The Erasmus Student Network: Local, National and International
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a non-profit, apolitical association of students and former students and is the key volunteer student organization in international higher education in Europe. Its aim is to support the students while on exchange programs, supplying information and any kind of help that can be voluntarily given by its members. We provide opportunities for self-development and cultural understanding, under the principle of Students Helping Students.
ESN Coimbra is a section of the Portuguese network, ESN Portugal, and of the international one, ESN International. ESN International is a pan-European student organisation founded in Copenhagen in 1990. Since then, the network has expanded considerably. At the moment ESN consists of more than 497 sections in 37 countries.
Our goals are:
- improving the social integration of foreign students at the host institution;
- providing more adequate information about exchange programs;
- taking advantage of exchange students’ experience by making them active in the network;
- continuously contributing to the evaluation of the European exchange programs based on the experiences of former exchange students.
In order to pursue these goals, ESN organizes cultural trips around Portugal, guided visits to the most famous monuments in Coimbra, contests and parties as well as many other events that promote the integration amongst Portuguese and other foreign students. There is a public Portuguese Survival Guide with more information about ESN and each local section that you can read here.
The services and activities are completely granted by the volunteer work of a certain number of members; mostly Portuguese students. There are also periodical national meetings (National Platforms) with the other Portuguese local ESN sections, while there is only one international Assembly General Meeting (AGM) per year in which most of the ESN sections around Europe take part.
None of the ESN Coimbra members is paid. ESN Coimbra is a non-profit organization, therefore all the profits from its activities are continuously used to provide training to our volunteers, to pay current and operational bills, to create promotional and informational material and to provide cultural activities for free for foreign students in Coimbra.
We help incoming Exchange students to:
- have any kind of information about the student life in Coimbra (including paperwork)!
- find a suitable accommodation (since we are not an agency, the most we can do is provide a list of rooms where former Erasmus have lived);
- learn about Coimbra from our cultural tours and events;
- learn about Portugal by means of our organised trips.
We are also well known for our great entertaining activities, like:
- weekly parties with special offers for Erasmus and exchange students making the venues breathe a true international, friendly and welcoming atmosphere;
- various events such as international dinners, cinema nights, typical dinners, Meeting Points, Speed Meetings and Tandems;
- sports activities, like kayaking in Mondego’s river and soccer tournaments;
...as well as many other surprises!