1. Why ESN?
If you mean why I joined ESN, then the answer is simple and quite standard – because I’d been to Erasmus beforehand. In 2013 I went for Erasmus to Rome. When I was there, I didn’t really take part in the events organised by local ESN. They weren’t exactly helpful before our arrival or during our first few weeks there either. Anyway, I knew that there is an organisation that is meant to take care of incoming students. After coming back to Poland, I decided to start the second degree. Sixth month later, I came to the conclusion that studying two majors at the same time, one of them a philology, a job and a language course is way too much. That’s why I gave up the philology and, having a bit of free time, I started looking for an organisation I could join, with the thought that something like ESN exists at the back of my head.
2. Have you always known that this is the organisation you want to be active in?
I’ve known that I want to be a part of some student organisation. ESN was the first one that I joined after my return from Erasmus, having an experience in student research groups before, and I knew I wanted to try something new. I knew that I’d like to find myself in the international community again and to help Erasmo who came to my city. I hadn’t really got that kind of help myself, so I was aware how important it is. I strived to continue practicing talking in Italian as well, and ESN met all those criteria, so it was an obvious first choice.
3. What made you stay with us for so long?
People. It is said that you come to ESN for Erasmo, but stay for fellow ESN-ers, and that’s true. During this few years of my activity, I’ve met numerous people from many regions of Poland and from all over Europe. It’s amazing when you can meet them during conventions in one of the European cities, or simply by stopping by. It isn’t easy to leave something to which you’ve devoted a few years of hard work. So, on the one hand, you want to make sure that everything will be heading in the good direction, and on the other, it’s wonderful to watch new young people joining with the same enthusiasm as we did, their minds full of ideas and willing to do better and better things. All in all, the answer is fondness, no matter how you look at it.
4. What does being a part of ESN give you?
Now – a nice break from the real world. Before – great opportunities to do fantastic things with even more fantastic people. Upon joining ESN, I wasn’t expecting that I’d be leading a team, or work on a budget in Excel, but this was exactly how my adventure unravelled.
5. How do you remember your beginnings in the ESN?
If I were to use one word, it would “surprisingly”. I joined to meet new people, but I wasn’t expecting that I’d feel like home so soon. I started to take part in everything that I found interesting straightaway. Thanks to that, I had a chance to get to know other members. As the only freashy, I came to the integrative trip day earlier; except for me, there were only more experienced members there, but I didn’t feel out of place at all.
6. Why is it worth it to be in the ESN?
Because no other organisation provides you with such opportunities and a chance to meet great people. You can follow any direction here, regardless of your studies, which is rarely the case in other student organisations. If you want to learn to organise events, you can; if you’d like to get to know more about marketing, there is such an option; if you want to learn how to manage finances, there is a possibility to do so, too. In addition, you have people here who share your passions and see the world similarly; who strive to grow, but at the same time don’t want to create a formal atmosphere straight from the corporation.
7. Which three words best describe ESN?
Challenge, because I’ve always thought that you should face challenges which push you out of your comfort zone, and ESN is perfect for this. I had to say that if you feel 100% ready to do something in ESN, it’s not a job for you, as you can potentially get money for this somewhere else. This is a place to learn.
Yours, because ESN can be for you whatever you want it to be. If you’d like to meet the incoming Erasmo, there is such a possibility; if you want to learn something new, you can. You’ll get as much as you’d like, but nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter – you have to try and assert it.
Adventure, because you never know where it all is leading you. You may think it’s the last year, that you’re about to leave, but some time later you’re taking over a new project or a new function. It’s the best adventure of my life.
8. Has ESN helped you in your job/professional life?
Yes, indeed. Just a few days ago, my manager who was recruiting me told me outright that he offered me the current position because of my experience in ESN. It’s another thing that during my job interviews I was giving almost only examples from ESN, but it is clear that such an experience helps in getting an interesting job. If only you’re willing to get it by being active in ESN.
9. The most interesting memory related to ESN UAM Poznań?
I think that would have to be my first Orientation Week after joining ESN. That was the first year of the new programme, which allowed you to go abroad for the second time, so obviously most of our active members left to go on the exchange. The result was pretty much only the Board was left and we had to plan and prepare everything in 3-4 people. Luckily there was a group of our members who helped us on the ground, saving the whole situation. I still remember though the day when I was in the office, which at that time was in Hanka student dorm, at the last moment I remembered the flag needed to be brought to the meeting point, so I ran out to the tram stop, then got back for the remainder of the office hours, after that there was about an hour to change, so I quickly went home and back to the club where we had a party that evening. Repeat that every day over the span of a week - since we were that few we had to go every event in the morning and evening, and go to the office somewhere in between. In the end, even though we were very short on people and if was extremely stressful, we managed to throw a pretty amazing Orientation Week and I’m very happy going thinking about that time. Needless to say I showed up to classes only on the second week of the year.