opportunity to practice her foreign language skills while volunteering.

Even after several years working for ESN locally, Daphne wasn’t satisfied with her international experiences. So, for her Master’s, Daphne moved to Denmark where she attended the University of Aalborg and graduated with a degree in Culture, Communication and Globalisation. ESN Denmark was a big part of her time in Aalborg. After graduating, she moved to Paris for the European Voluntary Service.  

During her EVS, Daphne got even more involved in ESN. First, through the PRIME project in 2009 where she worked on the continuous challenges concerning recognition procedures for outgoing exchange students. Daphne also worked on preparing the PRIME project in 2010, and operated as a National Representative for ESN Italy and Vice-Chair for the newly established International Committee for Education. Through her work in ESN, she got the possibility to attend the Bulgarian Education Summer Training II in Bulgaria and was part of setting up the Eduk8 project.

Her volunteer work in ESN helped her achieve her goals. More than anything, her previous experience with the PRIME project helped her gain a position at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture. In her position, Daphne is working with higher education and Erasmus.

For Daphne, having always dreamt about working in the field of higher education, the dream has come true. She has no doubt about what helped her achieve this:

“This was always my dream and ESN gave me the opportunity to seize it!”


Written by: Jesús Escrivá Muñoz, Sara Panis, Stefan Jahnke
Edited by: Olav Mydland

Categories: ESN International

Warsaw, Host City of AGM 2016

Wed, 09/03/2016 - 21:25

From 7th to 10th April 2016, Warsaw will play host to the Annual General Meeting, the largest student conference of its kind in Europe. The event is organised every year by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN).

As a de-facto representation of the Erasmus generation, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the largest European student conference focusing on the theme of mobility. Organised by the local member association ESN SGH, this prestigious event will be held in Warsaw this year, turning the city into the ‘Capital of Erasmus’ for four days. During this time, Warsaw will host a delegation of 1,200 students representing 500 Higher Education Institutions from 38 countries to debate not only the future of the organisation itself, but also the broader role of internationally oriented youth in Europe.

"We need youth to know that no matter their education, economic or
ethnic background, their voice matters!" -
Safi Sabuni, President of ESN

Indeed, with more than 25 years of experience, ESN is the largest student organisation in Europe, actively involved in the fields of youth mobility and student exchange. The organisation contributes to the construction of an active and dynamic academic environment by supporting and developing academic mobility and the creation of better job prospects for youth.

As such, a central feature of the AGM will be an International Infomarket boasting the participation of representatives from hundreds of universities from across Europe, as well as a host of young international companies. The infomarket will be the most comprehensive study fair organised in Poland, catering to the local student population. Further supporting the theme of youth employability, over 50 workshops under the banner of non-formal education will also be on offer at the AGM.

In line with its motto ‘Students Helping Students’, ESN actively supports European integration and intercultural exchange through its numerous activities and the work of its volunteers. One of the most symbolic moments of the AGM will be the International Flag Parade, with delegates dressing in country colours to walk down the streets of Warsaw in celebration of ESN’s core values - unity in diversity, cooperation in integration and the love for Europe as an area of peace and cultural exchange.

To follow the event on social media, use the hashtags #AGMwarsaw and #THISisESN. Updates will also be posted through and

The press release for AGM Warsaw 2016 can be downloaded in various languages below:

Attachment Files:  AGM 2016 Press Release (CZ).pdf AGM 2016 Press Release (DE).pdf AGM 2016 Press Release (EN).pdf AGM 2016 Press Release (FR).pdf
Categories: ESN International