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What ESN does for you ?

ESN supports exchange students before, during and after their study abroad period. By taking care and assisting the exchange students during the whole exchange experience, we can make your time and experience abroad easier and more exciting.

Before the exchange

The first step towards an exchange is to get the right information. ESN provides information both about the academic aspects of an exchange, as well as about practical issues connected to the stay (such as accommodation, administration, costs of living or local culture).

Before going on exchange, contact the local section of your host university (if there is any), have a look at their website where you can already find a lot of information and details concerning your stay or do not hesitate to contact them directly to ask about anything else you need to know.

If you for any reason cannot go on exchange, you might be interested to join the ESN section in order to get the international experience at home. In this way, you will be able to get to know international students, brush up your language skills and find out about different cultures and habits. It is also a good preparation for your own international experience – to see the situation of the international students from the other side and to know what to expect during the first days abroad.

During the exchange

One of the main tasks of ESN sections is to improve the social integration of exchange students and to represent their needs and rights. More than 390 ESN sections all around Europe organise an infinite number of activities for international students in order to integrate them in local community and support them.

The activities are numerous – some of the examples follow: mentor / buddy / tutor system, orientation / welcome week, language exchange projects (such as Tandem or Language Cafes), cultural and social activities, trips, and events.

If you face any problem, injustice or if you feel you were treated unfairly by your home or host university, or if your Erasmus Charter was not respected, please contact your ESN section, which will represent your needs towards the involved institution.

After the Exchange

You have an opportunity to express your opinion about the exchange experience.

Students returning from an exchange are often facing a challenging reintegration process in their home countries. They are also offered a support and help by ESN – joining a local ESN section will give them the opportunity to continue living the exciting international experience.

Many local sections are set up and run by former exchange students. If you want to join an ESN section, just find one in your city. If there is no ESN section yet, there is nothing easier and more intriguing than starting a local section on your own, possibly with help of your friends and other former exchange students.


ESN Card

About the ESNcard

The ESNcard is the membership card of the Erasmus Student Network. It is a proof of membership in an ESN section and so indirectly of the ESN Network. To learn more visit our website

The ESNcard is also used as a discount card in many cities and countries around Europe. Please visit the partner page of the website of your ESN local section or your ESN country to find more information.

The ESNcard is valid for 12 months and only valid with a photo and correct personal data. The card is strictly personal and cannot be used by somebody else than the card holder.

Who can get the ESNcard?

You can get the ESNcard, if you belong to one of the following groups :

  • You have been an international student (e.g Erasmus or any other exchange programme)
  • You are currently an international student
  • You are a member of an ESN section

How can you get the ESNcard?

The ESNcard can be obtained exclusively from your ESN local section. Please contact your local section to get the ESNcard.

Sections are kindly asked to contact their National Representative to get more information about how to order ESN Cards.

What fields does ESNcard contain?

It consists of several fields; all must be filled in in the process of issuing the card:

  • PHOTO FIELD (for a photograph of the card holder; with a photo size of 2.7 cm x 3.7 cm )
  • NAME (for name and surname of the card holder)
  • ESN SECTION (either the issuing section or home section of the card holder)
  • COUNTRY (home country of the card holder)
  • VALIDITY (it’s valid for 12 months since the date on the card)
  • CARD NUMBER (unique number of each card)


What is ESN ?

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest student associations in Europe. It was born on the 16th October 1989 and legally registered in 1990 for supporting and developing student exchange.

We are present in more than 430 Higher Education Institutions from 37 countries. The network is constantly developing and expanding. We have around 13.500 active members that are in many sections supported by so called buddies mainly taking care of international students. Thus, ESN involves around 29.000 young people offering its services to around 180.000 international students every year.

ESN is working in Higher Education (HE):

  • offering services to 180.000 students
  • 13.500 active members (29.000  with the buddies included)
  • mainly on a volunteer basis
  • with an average annual growth rate of 12% since 2005

ESN is operating on three levels: local, national, and international.

ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing the student exchange from different levels, and providing an intercultural experience also to those students who cannot access a period abroad (« internationalisation at home« ).

Who are we for?

Homecoming students

The students who are returning from exchange are being supported in reintegration process in their home countries by keeping contact with an international environment. Many local sections are set up by former exchange students, often because they have had good experiences from their exchange period or because they felt a lack of help during their exchange. They also understand better the issues and challenges in a foreign environment.

Exchange students

However, the main focus of ESN is placed on current exchange students, who often face problems (and feel abandoned) in their new environments. Therefore, ESN offers help in academic, social and practical integration process. This is mainly done through activities in the local sections, which include cultural and social events such as trips to various places within the country, film nights, language projects, international food festivals and last, but not least, parties. In addition to that, many sections have introduced mentor systems, which help the international students mainly in academic and practical integration.

ESN also provides relevant information and encourages the future exchange students to gain the international experience and gain relevant insight to different cultures.

Vision, Mission and Values of ESN


Approved at AGM 2009 in Utrecht.

“Enrichment of society through international students.”


Approved at AGM 2009 in Utrecht.

« ESN is the key volunteer student organisation in international higher education in Europe. We provide opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of SHS – Students Helping Students. »


Approved at AGM 2009 in Utrecht.

The values of Erasmus Student Network that all members stand and work for are:

  • unity in diversity, diversity in the unity
    We all have different backgrounds, but share one common aim and goal.
  • students helping students
    We passionately commit ourselves to volunteering for the benefits of others
  •  fun in friendship and respect. We enjoy relations based on respect.
  • international dimension of the life
    We are open-minded, mobile, like to discover and explore, to co-operate and to interact to break borders
  • love for Europe as an area of peace and cultural exchange
    We live and benefit from the cultural richness of Europe to the utmost.
  • openness with tolerance
    We understand and accept others and learn from them
  • cooperation in the integration
    We share a holistic view towards internationality.

    All these features are included in the vision, mission and Corporate Design of ESN, developed by Koeweiden Postma in the period from January to March 2006.



Approved at AGM 2009 in Utrecht.

The nine principles of ESN:

  • ESN works in the interest of international students.
  • ESN works to improve the social and practical integration of international students.
  • ESN represents the needs and rights of international students on the local, national and international level.
  • ESN provides relevant information about mobility programmes.
  • ESN motivates students to study abroad.
  • ESN works with the reintegration of homecoming students.
  • ESN contributes to the improvement of different mobility programmes.
  • ESN cares about its members.
  • ESN values volunteering and active citizenship.