Erasmus Student Network was established on the 16th of October in 1989 in Ghent, Belgium. Currently, it consists of 528 local sections operating in 40 European countries. Let’s take a look at the history of ESN in Poland.
The history of ESN in Poland began in May, 1994. The very 1st local section (ESN Warsaw) was created at the Warsaw School of Economics. Apart from that, our country was a full member of ESN and we had a National Representative. At this time Poland was not a member of the Erasmus programme. It was a member of the Tempus programme (its goal is to promote cooperation between higher education institutions in the EU and partner countries). Two new local sections were created in 1995 (ESN Łódź and ESN Kraków). However, according to documents of ESN International, it seems ESN in Poland faced some problems in 1996-1997.
A new local section was created at the Medical University of Warsaw in 1998. Three new ones were created in 2001 (ESN SGH at the Warsaw School of Economics, ESN Gdańsk at the Gdańsk University of Technology and ESN UJ at Jagiellonian University in Kraków). Also, Artur Orłowski (the President of ESN SGH) and Michał Zasada (the President of ESN Gdańsk) came up with an idea of nation-wide cooperation between ESN local sections in Poland. The 1st nation-wide meeting of ESN local sections – National Platform took place in Gdańsk in 2003 (from the 9th of May to the 11th of May). Since then it is organized twice a year. Also, the nation-wide projects were introduced:
- ESNcard – the idea of ESN SGH and local sections in Austria and in Italy which was a basis to create an international project in 2004.
- ESN Travel – the idea of ESN Gdańsk, its goal was to create a database of trips (including prices) organized by other ESN local sections for students from other cities.
- Tandem – the idea of ESN SGH, an information exchange platform created for people willing to have a language exchange.
The very 1st Section Presidents’ Meeting (PM) took place in December, 2005. Patryk Rzymyszkiewiecz, the President of ESN Poland, announced that the Association was officially approved on the 13th of December, 2005.
ESN Poland has contributed significantly to the development of ESN pillars. The project SocialErasmus was introduced in May, 2008, in Katowice. Its authors were Justyna Adamiec (ESN UJ) and Magdalena Pawełczyk (ESN UŁ). It was chosen as an international ESN project during the Council of National Representatives (CNR) in 2010 in Warsaw. Another example is ESNOLYMPICS (sport competition). For the 1st time it took place in 2009 in Warsaw during the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Erasmus programme in Poland. It took place on the international level in 2013. Also, the photo contest Discover Europe was created in Poland by Alicja Kocańda (ESN SGH) in 2003.
Currently, there are 42 local ESN sections in Poland. Every year their volunteers help about 11000 foreign students coming to our country.