Erasmus Student Network

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Erasmus Student Network AISBL
Esn logo.png
The logo of ESN
Abbreviation ESN
Motto "Students helping students"
Formation 16 October 1989
Legal status AISBL
Purpose Educational
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
  • Rue Hydraulique / Waterkrachtstraat, 15 B-1210 Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode / Sint-Jost-ten-Node Brussels BELGIUM
Coordinates 50°50′54″N 4°22′18″E / 50.848256°N 4.371761°E / 50.848256; 4.371761
Region served Europe (37 countries)
Membership Student organisations
Official language English [1]
President Stefan Jahnke
Main organ Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Affiliations YFJ (full membership), EUCIS LLL (full membership), EAIE (courtesy member), Council of Europe (participatory status), European Movement International (full membership)
Staff 5 International Board Members, 1 Director, 5 Employees, 2 Trainees
Volunteers over 450 sections (about 13,500 volunteers)

Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a Europe-wide student organisation. Its goal is to support and develop student exchange. It is composed of around 13,500 members from more than 450 local sections in 37 countries in Higher Education Institutions, including universities, polytechnics, and university colleges. ESN is organised on the local, national and international level. The network offers its services to around 160,000 international students.[2]

ESN facilitates the social and personal integration of international students. The local ESN sections offer help, guidance and valuable information to both exchange students and students doing a full degree abroad. ESN represents the needs and views of exchange students on the local, national and international level. ESN provides relevant information about academic exchange programmes and student mobility in general.

The aims and principles of ESN[edit]

  • ESN works in the interest of international students
  • ESN works to improve the social and practical integration of international students
  • ESN represents the needs and rights of international students on the local, national, and international level
  • ESN provides relevant information about mobility programmes
  • ESN motivates students to study abroad
  • ESN works with the reintegration of homecoming students
  • ESN contributes to the improvement and accessibility of student mobility
  • ESN cares about its members
  • ESN values volunteering and active citizenship [3]

History of ESN[edit]

In 1987, the European Community approved a plan to create an extensive mobility scheme for higher education. Part of it was the Erasmus programme - an exchange programme for students to provide students with the opportunity to spend part of their studies abroad.

In 1989 the Erasmus Bureau invited 32 former Erasmus Students for an evaluation meeting in Ghent, Belgium. This meeting was the starting point for the Erasmus Student Network. The lack of peer-to-peer support was singled out as a major issue and the driving force behind the creation of the Erasmus Student Network. The idea "students helping students" remains the core principle of the work of ESN.

ESN sections were founded in various European universities and with financial support from the EC a meeting for the official founding of ESN International was organised in Copenhagen, Denmark in October 1990 with 49 participants from almost all member states that were part of the Erasmus programme. ESN International became a legal association. Desiree Majoor from Utrecht, Netherlands[4] became the first president in ESN history.

By 1994 ESN had 60 sections in 14 countries and it was growing rapidly. 10 years from then in 2004 the ESN network consisted of 170 sections in and outside Europe, from Scandinavia to Morocco. ESN has been growing with an average rate of around 12% since then. New technology has tremendously improved collaboration between sections and frequent meetings strengthen the ties between ESN members as well as serve the possibility to change ideas and work together for a better future.

In 2005, ESN established its headquarters in Brussels and legally registered as a Belgian non-profit organisation. Since then, the network grew quickly and is today one of the major student organisations in Europe.

ESN's Structure today[edit]

ESN is the most important student organisation working in the interest of international students in Europe. ESN works on three levels - local, national and international. Today ESN is only active within the borders defined by the Council of Europe.

Local level[edit]

ESN on local level consists of "sections" that directly work work with the international students. They organize activities like introduction programmes, get-togethers and cultural events and represent the exchange students and their needs towards academic institutions and local authorities. Together the local sections, or rather representatives from the sections form the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the highest decision making body of ESN. The AGM gathers annually to decide the future of the network.

National level[edit]

The national level represents the needs of international students towards governments and national authorities. Local sections in the same countries together form a National Platform (NP) who can elect a National Board and elects a National Representative (NR) to represent the national network on the international level.

International level[edit]

The International Board is the executive body of ESN International and consists of five Board members (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Communication Manager and Web Project Administrator). Since 2005, the members of the international board are full-time volunteers living and working in Brussels. The International Board is supported by the Secretariat composed of employed staff.
Each country elects a National Representative and all National Representatives form the Council of National Representatives (CNR). During the year they represent the interest of the network and are, after the AGM, the highest decision-making body.
ESN has five International Committees that work together with its respective international board member in charge. The Committees of ESN are - International Committee of Education (ICE), Network and Events Committee (NEC), Finance Committee (FiCo), Communication Committee (ComCom)and IT Committee (IT).

Major projects[edit]

While sections are independent to organise their activities on the local level, ESN runs several international projects that are implemented across the Network. The Social Erasmus projects aims to integrate international students into the local community via charity, environmental and education actions.[5] ExchangeAbility aims to improve the situation for students with special needs and support those students to realise a mobility period.[6] PRIME and ESNSurvey are the main research projects that enable ESN to continuously monitor issues concerning international students. ESN widely implements the Responsible Party campaign to raise students´ awareness on responsible drinking.[7]


International events[edit]


Annual General Meeting (AGM)[edit]

Cultural Medley (CM)[edit]

Regional Platforms[edit]

Central European Platform[edit]

The Central European Platform (CEP) consists of Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Northern European Platform[edit]

The Northern European Platform (NEP) was formerly known as NNM (Nordic Network Meeting). It consists of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, and Sweden.

Western European Platform[edit]

The Western European Platform (WEP) consists of Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

South European Platform[edit]

The South European Platform (SEP) was split into SWEP and SEEP during AGM 2007.

South Western European Platform[edit]

The South Western European Platform (SWEP) consists of France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain.

South Eastern European Platform[edit]

The South Eastern European Platform (SEEP) consists of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey.

Member countries[edit]

Country Amount of sections Website
Austria 17 ESN Austria
Belgium 12 ESN Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1
Bulgaria 8 ESN Bulgaria
Croatia 7
Czech Republic 15 ESN Czech Republic
Denmark 4
Estonia 5 ESN Estonia
Finland 16 ESN Finland
France 27 ESN France
Georgia 2 ESN Georgia
Germany 28 ESN Germany
Greece 17 ESN Greece
Hungary 15 ESN Hungary
Iceland 1
Ireland 8 ESN Ireland
Italy 50 ESN Italy
Latvia 2
Lithuania 12 ESN Lithuania
Luxembourg 1
Malta 1
Macedonia 3
Netherlands 14 ESN the Netherlands
Norway 6 ESN Norway
Poland 33 ESN Poland
Portugal 8 ESN Portugal
Romania 6
Serbia 2
Slovakia 11 ESN Slovakia
Slovenia 5 ESN Slovenia
Spain 32 ESN Spain
Sweden 15 ESN Sweden
Switzerland 14 ESN Switzerland
Turkey 31 ESN Turkey
United Kingdom 16 ESN UK


  1. ^ Statutes are both in English and French. Local languages are used by countries and local sections.
  2. ^ Erasmus Student Network -
  3. ^ Erasmus Student Network -
  4. ^ European Commission -
  5. ^ Erasmus Student Network -
  6. ^ Erasmus Student Network -
  7. ^ Responsible Party -

External links[edit]