CARNETS DESCARTES

ESN

I really wanted to talk about this. I've looked around the previous years articles and I noticed that not so many students have devocated an article to this even though I'm sure that each one of them have dealt with ESN.

But before introducing you what they are doing, let me tell you what is it. ESN means Erasmus Student Network and this is an Europe-wide non-profit organisation whose main goal is to encourage, support and develop international students exchange. It has been created in 1989 and its headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium Today it is composed of around 13,500 volunteer members all through 37 countries and a total of 160,000 students. 

 

After this bried introduction, I will now explain you why they have been and still are so important for me within my Erasmus year:

  • Tutor system: ESN actually began to help me even before my arrival in Estonia. They propose to every student to have a "tutor". What does it mean ? A tutor is a volunteer full degree student who is in Tallinn for at least one semester (usually they are for 1 year) and who is ready and willing to help the incoming international students, to support them for everything. Not only the issues related to the university. Indeed, the most noteworthy example is that usually the tutors come to pick the sutdents up at the airport (mine was busy). So when you are a new student arriving in a new country, you don't even have time to feel lost because you are directly escorted by a local person who knows quite perfeclty Tallinn. 

 

  • Trips & parties: This is probably the most important visible part of the work of ESN. I'm going to talk only about my first semester because my second one is not over and I don't have a well considered judgement yet about it. From September to January they have proposed us amazing events about which I will talk in future articles (Trips in Lapland, Stockholm, St Petersburg). And to be perfectly honest, I think I wouldn't have enjoyed and discovered so much without this organisation 

 

  • Social events and visits: Moreover, ESN makes us discover a lot of interesting places inside Estonia, not only trips abroad. For example, we have visited an abandoned ex-prison just in the suburbs of Tallinn for very advantageous prices. And that is not all. They are also organising some social events who enable students to be involved in humanitary actions as for example the possibility to go to visit some children in hospitals.

These are the most remarkable actions undertaken by the Erasmus Student Network, at least here in Tallinn. Before coming here, I haven't heard about this organisation at all but right now, I'm almost sure that I would like to be involved in when I'll be back in France, in order to help incoming students to integrate easily  , and also because inside this organisation there is a real family atmosphere.

 

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