Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest European student network organization acting in the field of student mobility and internalization of higher education. ESN is a non-profit organization of nearly 500 local sections in 37 countries in close to 500 Higher Education Institutions gathering over 13.500 active volunteers. The network provides support services to over 180.000 international students on annual basis and works for their needs by facilitating their mobility period, ensuring social cohesion, reintegration and by enhancing intercultural awareness and active citizenship. ESN ensures student participation in education and
training policy through providing its members with trainings, seminars and non-formal education opportunities, which contributes to the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting student exchanges at different levels and providing internalisation at home. ESN aims to further develop European mobility, active citizenship and volunteering.
The Erasmus Student Network conducts every year several EU funded research studies and social projects addressing the quality issues of learning mobility.
Below a list of the most relevant projects ESN has been working on:
- PRIME (Problems in Recognition In Making Erasmus) the first study was launched in 2009 and continued in 2010 and 2011. In 2014 the study was extended to mobility for traineeships and called
- STORY (Strengthening the Traineeship Opportunities for International Youth). It surveyed problems in recognition that Erasmus students face when they come back from their Erasmus exchange. According to this survey, only 73% of the Erasmus students receive full academic recognition for their studies abroad. This showed that recognition problems continue to be an obstacle in the Erasmus mobility. This is one of the main obstacles that discourage students from going abroad.
- PRIME 2010 and 2011 is the follow up of the first edition of the study. The studies aims to analyse and monitor the process of recognition of studies and traineeships abroad, various procedures and rules used at different Higher Education Institutions around Europe as well as their accessibility. The main remaining problems in recognition revealed by the study are: incompatibility of study programmes, problems with the credit calculation, problems with the grade transfer, bureaucratic issues, attitude of professors, insufficient information provision. The study includes and ends with recommendations to stakeholders for future actions.
- The impact of Erasmus mobility and Intensive programmes on skills development, employability, institutional development and the Internationalisation of higher education institutions” is a study project managed by the consortium with CHE Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung GmbH, Brussels Education Services sprl, Compostela Group of Universities and the Erasmus Student Network, as a service contract with the European Union (represented by the European Commission, Directorate General for Education & Culture). It is a two year study aiming to investigate the impact of all mobility programmes on skills development, employability, institutional development and the internationalisation of higher education in Europe. The Erasmus Student Network is mainly in charge of promoting and disseminating the different surveys and reaching all students and graduated people that have benefited from the programmes. Around 60.000 young people have been reached already in the preliminary survey in 2013.
- STORY – Strengthening the Training Opportunities for International Youth, a project conducted 2013-2014 that improved the accessibility and quality of international placements and increased the awareness regarding the existence of such opportunities for young graduates. The project analysed the impact and quality of training mobility programmes and survey obstacles and expectations observed by the main actors involved in training mobility (Students, HEIs, NAs and Hosting Companies/Organisations). A platform connecting interns with internships www.erasmusintern.org was created in the aftermath of the research.
- EVA – Erasmus Voting Assessment, a project conducted 2013, by AEGEE, ESN and GEF funded by the European Commission’s LLL programme. The aim of the project was to investigate through a scientific research across Europe the voting behaviour of Erasmus students in the European Union’s parliament elections. The study evaluates the impact of ERASMUS programme in students’ European citizenship and participation in democratic processes like the European Parliament Elections. The results showed there is a positive correlation between having benefited from the Erasmus programme and conducting acts of European Citizenship such as voting in the 2014 European Parliament Elections.
Activities and experience of the partner organisation in the areas relevant for this project:
The Erasmus Student Network AISBL works in the interest of international students by improving the conditions of student learning mobility (integration, advocacy on vertical levels, provision of information, evaluation of mobility programmes, promotion, motivation and preparation) and by enhancing internationalisation, intercultural understanding and active participation in Europe.
The main activities of the organisation at the international level are research projects in different mobility and higher education related issues. ESN has a professional secretariat of 6 staff members and 5 full time volunteers working in Brussels and other 300 active volunteers working part time in supporting bodies of the organisation such as committees, working groups or project teams. The international headquarters has a professional team of experienced employees with extensive knowledge of European Projects and general management. The team is accustomed to conducting several large-scale European projects simultaneously and can mobilize its network and alumni easily to take part in projects.