Why are we here
Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest student association 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.
Read more about our vision, mission and values here. (link).
National Assembly (NA)
A National Assembly is a statutory meeting of ESN CZ, where the National Board meets up with representatives from all sections, partners and international guests. The National Assemblies happen five times per year, and during it there are presentations about the latest ESN projects and updates, ESN events, best practices among our sections, and workshops by internal and external holders.
ESN CZ sections take turns as the Organizing Committees for these events, and it teaches our volunteers how to organize such meetings. It is also common to have a special social programme for the duration of the event, in which ESNers from different sections have the chance to get to know each other in a more informal manner.
MeetUps are national events organised by ESN CZ for all the ESN volunteers across the network. Its main goal is to increase the skills of our ESNers in different areas, through workshops, sessions, and discussions.
MeetUps often have a “theme” and the topics discussed and workshops held are related to it.
Newbies Events in ESN CZ happen twice a year. We welcome newbies from all sections in the Czech Republic, in a sort of team-building and we introduce them to the world of possibilities within ESN, at the national, local and international level. The programme varies and it is highly informal, although always well-structured.
International and National Erasmus Games
International Erasmus Games (IEG) is the project of ESN to bring young people from all around the world together to speak the language we all understand - sport. Every year, an international round is held in some of the ESN countries. There is a great atmosphere of people having fun, competing, supporting their friends and building new friendships. This is however just the most beautiful tip of the iceberg. It begins in the sections, which can hold their local tournament to choose the best team to represent the section on the national round. The national round gathers teams of international students studying in the respective country to choose the best teams for the international round.
Events organized by sections
Health & well-being
Despite the simplistic approach in defining health as the absence of illness, disease and mental distress, now society uses a more positive definition in which the concept of Health and Well-being can be defined as the achievement and maintenance of physical fitness and mental wellness.
ESN aims to approach “Health and Well-being” as a combination of physical, social, intellectual and emotional factors, in a holistic definition of well-being. Therefore the events and activities revolve around four different aspects:
Physical health is the functioning of the body and it is quite easy to measure;
Intellectual health is the ability to think clearly;
Emotional health is the ability to recognise emotions such as fear, joy, grief, anger etc. and to express them appropriately. It also involves the ability to cope with stress, anxiety and depression;
Social health is the ability to communicate with other people and form relationships.
In ESN, culture is connected to the events and project outputs on the local and national level. The events and outputs focus on the promotion of intangible, tangible and natural cultural heritage, creating spaces for intercultural dialogue and exploring the field of tourism.
ESN's main aim for this cause is to create space for cultural exchange between participants of different cultures and increase consumption of the cultural and natural heritage of the host country.
Skills and employability
In ESN, we work on contributing to the field of skills and employability in a few ways. While volunteering in ESN, our volunteers work on a variety of topics across several fields and develop a diverse set of skills. Therefore, we train our volunteers in both hard and soft skills, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and competencies to successfully fulfil tasks that their position entails, coordinate other volunteers and lead their local organisations. Upon providing training opportunities, we also provide space and opportunities to try their newly acquired knowledge and competencies on practical examples, making sure that they stay with them for life.
The cause is also reflected in the various events organised on the local and national level, emphasising the power and connection of volunteering to the personal and professional development of young people, taking into perspective volunteering on exchange, as well as in one's own community.
ESN's main aim for this cause is to ensure an inclusive and accessible competence development process for students and volunteers and raise their employability in the job market.
Environmental sustainability is ensuring the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance while meeting our needs for water, food, shelter, and social interaction. Increased mobility has a costly impact on the environment due to frequent travelling. The goal of ESN is to reduce this impact by organising greener events and activities and by raising awareness among international students.
ESN leads international students to a greener and more sustainable lifestyle during their exchange. Some sections organise workshops on zero waste lifestyle, how to recycle, make their events greener, e.g. by using wooden cutlery and paper plates instead of plastic ones, clean trash in a certain area or plant trees.
Environmental Sustainability Cause meets 4 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations. In this field those are: 12) Responsible Consumption and Production, 13) Climate Action, 14) Life Below Water and 15) Life on Land.
There are two main directions ESN is working towards in the field of social inclusion: widening participation and social integration.
First, we aim to widen the participation of students with fewer opportunities, that are underrepresented in the Erasmus+ programme through the promotion of mobility opportunities and advocating for more accessible and inclusive mobility programs and Higher Education and we aim to provide the conditions and opportunities for students to actively participate in student life.
Secondly, we aim to increase the interaction between exchange students and local communities in order to instigate social engagement and intercultural dialogue to foster global and active citizenship and intercultural awareness.
Education & Youth
In the field of Education, ESN primarily focuses on the internationalisation of education - the process of bringing global and intercultural dimension to education. As one of the biggest student organisations in Europe, ESN is aiming to represent the International Students by advocating, among others, for better and wider reach of exchange programs, better services for international students, better administration of related administrative procedures and better integration between local and international students, thus enriching both the experience of both local students and international ones, no matter their duration of stay.
In the field of Youth, ESN is advancing the view that young people in general, and International Students in particular, deserve to be recognised by the authorities as an equal partner and decision-maker that needs to be included in the discussions concerning Youth. Issues of youth engagement, youth work and youth rights and opportunities are some of those related to our work in the Youth field. In addition, we promote and educate young people on the opportunities, available both in both fields.