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|Formation||16 October 1989|
|Europe (42 countries)|
|Juan Rayón González|
|General Assembly (GA)|
|Affiliations||YFJ (full membership), LLLP (full membership), EAIE (courtesy member), Council of Europe (participatory status), European Movement International (full membership), Europe+ (participatory status)|
|5 International Board Members, 9 Employees, 5 Trainees|
|534 sections, about 15.000 volunteers (July 2020)|
Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a Europe-wide student organisation.
The organization supports and develops student exchanges, both inside the Erasmus+ programme and outside of it. The local ESN sections offer help, guidance and information to both exchange students and students doing a full degree abroad – by informing them, but also providing them with different trips or events. National and international level support the local level by providing necessary tools, as well as communicating with National Erasmus+ Organizations or the European Commission in general.
Its goal of the organisation to support and develop student exchange on a local, national and international level. It is composed of around 15.000 members in over 530 local sections in 42 countries in Higher Education Institutions, including universities, polytechnics, and university colleges.
In 1987, the European Community approved a plan to create a 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, named for the Dutch Renaissance humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam.
By 1994 ESN had 60 sections in 14 countries. In 2004 the ESN network consisted of 170 sections in and outside Europe, from Scandinavia to Morocco. In 2005, ESN established its headquarters in Brussels and legally registered as a Belgian non-profit organisation.
The organization supports students from Erasmus programme and other bilateral agreement. It cooperates with national agencies in order to help international students – it does not, however, send people on exchange itself, this being done by Universities and national organizations.
ESN works on three levels – local, national and international. It is only active within the borders defined by the Council of Europe.
ESN on local level consists of "sections" that directly 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. Every year, representatives of the local sections meet at the Erasmus Generation Meeting (EGM).
The national level represents the needs of international students towards governments and national authorities. Local sections in the same countries form a National Platform (NP) and, each year, they elect a National Board which represents the local sections on the international level.
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 and trainees.
ESN has five International Committees that work together with its respective international board member in charge. The Committees of ESN are – International Committee for Education (ICE), Network Committee (NEC), Finance Committee (FICO), Communication Committee (ComCom) and IT Committee (IT).
Since its foundation in 1989, ESN holds Annual General Meetings (AGM), alternating in major cities throughout Europe.
Other activities include annual Cultural Medleys (CM) from 1999 until 2012, and annual meetings of the organization's five Regional Platforms. These Regional Platforms are: