1. What does ESN mean to you?
Right now I can say without any hesitation that ESN has become a part of my life. It is the everydayness by facing unusual actions, a number of challenges, duties and responsibilities that I love. ESN means fantastic people who unexpectedly appear in my life and surprisingly create wonderful working groups, cooperations and real friendships lasting for years. It is the organisation that I happily commend to my family, potential employers and those not acquainted with out activities. I am proud of ESN.
2. How did your ESN adventure start?
I remember all the feelings accompanying the first activities I have organised with ESN: exhilaration, satisfaction, awareness of facing new challenges, anxiety of international environment or failure. I work in almost every working group and attend all the events. The first event that I have ever initiated, was a trip to the Museum of the history of Polish Jews POLIN. Are you curious how it went? Well, terribly! Organising the meeting at 4:30 p.pm., I hadn’t realised that the last entrance to the exhibition started at 4:00 p.m. Ever since that moment, I have been developing my crisis management skills. Together with the group of international students we decided to marvel at the beauty of Polish autumn strolling down the streets of picturesque Warsaw. An enormous step in the beginnings of my ESN career was UPGRADE Sulejów. Shortly after that I became the local ESNcard Coordinator.
3. How did ESN change your life?/Why have you joined it?
I have started studying not knowing that a dozen months later I would be a member of a student organisation. Since the very beginning, I have searched for new activities which would make my everyday life more interesting and exciting. I did many things. I was a member of a student’s club, then I was representing my faculty before it’s authorities and Student’s Parliament. But I was missing something. Before starting the second year of studying, I had decided to go on a camp organised by my university. I had an opportunity to take part in many workshops and lectures. They weren’t obligatory but they filled perfectly all the free time I had. That was the time that I heard about ESN for the first time. Was I interested in the presentation? Not at all. I didn’t even want to attend it, although being gently forced to do it by my friends. ‘Come Natalia, you’ll just be a part of the crowd’. Having no other choice but to say yes, I agreed to come. You shouldn’t be surprised that a month later I was sitting at the inauguration meeting of ESN UKSW. Although, all the things said by the members seemed to be super abstract, I felt like staying there. Who would ever think that for this long? Who would ever think that my life would change this much?
4. If you were an ESN project, what would you be?
This question has surely been the most problematic one, since I can’t clearly decide which project reflects my personality. If I were to choose, my first thought would be Discover Europe. I am not scared to say that I’m an artistic soul with the sense for aesthetics and sensitivity for the beauty of the movies, music, photography, sometimes living in La La Land, even though the field of my studies is rather technical. I have been told that it can be seen in my Instagram profile. Moreover, I associate the project with creativity, using unexpected solutions with a different approach.
5. #FunFact about a life in ESN.
We all realise that ESN sections generate countless number of events on Facebook. It is common that we share and click ‘attend’ under posts of others. By this we increase the reach and interest in it. I am not able to summarise how many of my friends have asked me about my bilocation! The questions always concern me being everyday at a different party in various parts of Poland. I was even asked if I still study in Warsaw because I ‘participated’ in a recruitment to ESN in Poznań.
6. Have you gone on the Erasmus+ exchange? / What is the most interesting experience you've had so far?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an opportunity to take part in the Erasmus+ exchange. I regret it a lot, however, I am full of hope that one day I will be able to do it. If I don’t go on a exchange to study abroad, I will definitely try doing an internship.
7. What inspires and motivates you the most?
My biggest inspiration and source of motivation are people that I work with and spend time everyday. No one knows a time and a place when our thinking and perception will change. It is people who make me feel more energetic. It is them who release good emotions in me which I spread among others during our meetings and trainings.
8. Favourite place in the world?
There is one place on Earth, that I come back to. I go there everytime I need a well-earned rest and an escape from the everyday world. It is my family home, a tiny village near the east of Warsaw. The most beautiful and colorful place on Earth. Especially in the summer, when the greenery changes my backyard into a real grove.
9. Did ESN help you discover some things you didn’t know you were good at?
I think that each and every year being an ESN member changes my perspective. I learn about skills that I didn’t realise I had had. I always joke about me being an expert in crisis management. I’m often surprising myself that despite the complete lack of artistic talent, I am able to make a graphic out of nothing or even provide training in a field that seemingly is not really familiar to me.