Students helping students

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the largest student association in Europe. It was established on 16 October 1989 and was legally registered in 1990 to promote and develop student exchanges.

We are present in more than 1,000 higher education institutions in 39 countries and our network is constantly expanding. We have about 13,000 active members who look after international students. In addition, ESN engages around 40,000 young people offering its services to around 350,000 foreign students per year.

ESN in higher education:

  • offering assistance to 350 000 students per year
  • 13 000 active members (additional 34 000 volunteers outside the organisation)
  • on average, our aid has grown 12% annually since 2005
  • ESN operates at three levels: local, national and international.

ESN works to create a more mobile and flexible learning environment by supporting and developing exchanges of students at different levels and providing intercultural experience also to those students who cannot access exchanges abroad (“internationalisation at home”).

In conclusion, ESN:

  • acts in the interest of foreign students
  • works to improve the social and practical integration of international students
  • represents the needs and rights of international students at local, national and international level
  • provides relevant information on mobility programmes
  • motivates students to study abroad
  • reintegrates incoming exchange students
  • contributes to the improvement and accessibility of student mobility
  • takes care of its members
  • values volunteering and active citizenship

Who are we for?

  • Students returning from an exchange

Students returning from an exchange are supported in the reintegration process in their home country by maintaining contact with the international community. Many local sections are created by students who have been exchanged, often because they had good experience of the period or because they felt they did not have help during their stay in a foreign country. They also understand better the problems and challenges in a foreign environment.

  • Exchange students

However, the main focus of ESN is on current exchange students, who often face problems (and feel abandoned) in new environments. ESN therefore offers assistance in the academic, social and practical integration process. This is done mainly through activities in local sections that include cultural and social events such as excursions to different places in the country, film evenings, language projects, international food festivals and recent, but no less important, events. In addition, many sections have introduced mentoring systems that help international students mainly in academic and practical integration.

ESN also provides relevant information and encourages exchange students to gain international experience and relevant insights into different cultures.

Causes of ESN:


Education & Youth

Enviromental Sustainability

Health & Well-being

Skills & Employability

Social Inclusion