You already know us. We -the people writing this blog- are volunteers from Erasmus Student Network (ESN), the biggest European student association, which runs under the motto “Students Helping Students”. Most of us have been international students abroad who are now devoted to help exchange students’ arriving to our hometown to make the most of their experience here. Give back what you’ve been given.
Yet, ESN is much more than organising activities and trips! It also goes beyond collaborating with our universities in order to receive their support as part of the academic community. ESN means a great deal of internal hard work of cooperation between coordinators not only from our city, but also from our country and event states close to us.
Several local, national and international meetings take place throughout the year. The biggest one being is the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place once a year in a different location each time. This year the event was held in Costa Brava, just 1 hour away from Barcelona. Platja d’Aro, a summer hometown, became the epicentre of the Erasmus Experience from March 15th-19th.
Over 900 people from more than 500 ESN sections in 40 countries spent 5 days discussing on internal organisation matters of our network such as who would be our new International Board, what articles needed to be changed in our Standing Orders, or how often should our statutory meetings be held., amongst many other important decisions.
It might sound boring to you, but NOT AT ALL! A part from the formal plenaries and institutional acts, AGM includes a great amount of complementary activities in order to promote mobility and our values as an international association. The delegates of the 40 countries were able to enjoy a wonderful Flag Parade along the Catalan coast, a delicious International Dinner with meals brought by every Country’s Delegation, a Spanish Night with huge Paella pans and Spanish dances for everyone. Last but not least, it ended with the STARawards -ESN’s award event that recognizes the work done throughout the whole year by the sections and the countries- and a fancy Gala Dinner. All of this, while you meet volunteers from not only your own country but also from all around Europe.
By the way, Spain won 11 awards, one of them being the second best country of the whole network! A big hurray for us!
What could be better than living one of these huge events at home? Many of our local colleagues were able to not only attend AGM as participants representing the sections, but also to participate as organisers. Staff members moved boxes and prepared coffee breaks, communication experts recorded memories soon-to-be-seen in the aftermovie, treasurers made sure not a euro was lost in the game... AGM Costa Brava 2018 became a whole new experience for many of the 1340 volunteers behind the 35 ESN sections in Spain.
All in all, the Annual General Meeting, as any ESN event, gives you tones of energy and motivation to keep on with the hard, yet amazing work. It makes us, as volunteers, become aware of the huge impact our association has on so many lives around Europe, not only on the international students experiencing their Erasmus but also on all those coordinators. We all become one. We are united in diversity and show off with pride the amazing Erasmus Generation we belong to.
Does this make you feel curious about ESN? Don’t worry if your stay abroad is about to end and you’re starting to feel you’re going to miss us. We’re pretty sure your home university has an ESN section, still unknown for you, that will be happy to welcome you with open arms once you’re back home, you can check it out HERE. Once you enter this world, there’s no going back. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this family!
#THISisESN #UnitedInDiversity #AGMCostaBrava
ESN Barcelona UPF Team