More than 150 members from Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Austria and guests from Serbia and Ukraine participated in the four-day-event dedicated to bettering and strengthening our network.
Being there myself, I am grateful that I have this opportunity to tell you more about what goes on during this international event and maybe even convince you to attend one in the future yourself.
Firstly, I would like to underscore that we were lucky, I would even say blessed, with great weather conditions that allowed us to create great memories without having to worry about layers and layers of clothes on our bodies. No, Mother Nature was kind to us and showered us with rays of sunshine over the course of all 4 days and it was great because we had some of our activities held outside. I do not even want to think about what would have happened if the temperatures had dropped below zero (as it sometimes happens).
Now that we got that information on the record, let’s focus on the agenda and the aim of the event.
Agenda. Agenda. Agenda.
The word we are all well acquainted with and dread it at the same time. And let me tell you, I was scared. Why? Because I have experience with agendas being really exhausting and hard on the body and mind. The result – no concentration, loss of interest and the homesick feeling creeping in the back of the head. But, this time it was different.
The agenda was compiled of both presentations and workshops (as it usually is), but they were set up so intelligently that, in my humble opinion, anyone and everyone could go through them without having to feel the exhaustion at the end of the day. I was super impressed and thankful that I didn’t have to drink energy drinks or too much coffee just to keep myself alert.
Ladies and gentlemen I present you - presentations!
So little presentations, so many workshops! In my opinion that was a smart move. We had a few presentations that introduced us to the partners of ESN and CEP and Tijana, the IB representative, held a presentation on the topic of ESN causes. All very short and to the point, nothing more to say there.
On Friday and Saturday, we had to choose two workshops to attend, which summed up to six hours of workshops—great! Some were great, meaning I would like to implement them in my own section, while some need some improvement. But, as the saying goes, you win some; you lose some. The time flew by pretty fast and I have learned something new, what more could I ask for.
The last thing I would like to comment on was a simulation that was held on the topic of a referendum in ESN and ESN review. The simulation lasted for about three hours, but man, they really flew by. We got a chance to experience what the referendum would look like and a chance to comment on it and say our suggestions on how to make it better. It was an original way of showing how things function when it comes to debating an issue or proposal and then voting on it. It would be great to implement more simulations like this in general, well if I were the one to be asked.
Off-time or rather social programme
I was so happy to see that the social programme was very relaxed and focused on us having fun, rather than going out to the club. We had a flag parade (a great way to open this type of event) on Thursday and on Friday and Saturday we got to enjoy ourselves by singing karaoke, participating in a city rally, or just eating outside at a barbeque and later playing games in a bar. I did get to know some people from other countries, but mostly I was with my own delegation. I do not mean to say that is bad, but I feel like we didn’t really get to mingle as much as I would have wanted. But there are other international events and more opportunities to meet other ESNers.
Connection with my delegation
As I have already mentioned, I was hanging out with my people. And it was awesome! We got to get to know each other better and have fun in general. I am positive that we even learned from each other and some of the things we talked about can be brought back home to our sections and help us grow stronger as a Network.
I would also like to say how proud I am of us because we showed unity and how ESN Croatia has great best practices that others can learn from.
Connection with other delegations
Taking into account that there was around 200 of us, it is reasonable to say that it is impossible to meet everyone. And that was my general overview. Some of the countries have so many sections that their delegates used this opportunity to get to know each other – which is fine, don’t get me wrong, but it also means that we don’t get to mingle together as much. However, it is all up to you. If you want to meet other ESNers, you have to do it by yourself and the good news is – nobody is stopping you. I am not saying that I did not get the chance to meet other delegates, I did, but maybe I should have tried harder. Well, I know better for the next time.
If you want to broaden your knowledge about your region or ESN in general, you just have to attend your regional platform. That is the simplest truth. If you want to help your sections or country grow, again you have to attend RPs. You must get involved. And I am not pushing you to do it, but I am advising you. Why? Because we are all different. We all have something special and different to offer and maybe inspire others. So, if you want to do all of that or experience it, what are you waiting for? Just go for it. Apply to be your section’s delegate and experience ESN from a different point of view. Learn, grow and share because that is the only way we can help our community become even better and more connected.
Through these experiences, we truly become united in diversity.
Written by: Željka Gligora (member of CROmCom - the national media team)
Proofreading: Željka Gligora (member of CROmCom - the national media team)