A short Q&A with Karolina Rutkowska, the Vice President of the Erasmus Student Network Poland Association. Here are 9 facts about her ESN and personal life.
1. What does ESN mean for you?
For me, ESN means people. People who motivate, who feed others energy and love. They make you believe in yourself! They share goals and ideas, they can achieve great things. Those are the people who are the change in the modern Europe.
2. Why have you joined ESN?
I can’t say it out loud, but I left other student organisation for ESN. I needed an escape from my misery of studying law. I needed people as energetic and curious of the world as I am. Like you know, those who cannot stay for too long in one place. And I have found them in ESN.
3. Fun fact from your #ESNlife.
At ESN UPGRADE Gdańsk 2014 during one of the workshops we were supposed to draw our dream career in ESN on a timeline, including what we had already achieved. Due to the fact that I was one of the three newbies there, I didn’t really have that much to boast of back then. But… You will not believe, what I drew. Starting with a newbie, then a member of the local SocialErasmus team, next the local Coordinator, a member of the local board as a HR manager, later the Chair of the HR Committee, Vice-president of the National Board and finally finishingas the President. Surprised? I was too, when in the summer I realised what I had dreamed. In fact, instead of being the Chair of the HR committee I became the Vice President of ESN Poland and now I don’t plan to run for the main position. But I guess, I have successfully managed to fulfil my newbie dreams.
4. What has changed in your life since you’ve joined ESN?
It seems that despite my education, I am not going to be a lawyer. That’s probably the biggest change in my life. I have found the other part of me, I became more self-confident and found the courage to change my life so to do what really makes me happy.
5. What has ESN taught you?
It may seem cliché, but ESN has taught me so many things, that it’s really difficult to point out the most important ones. Nothing is impossible – that’s for sure! ‘They didn’t know it was impossible so they did it’ – that’s the motto that helps me to face every challenge with joy and energy! Those are Mark Twain’s words. In fact, I understood their deeper meaning after I had joined ESN. It’s incredibly important to leave your ‘comfort zone’ every now and then, because it is when the development begins. Obviously, ESN has helped me to develop in many other fields – especially when it comes to soft and social skills. However, as one of the biggest milestones I would choose the growth of the belief in myself and the knowledge of how important it is to take care of your mind.
6. If you were to be an ESN project, which one would it be?
SocialErasmus of course! Since my very first day in ESN my heart has belonged to that project. During my interview I already had a plan for new projects and events, that I wanted to organise with the section and as soon as I got in, I joined the group. You can guess which one. I am a tremendously open-minded person, curious about the world. I love spending time with people and sharing my experience. I also like to stay in touch with various communities.
7. Have you been on Erasmus exchange?
Of course I have! I was in Nijmegen in the Netherlands, at the Radboud Universitat. It won’t be a surprise if I said it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Although the logistics were difficult to figure out and I held two positions in ESN at that time, I can proudly say I succeeded!
I chose the travelling side of Erasmus, getting to know the country and its culture and making new friends. Evenings however, were often spent on skyping with ESN.
8. Your favourite place on the planet is...?
You know… I can’t stay still for too long, I love changes and discovering new things. There is a place, that has made me stronger on the inside and that’s why it’s one of my favourite ones. It’s a nature reserve in northern Italy.
9. Your favourite word?
Together – together we can do more.