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 480 Higher Education Institutions from 37 countries. The network is constantly developing and expanding. We have around 14.500 active members that are in many sections supported by so called buddies mainly taking care of international students. Thus, ESN involves around 34.000 young people offering its services to around 190.000 international students every year.
ESN is working in Higher Education (HE):
- offering services to 190.000 students
- 14.500 active members (34.000 with the buddies included)
- mainly on a volunteer basis
- with an average annual growth rate of 12% since 2005
ESN is operating on three levels: local, national, and international.
ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing the student exchange from different levels, and providing an intercultural experience also to those students who cannot access a period abroad ("internationalisation at home").
Aims & Principles
In synthesis, ESN:
- works in the interest of international students
- works to improve the social and practical integration of international students
- represents the needs and rights of international students on the local, national, and international level
- provides relevant information about mobility programmes
- motivates students to study abroad
- works with the reintegration of homecoming students
- contributes to the improvement and accessibility of student mobility
- cares about its members
- values volunteering and active citizenship
Who are we for?
The students who are returning from exchange are being supported in reintegration process in their home countries by keeping contact with an international environment. Many local sections are set up by former exchange students, often because they have had good experiences from their exchange period or because they felt a lack of help during their exchange. They also understand better the issues and challenges in a foreign environment.
However, the main focus of ESN is placed on current exchange students, who often face problems (and feel abandoned) in their new environments. Therefore, ESN offers help in academic, social and practical integration process. This is mainly done through activities in the local sections, which include cultural and social events such as trips to various places within the country, film nights, language projects, international food festivals and last, but not least, parties. In addition to that, many sections have introduced mentor systems, which help the international students mainly in academic and practical integration.
ESN also provides relevant information and encourages the future exchange students to gain the international experience and gain relevant insight to different cultures.
ESN Italia, in quanto Rete Italiana di associazioni universitarie volontarie, apartitiche e aconfessionali, che offrono i propri servizi agli studenti stranieri ospiti presso le università italiane ed agli enti italiani interessati ai programmi di scambio, è essa stessa libera associazione non lucrativa, apolitica, aconfessionale, la quale persegue tutti gli obiettivi espressi nello Statuto e nelle Direttive del Network Internazionale di cui è parte. Pertanto mira a favorire la mobilità di studenti universitari in Europa:
- Prestando opera di accoglienza e consulenza agli studenti stranieri ospiti per un periodo di studio presso un'università italiana (attraverso un servizio che va dalla ricerca dell'alloggio al tutorato e all'organizzazione di eventi culturali e ricreativi che favoriscano l'integrazione dello studente straniero nell'ambiente universitario locale);
- Fornendo un servizio di informazione aggiornato sui programmi europei di scambio inter-universitari;
- Sviluppando una valutazione sistematica degli stessi programmi, attraverso l'esperienza degli studenti che vi hanno preso parte.
Attualmente ESN Italia conta di 49 sezioni attive. Le sezioni attive offrono un regolare orario di sportello nelle sedi messe a disposizione dagli Uffici Relazioni Internazionali o Uffici Rapporti con l'Estero di Ateneo, con cui esse collaborano. Esiste una sezione ESN per Università. Gli orari di apertura al pubblico variano a seconda delle esigenze locali.
ESN Italia è l'organo che coordina tutte le sezioni locali dislocate sul territorio.