Still, haven’t gathered up the courage to sign up for an international ESN event? Maybe you are not sure whether that is a place to be or you are just shy, and you are still debating whether that is a good idea or not… Well, don’t worry because your fellow ESNer is about to tell all the reasons you should do it.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Filip
almost ten months ago and I can tell you one thing; he is the embodiment of ESN spirit
! And what do I mean by it? I mean that he has been a member of ESN Croatia for three years and he has done it all: from being a newbie to becoming a member of Board support at Croatia’s national level (and a lot more than that, but more on that a bit later). He has been travelled around doing ESN related events, being a part of them and sharing his ESN experience with other students. I asked him if he would do this interview with me and he kindly accepted. The focus of the interview was the AGM in Costa Brava
and his experience there as that was the last international event he attended. But first I asked him to share something about himself and his experience in ESN.
1. Tell me something about your ESN experience.
Filip: I have been a member of ESN since January 2015. From then I have done it all, I have been a part of a couple working groups and committees (CROmCom, CROnet) in Croatia, I have had the position of a team coordinator, a local VP and a National ME Coordinator. I haven’t been interested in the international level (yet).
2.What was your first international event?
Filip: It was CEP in Hungary in 2016. Around 200 people were there from all over central Europe. I was amazed and inspired by this event so much.
3. How did that event affect you and your motivation?
Filip: Right after this event, I got so inspired and motivated to continue my work in ESN because at that event I realized that this was the community I really wanted to be a part of. This is where I can find myself and I believe that there is something here for everyone involved. This event definitely had a big impact on my ESN experience.
4. So, this year you decided to apply for the AGM. Why now and what was your position?
Filip: I applied for the position of the National Delegate (I wanted to help our NR). It was my desire to guide our delegation, to help educate them on the relevant topics but also to make sure that everyone in the delegation was there and was being a part of that experience. It was a bit stressful, but the AGM is the perfect place to see how the whole network works because more than 700 people are there. Moreover, everybody is more than welcome to discuss all the topics and you get the unique opportunity to meet people from all around Europe that are a part of our network. We can exchange our thoughts, opinions and best practices together.
5. What would you say, was the best part?
Filip: It was seeing our whole network united. Over 700 people from all over Europe were there and we had so much in common. We were discussing different topics, we had different opinions, but you feel connected to all of them, even though you do not know each and every person there. Even better, you can approach everyone freely and just talk about different things without hesitation.
6. On the other hand, what was the most unexpected thing?
Filip: It was people approaching me and already knowing who I was. You know, being active in this network, most people you get to “meet” online, so definitely, people coming to say “hi” and finally talking to my ESN friends in person.
7. What did you learn?
Filip: I learned a lot about ESN itself and how things work on the international level. Moreover, how ESN can impact society and how I (as an ESN-er) can be a part of it. I realized that young people in Europe can easily work together if we are working for the same cause and of course, change our reality.
8. How will this affect your future in ESN?
Filip: I got some great ideas to implement in the ME project I am involved in, and it also motivated me to join the international level somewhere in the future, because I realized it is not that different from the local level. Both have the same goal. We are advocating for mobility, just at the international level, things are more complex.
9. Would you go again?
Filip: I would definitely go again because I think I need to learn more and the AGM is the perfect place to get a new perspective on ESN and the perfect place to learn a lot about the network.
10. Do you have a message for other ESN-ers who are thinking about going to the AGM?
Filip: Be prepared for the AGM. Read everything you are supposed to because it will be easier to keep up. Of course, if you are new to ESN first go to a regional platform because all the important topics may seem a bit too abstract and regional platforms would ease people into all of it. You learn a lot, you get connected with other people. And the AGM is the place to learn why we are called “Erasmus Student Network”. This is a network of people that are connected and making a difference in Europe.
So, here you have it. If you lack inspiration and motivation, or simply want to learn more about ESN, meet new people and make a change in today’s Europe, go to international events, be active and curious, because, clearly, being at international events DOES make a difference.
Written by: Željka Gligora (member of CROmCom - the national media team)
Proofreading: Željka Gligora (member of CROmCom - the national media team)
Design by: Vedrana Kovačić (communication manager of ESN Croatia)