Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest student association 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 480 Higher Education Institutions from 37 countries. The network is constantly developing and expanding. We have around 14.500 active members that are in many sections supported by so called buddies mainly taking care of international students. Thus, ESN involves around 34.000 young people offering its services to around 190.000 international students every year.

ESN is working in Higher Education (HE):

  • offering services to 190.000 students
  • 14.500 active members (34.000  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").

Aims & Principles

In synthesis, ESN:

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


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.

Did you know?

The ESN Star, which is a logo of ESN itself, represents the ESN Members standing (but also dancing) in a circle, as they were holding each other’s hands, supporting and helping each other. They are different (four colours, and length) but unite and united they stand, in cooperation, which literally means ‘operating in concert’.

The eight branches of the star, that represent also the Sections of the Network, do not have a centre, but rotate together and are partially overlapping: in such overlapping areas, their identity, what they are (the colours) merge, similarly to what happens when integration takes places in friendship and respect.

Inside the network the greeting ‘Pallomeri!’ is widely used. Originally it comes from Finnish and it has a funny meaning – it means the pool filled with small coloured balls in shopping centres or kid lands where children can play.

For ESN the meaning is different: Pan-European Association Leading Local Organization Making Erasmus Richer Inside. So, PALLOMERI! :)

ESN Song:

Once Erasmus, Always Erasmus: