As some of you may already know, I’m an enthusiast supporter of ESN ( Erasmus Student Network, the largest students organisation in Europe). ESN has various projects from lobbying to the European Commission, to Social Erasmus projects, promoting mobility among students, exchange students local integration activities, etc. Every year, at the AGM ( Annual General Meeting), representatives from all sections in Europe are gathering for a weekend to debate different matters of general interest and to vote for their new international board. Here are a few lessons I’ve learnt after my last weekend spent in Milan.
1. I love ESN. AGM’s or other international events make me realise again and again and again why I love ESN and why I am so happy to be part of this network. Responsible, enthusiastic, creative and hard working people make me feel special and they also increase my awareness of how big of an impact we have as a network.
2. Age has no limits. I’ve seen people who were 40 + alumni and brought their ’97 ESN t-shirts. They are still involved in ESN even now and they keep up with absolutely everything we are doing.
3. Teams. Organising an event for 650 people is hard. However, teaming up with amazing people can definately make an event successful.
4. Diversity. Working with people of all kinds, white, black, gays, lesbians, disabled, short, tall makes you better understand diversity and get faster over any discrimination ideas that may be happening in your head.
5. Sharing best practices increases your enthusiasm and motivation with 1000 % and all you want is to get home and implement everything in your country too, as most of the ESN projects are crossnational.
6. Timing is crucial. Nobody wants to be waiting for the bus for too long, nobody wants to miss a flight. I have quite some bad experiences with missing flights and I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone because its very frustrating and time consuming.
7. Meet people. As many as possible because you may never know when you need their support. It’s good to be confident and smart about everything you do. Let people know what you do and share best practices. That is very important and something to always be kept in mind.
8. Social media is crucial. Having a network with about 13 K active members is quite a big thing and when you have an event as big as the AGM is important to have everybody know what is happening there. It’s beneficial both for the network and external stakeholders and parteners.
9. Romanians. When I meet Romanians I’m more shy for no reason and always have the tendancy of complaing about something. It’s probably a Romanian thing we have in our blood and something we hardly can control.
10. And last but not least, Think big. Go big.