What is ESN?

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

We have more than 500 sections in 40 countries and we are constantly developing and expanding. This happens on a local, national and international level. On these three levels we have around 14.500 active members. On a local level these members are supported by local volunteers in the roles of buddies, guides, committee-members and so on. Thus, ESN involves around 34.000 young people offering its services to around 190.000 international students every year.

ESN in numbers

  • Offering services to 190.000 students
  • 14.500 active members (34.000 with the local volunteers included), mainly on a volunteer basis
  • Average annual growth rate of 12% since 2005


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. Usually a semester starts with introductory activities, after which the semester is filled with cultural and social events such as trips to various places within the country, film nights, language projects, international food festivals and parties. In addition to that, many sections have introduced buddy systems, which help the international students mainly in academic and practical integration.

International Students

ESN The Netherlands does not only focus on exchange students, but also on full-time degree international students. International students are more than welcome to become part of ESN and feel the international orientated environment! ESN also provides relevant information and encourages the future exchange students to gain the international experience and gain relevant insight to different cultures.