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. Whereas, ESN Poland has 42 local sections which volunteers help around 11,000 international students coming for exchange in our country.
The history of ESN in Poland began in May 1994. The very first local section (ESN Warsaw) was created at the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH). At the same time, our country was a full member of Erasmus Student Network and we had a National Representative even though Poland was not a member of the Erasmus programme yet but a member of the Tempus programme (its goal was to promote cooperation between higher education institutions in the EU and partner countries). In 1995 two new local sections were created - ESN Łódź and ESN Kraków.
The network in Poland grew bigger gradually - in 1998 another section was established, this time at the Medical University of Warsaw. 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). Short time after, Artur Orłowski (President of ESN SGH) and Michał Zasada (President of ESN Gdańsk) came up with an idea of a nationwide cooperation between ESN local sections in Poland. The first national 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 organised twice a year. Further, national 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 first Section Presidents’ Meeting (PM) took place in December, 2005. Patryk Rzymyszkiewicz, the former President of ESN Poland, announced that the association was officially approved and registered 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 (now National Erasmus Games). Its first edition took place in 2009 in Warsaw during the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Erasmus programme in Poland. Later, in 2013, the first international edition was held. Moreover, the photo contest Discover Europe was created in Poland by Alicja Kocańda (ESN SGH) in 2003.