1. What does ESN mean to you?
ESN is an incredible adventure, great fun and a pretty good training both when it comes to useful skills and your character. ESN is an opportunity to meet great, involved people who are terrific to work with and it's also an opportunity to do something good for others - foreign students, Polish ones or for the local community.
2. How did your ESN adventure start?
I joined ESN pretty late, only in my third year of studies and only because I met many great ESNers during my Erasmus. Before that I didn't know that something like ESN even existed!
After I came back from my exchange, I found the recruitment event of ESN UW and thought that I might give it a shot. It worked - I became a newbie in March 2016. Then it all went downhill, I was a Tandem group coordinator, local HR, aspiring member of the PR Committee of ESN Poland and after a bit more than a year in ESN I started my mandate in the local Board of Audit. To make sure I have no free time whatsoever, I applied for being a coordinator of ESN Poland Alumni, whom I am still.
3. How did ESN change your life? Why have you joined it?
When I was joining ESN, I thought (and I still do) that if I have so many great memories and experiences from my exchange thanks to ESNers, I should pass them on to Erasmus students in Poland. But it turned out that ESN is not only events for Erasmus, parties or trips. It's something more - people, development, it's taking first steps in totally unknown areas and expanding in those which are close to us.
I think that ESN has added a lot when it comes to my personality, approach to life, people and responsibilities. Those are the soft, unmeasurable effects but very visibly influencing other aspects of life.
I have learnt to cope with difficult situations, rarely happening during your studies, which now yields in my professional career. And of course, something that I will always emphasize - people with whom you can work, party and just talk. This is the greatest value of ESN.
4. If you were an ESN project, what would you be?
I think I would be SocialErasmus. In my opinion, including foreign students in activities for the local community is an immense idea. I like involving myself in such activities and I think they have a huge although an intangible value for both sides.
5. #FunFact about a life in ESN.
Besides new skills and connections, ESN gave me an opportunity to… take a ride with a police car! Thankfully not because I was trouble. I was a translator and support for an Erasmus girl which, unfortunately, was robbed.
At that time, it wasn't funny but everything ended well and we got an interesting memory.
6. Did you go on the Erasmus+ exchange? / What is the most interesting experience you had so far?
Yes, I have spent a half year in Leeuwarden in north Holland and I think this was one of the best decisions in my life. It's hard picking up just one, most interesting experience. I have great memories of visiting various Dutch cities, a wonderful sunset in Rotterdam or traveling all Netherlands just to see Maastricht and even the freakish Dutch weather which locked us for almost a week in our apartment because with - 2°C all roads and pavements became ice rinks. Actually, every single thing was a tremendous experience.
7. What inspires and motivates you the most?
It's hard indicating one source of inspiration and motivation. In ESN that would be actions and involvement of other ESNers, doing a great job and also showing that it is possible even if it doesn't seem so. I'm also trying to focus on the bigger picture of what I am doing - not only on the fact that there is a hard or not really fascinating task awaiting me, but on its goal and where it's going to lead me. I have also learnt that if I start lacking motivation and the challenges overwhelm me, it is worth to take a break. In such situations, I recover well discovering new places and countries. After a break, I get back to work with way more enthusiasm.
8. Favourite place in the world?
I don't have one, favourite place. It can be any place in the world, depending on my mood, and I think that all places are worth discovering.
9. Did ESN help you discover some things you didn’t know you were good at?
I don't know if I would call it a skill in my case but I have discovered that I like training people, sharing the knowledge and conducting workshops. I am happy that in ESN I can grow in that field.
Translation: Sonia Łomnicka