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Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

Students Surveying Students!

Wed, 03/08/2016 - 15:36

The average number of respondents in a cross-cultural study doesn’t usually exceed 500. So how could a research project done by volunteers of the Erasmus Student Network get 25.000 responses?

The simple answer would be that it’s conducted by a large student network, the biggest in Europe with more than 500 local associations in 39 European countries. Indeed, spreading a questionnaire through such a network creates the expectation of a great amount of answers, but it’s not just any questionnaire that can be sent through the Network and expected to have the same outreach.

ESN’s network has a memory; certain projects work longer and although research isn’t the top activity in terms of popularity, the fact that the ESNsurvey project has existed for 11 years, gained recognition amongst stakeholders and supported ESN in its claims, encourages many of the volunteers commit to it. And in a volunteer organisation, commitment is what it’s all about.

This year’s topic is “international-friendliness”, and the aim is to explore the role of host-university services, academic support, intercultural contact and friendship networks in the resulting satisfaction with the study abroad experience. The collection phase has been completed, with the results soon to come in the ESNsurvey 2016 Report.

Dissemination through a snowball research strategy gets a totally new twist today with social networks in play. Click join, share or like, add a hashtag, support it by a video, create a profile picture template and you’re on to reaching out to thousands of people. Although disseminating a questionnaire online makes it impossible to calculate a rate of return, it makes it possible to get a return that counts.

It’s understandable that volunteers of ESN help in promoting the questionnaire because they know the project and the people behind it. For them, participating in such a project even helps the cooperation with their university, as it shows that they care about the problems international students might face.

But how about the Erasmus students that the survey targets? What convinces them to take 20 minutes of their free time and voluntarily bite through a questionnaire of 65 questions? The answer: the Erasmus experience. It's such a powerful life experience that most students upon return have a certain need to talk about it and to express what they experienced. The emotions connected with spending a study period abroad are simply a driving force that raises attention to anything connected to Erasmus, even a questionnaire.

Going abroad, leaving your relatives and friends behind, jumping into something totally unknown, and doing this all on your own isn’t easy. But if you’re welcomed by a local buddy, who helps you to cope with the first days, introduces you to other friends and takes you to some of the first events at your new campus, it makes the whole experience less stressful. Many of the buddies are members of ESN and many of the activities are organised by local ESN associations. Homecoming students might recall the help they received and might see that by spending 20 minutes of their time to fill in a questionnaire, they could actually help future students to have an even better experience. Also, the fact that it’s students who are asking the questions somehow raises the motivation to participate. It’s not a company, not your school, not the national agency, nor the European Union, it’s people of the same generation, the Erasmus generation, asking about your Erasmus. It’s easier to imagine who’s behind the project as the questions come from people who lived a similar experience.

The questions are sometimes tricky to design. Although homecoming students are expected to understand the survey in English, keeping the formulations short and understandable is a must. Some standardised scales with academically formulated questions that were initially planned to be used, simply didn’t make it through the pilot study. Other questions didn’t make the cut because they weren’t relevant for all countries involved or would mean something else in a different context. For the first time, the ESNsurvey project succeeded in reaching the target group of local non-mobile students, who have never been abroad. In order to collect answers from this group, which might lack foreign language skills, the questionnaire had only 29 questions and was translated in 9 other languages.

The weird and shivering beauty of the Erasmus experience is that although Europe is so diverse in all its countries, ethnic groups and languages, which generally makes the creation of a cross-cultural survey difficult, the core of the experience is similar. It seems like it doesn’t depend on where someone spends their Erasmus, because they can always end up with people from all around the world, who are all on the same journey. This "unity in diversity” bonds people together regardless of their differences.

Written by Mikuláš Josek
ESNsurvey 2016 Coordinator

Categories: ESN International

UN Summer Academy 2016: ‘Shaping a Sustainable Future’

Tue, 26/07/2016 - 11:07


The UN Summer Academy has been organized by the UN System Staff College (UNSSC) every year since 2012. It prides itself on offering executive education, learning and knowledge exchange to those actively engaged with the UN System in their daily lives.

The UN Summer Academy 2016 is titled ‘Shaping a Sustainable Future’ and will focus on the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals, along with the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Summer Academy combines academic rigour with cutting edge thinking, builds on renowned faculty and is open to UN staff, civil society and private sector representatives alike, as well as a select number of post-graduate students and young professionals, interested in further pursuing opportunities in the field of sustainable development.

Why to register: The Academy will:

  • Introduce key features of Agenda 2030, including the Sustainable Development Goals, along with the Paris Agreement and the Financing for Development process.
  • Engage participants in a dialogue and exchange of practices requiring profound changes beyond ‘business as usual’ both in terms of substantive integration of the three pillars of sustainable development, as well as through new ways of working with partners from all segments of society.
  • Leverage the presence of numerous UN entities in Bonn, as well as leading institutions in international development, providing an exclusive opportunity for dialogue with professionals working towards the implementation of a universal sustainable development agenda, applicable in all countries.
  • Present ongoing efforts to develop sustainability strategies in Germany and showcase practical examples on sharing and leveraging knowledge to advance global development.


Who can register: The UN Summer Academy is open to participants from the United Nations System, civil society and private sector, as well as a select number of postgraduate students and young professionals, interested in further pursuing opportunities in the field of sustainable development.

When: The UN Summer Academy will take place from 22 - 26 August 2016.

Where: UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development,

Haus Carstanjen, Martin-Luther-King-Str.8, Bonn, 53175, Germany.


How:    Register now at

Deadline for enrolment is 15 August 2016.


More information: For further information, please visit the UN Summer Academy website: If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at or call us at 0228 815 2657.

Relevant links: 

  • About the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development (link)
  • UN Summer Academy Flyer (link)
  • Brochure (link)
  • Overview of courses (link)
Categories: ESN International

ESN renews partnership with StudentUniverse

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 14:42

StudentUniverse to provide flight discounts to international students studying in Europe

The Erasmus Student Network and StudentUniverse, a leading resource for student travel discounts, have renewed their successful partnership to provide international students studying abroad in Europe with greater access to discounted travel opportunities. StudentUniverse’s travel services team will also help ESN’s member organisations with group bookings to travel to ESN events worldwide.

“Each year, we see the appetite for students going abroad and joining our organisation increasing by double digits. This year we experienced 10% growth in the number of students going abroad and joining the Erasmus Student Network; we also saw a 55% increase in ESN membership card registrations by students wanting to access the benefits our partners bring to our community,” said Hugo A. Urción Serantes, Partnership Manager, Erasmus Student Network. 

Travelling is one of the main resources that the Erasmus students have to increase their intercultural understanding and we are pleased to continue our successful partnership with StudentUniverse to improve their experiences.

Through the partnership, StudentUniverse will provide ESN’s members an additional £15/20€ discount on top of its already-discounted student and youth fares on the first flight they book with StudentUniverse. These students also receive travel tips and information about flight sales and promotions that would be of interest to international students looking to travel during their exchange, or to and from their university at the beginning and end of the semester.

“Knowing the fundamental role travel plays in a student’s Erasmus experience, we are proud to join other notable ESN partners to serve as a resource for international students and ESN’s local member organisations worldwide,” said Dan Baker, Head of Marketing and Business Development, StudentUniverse.

“Over the course of the last year, we saw thousands of students redeem our offer and we are hoping to reach even more ESN sections and members this year.”

StudentUniverse is the world’s leading travel booking site for students and youth. Through negotiations with global airline partners, they offer discounted rates for student and youth travellers to help students achieve their Erasmus study dreams. They are committed to making travel more affordable and a realistic opportunity for as many students as possible to explore their world. You can find out more information on StudentUniverse and search for discounted travel at:

Erasmus Student Network is the largest student organisation in Europe with over 272,000 local and international student members. It is a youth-led, volunteer-based, non-profit organisation with a presence in 39 European countries. It provides international students with opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development. ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing student exchanges on different levels and provides an intercultural experience also to those students who cannot access a period abroad ('internationalisation at home').

Categories: ESN International

Uniplaces Scholarship 2016 awards 15 students

Sun, 03/07/2016 - 15:48

The Uniplaces Scholarship launched in 15 April is looking to repay kind students with whole semester abroad

High-profile international organisations in Youth and Education sectors are backing Uniplaces in the 3rd edition of the world’s most positive Scholarship. ESN, UNICA, EYCA, and the Class of 2020 are all powering the push for more kindness around the world - and for that kindness to be rewarded.

The Uniplaces Scholarship is the only global programme to support international youth and student mobility by sponsoring accommodation. In 2015, the Scholarship funded 15 students to go study in places like Singapore, New York and Sydney. The previous edition of the Scholarship had over 9000 participants, from over 900 cities.

A Unique Scholarship

The Scholarship is the only one of its kind. It isn’t awarded on the basis of ethnic origin, academic results or sports skills. From its first edition, the Uniplaces Scholarship has been rewarding students who are kind. Furthermore, instead of being a monetary prize, or paying tuition fees, the winners of the Uniplaces Scholarship will have one semester of accommodation paid.

Students from anywhere in the world can apply for the scholarship to help with the mounting costs of university. To win this scholarship, applicants have to describe in any medium what good deed they do or have done for others.

A judging panel that includes members of Erasmus Student Network, European Youth Card Association, The Class of 2020 and UNICA will choose the fifteen most original and authentic applications.

2015 Scholarship winner Radoslaw Czekan commented:

“This was the opportunity to live my dreams. The Scholarship enormously increased my studies in Lisbon and helped me to focus more on my passion and travelling. Awesome!”;

Uniplaces founder Ben Grech explained:

“Every element of this campaign is designed to help not just those who win the scholarships, but thousands of people across the globe. It’s a simple mechanic that will foster random acts of kindness and serve to highlight young people who have been doing great deeds without wanting or expecting any reward for it.”


The 3rd edition of the Scholarship marks the introduction of the Recommend a Friend feature. Recognising that some of the kindest people are also the quietest, the Scholarship allows these anonymous, everyday heroes to be recommended by their friends, family, colleagues or teachers.

Applications can be submitted until 15th July. Anyone can head to the website to sign up to take part, vote for their favourite experiences. The 15 winners of the Scholarship will be announced soon after submissions have closed.

Categories: ESN International

Section in the Spotlight: ESN Lisboa

Fri, 01/07/2016 - 12:10

The summer has officially left a mark on our calendars, so it only makes sense to introduce you to one of the warmest and friendliest European destinations. Please give a big, sweaty applause to our Section in the Spotlight of July: ESN Lisboa!

ESN Lisboa was founded in 2008 by nine former Erasmus students, and the section grew fast thanks to the big amount of Portuguese students coming back home from their stay abroad with a wish to join their local section. There are around 5,000 exchange students coming to Lisboa every year, which demands for good organisation and job division inside of the section in order for members to handle the workload. There are three members of ESN Lisboa in the National Board, five members on the Portuguese Communication and Network Committee, six members in the ESN Communication Committee, and four members involved in the Eduk8 project. Woah, ESN Lisboa keeps producing some high quality, ambitious members!

Their ESN team counts 15 new members, 55 active members, six interns from all over Europe, 75 alumni members who are trustworthy and valuable counselors to their daily work, and 44 collaborators who are not a part of the active team, but help with the events when they can. If you did the math correctly, then you know that there are 195 people who help sustain ESN Lisboa. The section is divided in eight departments - Sports and Trips, Human Rescources, SocialErasmus, Communication and Marketing, Partnerships and Fundraising, and Network and Strategy - and each of them has an individual coordinator. Network and Strategy department is their flagship project created to improve the exchange and relationships between the sections in order to fight the competition other organisations that provide services to exchange present. They believe that this department has a potential to become an international project. There are also three committees - Education, Treasury, and Secretariat - that work separately from the departments. Local board, which consists of six members, keeps everything under control to ensure smooth and effecient work of the section, yet they do not have the full decision making power. Coordinators council, composed of all department coordinators and board members is an intermediate body of decision which is active in making non-urgent and strategic decisions of the section.

ESN Lisboa invests time and financial resources into their internal events, as they consider them essential in order to bring new and old members together in order to do quality work.

“ESN Lisboa members become motivated to acquire new skills and competences through non-formal education in these internal events. We strongly believe our internal trainings are valuable to the network, since we have received some guests from other portuguese sections interested in learning from us.”

Human Resources department organizes Teambuilding Weekends at the beginning of each semester, a Training Day for knowledge transfer from old to new members, Upgrade Weekend intended for relfection, and Insight Weekend for knowledge transfer between old coordinators and board members and new ones. They also organise Reflection Groups, sessions for when members feel the necessity to reflect on specific topics. They also have ESN Awards in various categories for further motivation.

As it was mentioned above, Lisboa is a home to 5,000 exchange students each year and therefor members of ESN Lisboa have to put a lot of effort in organizing their weekly activities. In order to welcome new students the best way possible, they organise Welcome Weeks that consist of four weeks full of activities aiming to introduce the city to the students and integrate them in the culture. They do at least one trip per month in order to show international students all cultural landmarks of the country, while the close proximity to the sea allows them to organise nautical events like Surf Days. When it comes to nightlife, they have parties with four main nightclubs and offer free entrance to students with an ESNcard on four out of seven week days. On Mondays they throw special themed parties, and have Mega Parties twice each semester. They are also very active in the SocialErasmus field - this year, they have won ESAA fund for their SocialErasmus activity “New Friends, Old memories” which aims to fight loneliness in the elderly community and exchange knowledge between different cultures and ages. Twice a month they help prepare and distribute warm meals to the homeless, and pay a visit to the local kennel to help the volunteers take care of the abandoned dogs. They believe that violence is one of the most important issues of modern society, and this year they have addressed it by making an awareness video which they have launched on Valentine’s Day. They are also big advocates of Erasmus in Schools activity!

Apart from SocialErasmus, they are very successful in implementing other international projects of ESN as well. They try to organize one Responsible Party per year, and they’re taking their first steps when it comes to Mov’in Europe. They have already mapped several Higher Education Institutions in Lisbon this year! They use ErasmusIntern platform to search for interns for their intership programmes, and they are big fans of Eduk8.

This year they have won five STARawards at Annual General Meeting in Warsaw: STARlight, ESNcardSTAR, CampaignSTAR and WebSTAR.

ESN Lisboa is one busy, busy section. They had so much success in a very short period of time, but they have also worked very hard for it. Being responsible for so many international students each year cannot be an easy task, but they have developed an amazing internal structure to divide the workload. It seems that ESN Lisboa is on a path of success, and they are not stopping!

written by Tajana Mohnacki

Categories: ESN International

Open Call: Web Development Internship

Mon, 27/06/2016 - 15:46

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the largest 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 offers an Web Development Internship at our international headquarters in Brussels. The intern will work on designing, developing and documenting a high-traffic Drupal platform while at the same time supporting various smaller Drupal projects.

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
Terms and conditions
  • Internship for a duration of 6 months
  • The successful applicant should start ideally on the 19th of August
  • 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 expertise
  • Experience with Drupal
  • Structured and reliable way of working
  • Background in computer science, engineering or similar
  • Interest in web development
  • Basic knowledge of PHP (advanced knowledge 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

To apply, you are encouraged to use the ErasmusIntern platform (login required). Alternatively, please send a short motivation letter and CV to by Sunday the 10th of July 2016 at 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:  201606 Open Call - Web Development Internship.pdf
Categories: ESN International

Open Call: Communication Internship

Mon, 27/06/2016 - 15:39

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the largest student organisation in Europe. It was founded in 1989, with the aim to support and develop student mobility. As a European organisation, ESN uses multiple channels to maintain effective internal and external communication with the Network, our partners and stakeholders.

ESN offers a Communication Internship at our international headquarters in Brussels. The intern will work on designing, developing and documenting a high-traffic Drupal platform while at the same time supporting various smaller Drupal projects.

Main tasks and responsibilities
  • Assisting in all communication-related tasks such as producing the newsletter, updateing the website, implementation of social media, graphic designs and ESN’s online tools
  • Contribute to our internal ESN publications
Terms and conditions
  • Internship for a duration of 6 months
  • The successful applicant should start ideally on the 19th of August
  • 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 expertise
  • Good knowledge of written and spoken English 
  • Background in communication, media, graphic design or similar
  • Familiar with the concepts of Social Media and online marketing
  • Good knowledge of Adobe software: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
  • Precise and organised way of working
  • Proficient user of Microsoft Office package
  • Capability of working in a team as well as independently
  • Comfortable working in a multicultural environment
  • Knowledge of the Erasmus Student Network is a plus
Highly valued
  • Knowledge of photography, video editing and/or animation tools
  • Knowledge of HTML and/or CSS, experience in web design
  • Fluency in other European languages

To apply, you are encouraged to use the ErasmusIntern platform (login required). Alternatively, please send a short motivation letter and CV to by Sunday the 10th of July 2016 at 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.

Attachment Files:  201606 Open Call - Communication Internship.pdf
Categories: ESN International

Reaction Paper to UK's Withdrawal from the European Union

Fri, 24/06/2016 - 21:35

With the outcome of the UK's referendum on EU membership an unpleasant surprise for many across Europe, the Erasmus Student Network sets out the impact on Erasmus students and calls upon British and European stakeholders to protect and ensure the continuation of mobility programmes for youth.

The 23rd of June will mark a memorable day for many of our friends and colleagues in other European countries who have eagerly followed this campaign. As stated in ESN UK’s position paper, we believe that the UK should have remained a member of the European Union, for access to the Erasmus+ programme and its benefits, for international research expertise and funding, for the fostering of cultural understanding and tolerance, and so many other opportunities that the EU provides for young people. Despite this, the country has decided, albeit by a narrow margin (51.9%), that the United Kingdom should exit the EU, and, as a network that fosters democracy, we respect this decision.

ESN UK’s volunteers have all experienced the personal and professional enrichment that mobility provides. Many have spent a period abroad, for example with the support of Erasmus+, but this is by no means the only way we have benefited. The incoming Erasmus students have taught us a great deal, and allowed us to create an international and culturally diverse community here in the UK, forming lasting international friendships in the process”, says Meriel Smith, National Representative of ESN UK.

The results of the vote suggest that young people as a demographic overwhelmingly voted to remain, in part because they recognise the opportunities that the EU opens up for youth. It is the younger generation who will live longest with the consequences of this referendum, and, having grown up taking for granted the right to live, work and travel freely across Europe, many of them are worried about the future.

The outcome of this referendum is therefore by no means representative of our views, or those of the 48.1% who voted to remain with our European colleagues. We will not let political changes alter our international outlook or our ambition and today’s result will not lessen our determination to study, work, live, or visit our friends all around Europe (and beyond). Even though these things may become more difficult, we encourage perseverance in obtaining placements and grants for mobility opportunities”, she adds.

What does the vote to leave the EU mean for students?

The UK, being one of the top destinations for beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ programme, has played a significant role by receiving 200,000 students over the last three years. Current students benefiting from the Erasmus+ programme, both international students in the UK and British students studying abroad, will most likely not experience changes to their international exchange. Before we can see any substantial changes, the UK has to decide whether to apply Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and end the withdrawal process to leave the EU.

This process will probably take up to two years, if not longer, meaning that those undergoing a programme that extends to 2018 may be the first to experience new regulations. The future conditions for international students wanting to study in the UK and British students wanting to study in Europe are as of yet unknown and will have to be decided during the negotiation phase.

To all current and prospective international students, and all Europeans living in the UK, we would like to make clear that we will continue to welcome you and to cherish the value you add to our communities. At this time of such uncertainty, it is more important than ever that we work together and unite against intolerance and fear”, encourages Meriel.

She continues, “To all young people who voted for a future in Europe: do not give up hope. It may not have gone as we had hoped, but we have sent a powerful message about the sort of future we want to live in. We have before us both a challenge and an opportunity, a chance to help shape a stronger Europe.

The Erasmus Student Network calls upon UK stakeholders, as well as their European counterparts, to safeguard opportunities for young people, such as access to the Erasmus+ programme, that have benefited so many of us over the last 30 years. 

The Erasmus Impact Study has shown that young people who have undertaken a period of study or work abroad are more open-minded, more engaged, and more employable than their non-mobile peers. The way ahead looks turbulent for our continent, and whether the UK is in or out of the EU, we must continue to invest in those who will be shaping and leading the Europe of the future”, says Safi Sabuni, President of ESN International.

We cannot ignore the current trends in Europe and the European Union has a difficult time ahead. We need the European Union and all Member States to learn from these recent events. We need our leaders to collaborate and to invest in shaping a stronger European Union of citizens.

Figures drawn from the Erasmus Impact Study.

If you would like to find out more about the current situation and the outlook for the future, the National Union of Students (NUS) UK has released a statement on What Brexit means for EU students in the UK and UK students in the EU.

Categories: ESN International

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