ESN Zadar is founded only two months after the establishment of the first Croatian section, ESN Zagreb, in November, 2011. From that day on, the number of the members varied. Currently we count 17 members, and in Academic year 2013/2014 we got our official office space which makes our work considerably easier.
The program and work of ESN Zadar
In order to facilitate the stay of Erasmus students in a foreign country and to successfully integrate them into a local community, each semester we organize different activities in which they can participate. We can split the events in three categories, the ones which are on the international, national, and local level. International events occur at the same time and in a similar way in the whole Europe, while the national and local events are designed specifically by a city’s or country’s organization.
This Academic year ESN Zadar started in more than a flattering way. Right from the beginning we actively organize foreign students’ social life in form of workshops, which include them in the academic community of the city of Zadar, social gatherings, trips and plans for the entire semester.
The first event of the semester, now traditionally, is Welcome Week which is scheduled the first week of the academic year. Within that week, in collaboration with the International Office of the University of Zadar, we welcome incoming students, introduce ourselves, and meet our students with the campus, its additional objects and components.
Welcome party is held the same week in collaboration with one of the city cafe bars. Speed dates and getting to know the essential parts of Zadar’s culture of life are just some of the most interesting moments of the week.
This event is immediately followed by everyday orientation and help with the documentation for the foreign citizens – all of these procedures are taken care of by the Buddy System – an ESN support system which provides each Erasmus student with a local student, who can, in everyday doubts, be the source of knowledge and help. Buddy System consists not only of ESN members, but also of all of the university students who want to get in contact with the foreign students and hang out. Whoever wants to join Buddy System needs to do it before the beginning of the semester by filling out the application published by ESN Zadar and the International Office.
This year the Erasmus Student Network celebrates its 25th anniversary of existence and active work, which we celebrate throughout the year. The biggest highlight was the 25th anniversary with ESN, an event scheduled on the exact day of the foundation – 16th of October. We gathered around in the Forum and took photographs near the Church of St. Donatus, the symbol of the city of Zadar, waving the flags of the home countries and wearing face paint on our cheeks. We finished this event with the tour of the peninsula and the birthday tea party.
The first thing that comes to mind when mentioning Erasmus+ is multiculturalism and diversity. That is exactly the spirit we want to share, and with that in mind, we organize a series of international dinners. The host always presents the first, so it was ESN Zadar who opened the cooking season with the Croatian dinner. This way we presented Croatia and its culture, and along the way tested the level of knowledge of our Erasmus students through fun games and quizzes. Light motif of the night were karaoke and Polish – Hungarian version of the song “Šuti moj dječače plavi”.
In order for our Erasmus students to get to know the beauties around the city of Zadar, we organized our first trip. Discovery dive and the visit to the Nature park Telašćica was the first trip in this semester whose impact showed that ESN Zadar has good ideas and puts them into action. Namely, in the organization of Esn Zadar, in the collaboration with the diving club Sv. Roko from Bibinje, the Erasmus students had the chance to dive. Hence, we provided them with a unique experience and certainly a memory they will remember all their lives. This project was noticed on a European level as well. Within 471 ESN organizations across Europe, this particular project was awarded with the Star of the week recognition. As indicated in the official explanation, we earned this reward for our great creativity in the design and realization of this project.
What is important to emphasize is that the Star of the week award was presented the second time to ESN Zadar. The previous semester we were winners of this award for the Boat party powered by ESN Zadar which had 250 participants, which include Erasmus students from Prague and Budapest who visited Zadar for this occasion.
The following project was a weekend in Dubrovnik within which the student visited also the city of Cavtat. The event was realized in collaboration with ESN Split. In that short period of time the Erasmus students from Zadar and Split managed to walked throughout the city walls, comment on the places where the famous series Game of Thrones took place, “climb” to the Srđ mountain, get to know the local customs and have a good time.
Soon it was time to celebrate ESN Zadar’s 3rd birthday. And what better way to celebrate it than with a birthday cake and a birthday party. Rio bar fulfilled the expectations as a host, and Erasmus students wished us many more birthdays.
Every theme party is a new experience, but the ones which were especially noticed became our tradition. That why we organized Chocolate party again. A pile of sweets and calories, homemade chocolate liquor, chocolate popcorns and chocolate cookies are an essential part of this event. And that’s not all; there are a lot more other celebrations, theme parties and gatherings, but not to focus only on the nights out, we would like to present other components of the ESN network.
What makes ESN different from other student associations is its social component. SocialErasmus is one of the fundamental pillars of ESN spirit that promotes engagement of international students in social activities in the local community. International SocialErasmus week takes place every year at the same time, from November 10th to November 16th. ESN Zadar is among the first when it comes to the SocialErasmus events.
SocialErasmus workshop at Frogo center is only one of such activities. Erasmus students and members of ESN Zadar had the opportunity to spend some time with Down syndrome children, painting and playing whole afternoon. The children have also taught their new friends some games. Even though the international students know only few words of Croatian, that didn't seem to be an obstacle as children accepted them very well as soon as they came.
Erasmus in Schools was held the same week in Franjo Petrić high school where ESN members presented Erasmus+ program and its possibilities. Besides that, our Erasmus students have also talked about their countries and the ways of studying there, and the reasons that encouraged them to come to Zadar. High school students were extremely interested and listened to the lecture with great attention, after which they took the opportunity to ask Erasmus students about their experiences.
This year's last SocialErasmus activity is of national character with the theme Create an Advent Calendar with ESN Zadar. The workshop took place in kindergarten Šuškalica which traditionally collaborates with ESN Zadar. Erasmus students were making an advent calendar with the children, and despite the language barrier, communicated and played with them.
Transforming Erasmus programme into an Erasmus+, brings also sport into the whole story. Since Zadar is a city of basketball, we must not forget sport matches. Bearing that in mind, we followed basketball games, like the one Zadar – Crvena Zvezda, and also danced Tango Argentino with ESN Zadar with the professional tango dance club – Tango Zadar.
With all of these activities, we successfully educate ourselves on the national and international ESN level in order to lead our association as better and professional possible. We also participate in international and national ESN conferences and shape our network in the ESN spirit.
University of Zadar passed the assessment within the ExchangeAbility programme and data are now available on MapAbility application.
Contact ESN Zadar
Office: University of Zadar
Ruđera Boškovića bb (DHM building, first floor, next to the Student’s Council’s room)