The AGM is known for bringing people together and the activities of the day really built a path towards a more integrated and powerful ESN. Board reports, candidacies, Mobility Fair, Flag parade, Eurodinner – a day not long enough, but certainly one we will remember.
Our president, Safi, pressed the start button with a special energiser, before we all took a seat and absorbed all the long-awaited information. We heard a few teasers about upcoming projects, followed the reports, raised our voting devices to the roof and heard stories from around the network. We were happy to finally see the candidates for the International Board in front of us.
Focus on mobility
Excitement kept growing throughout the day. During the breaks, mascots, slogans and colourful hoodies caught your eye at every step. The Mobility Fair, an event to promote mobility and study opportunities across Europe, was loud and active. 3, 2, 1 – and the sticker hunt begins! There is always a certain energy transmitted through all the t-shirts and hoodies, handshakes and bracelet tyings. Some students are shyer about promoting their university, others can't wait for the questions and tell you straight why you won’t find a better place than their university. Some make you want to book the first flight or at least take mental notes for upgrading your own presentation. We also had the pleasure of having several partners and companies present at the fair to show us everything they can offer to students throughout Europe.
In the afternoon, a panel discussion with representatives from the European Commission, ESN and other European youth organisations took us from Strangers to Friends through three decades of Erasmus mobility. The panel tackled topics including the strenghts and challenges of this fast-growing programme in constant development. Who could be better than us to know how rewarding it is to dedicate time to making it accessible to everyone?
United in diversity
Back in the hotel lobby, colours start to bloom as we prepare for the big event: the Flag Parade, hundreds of students from 40 countries walking through the streets of Berlin wearing their country colours. There are moves to rehearse and balloons, garlands, ribbons to tie. Improvised costumes coupled with traditional clothing inherited from older generations, and no face to be left unpainted.
With our flags as superhero capes we go and face the big boulevards. We start in small groups, in the assorted colours of our countries. Bigger groups let out the first musical notes. Traditional songs mingle with international hits, whistles and alternative instruments. Rain is falling, but the only excuse for having an umbrella is being a professional photographer. Banners plead for multiculturality. It's a ludic atmosphere: we dance, we laugh, exchange props, pass under the big flags. The air is filled with more and more excitement, there is adrenaline, joy and we share the most beautiful feeling: that we are a part of something big. We are united in diversity, we are those who will make a change and be an inspiration for future generations.