ESN is a one of a kind organisation that supports exchange students during their period abroad. It is about students helping students. The members, as well as the exchange students, benefit from the organisation, and here is a selection of just five of the many skills you get to develop within ESN:
1. Intercultural communication
At some point in your ESN life, you will notice that you are constantly surrounded by people from all over the world, and there is nothing odd or uncomfortable about it. You know which stereotypes are true, and which are not; what is considered rude in certain countries, and what is not; which gestures are an absolute taboo, in some countries, and whether your sense of humour will be appreciated or not.
2. Time management
Booking a bus, creating posts on Facebook, coming up with ideas for future events and writing a thesis at the same time? We bet many ESNers can relate to this. With volunteering for ESN, comes a lot of responsibilities, plenty of tasks and brainstorming all the time. Meanwhile, your university life is full of assignments and exams to study for. Your agenda will be full of notes, one on top of another, but being able to accomplish all the tasks is a beneficial skill in your future working life.
During the first days, exchange students have difficulties understanding the local language. You might have to improve your translating skills, be patient and helpful. Your English will improve significantly and you will most probably learn the basics of some other languages with the help of exchange students.
4. Ability to work under pressure
Sometimes things don’t go as planned: a student is not satisfied with the service, many deadlines are approaching at the same time, a trip has to be cancelled – as an ESNer, you will have to face at least one of these problems. Being able to deal with all the stress is relevant experience that will help in your future working life, since problems occur every now and then it is important to be able to handle force majeure situations carefully and effectively.
Brainstorming is an essential part of ESN: coming up with ideas for fun events, promotional material, keeping students interested 24/7—all of this requires a lot of creativity. You can develop your skills as a graphic designer, event manager, blogger, or even pass on your knowledge by organising various workshops.
These and many other valuable skills can be obtained from volunteering in ESN. You can significantly improve your employability after having been a member of this awesome network. If you want to know how to make your CV brighter – you should definitely check out the Skills and Volunteering Booklet; an amazing collection of all the skills you can obtain whilst volunteering in ESN.