Everything started with a group of wanderlust students who experienced the beauty of travelling and learning from other cultures. During their Erasmus experience, some of them came in touch with ESN sections and that is how on the 18th of December 2012, our section was born.
As stated above, ESN Osijek was officially recognised at the National Platform held in 2012 and started working immediately after the establishment. Our first Local Board was established for the academic year 2012/2013 when the six major functions in ESN Osijek were founded.
With a lot of hard work, the section was able to stand tall and slowly became what it is today—working on broadening horizons in our small community, promoting mobility, and improving opportunities for our students in taking their first steps abroad.
Even though we are a small section with around 20 members, we are doing great things! So far, we have had six of our section members as a part of the National Board and one of them, Tajana Mohnacki, is currently starting her second mandate in the International Board as the Vice-President of Erasmus Student Network AISBL. Our current Local Board consists of the President - Mihaela Kolić, Vice-President - Lucija Bardić, Treasurer - Ana Koturić, and Communication Manager - Božo Tadić. They also work closely with Local Coordinators. The current Local Board Support is made of Events Coordinator - Ema Šibila, Social Inclusion Coordinator - Dora Čeč, Sports and Cultural Coordinator - Marissa Bura, Financial Manager - Božo Tadić, and HR Coordinator - Dora Čeč.
Our biggest partner is the University of J. J. Strossmayer. This collaboration improves the Erasmus experience of our incoming students, but at the same time offers a wider hand of support for our outgoing ones. It establishes the section as a force to be reckoned with and is well known in our local society.
We, of course, cooperate with many other associations, which are not just involved in students’ work. Among many of them are Association “Bubamara” (Ladybug) that works with people with Down syndrome, Association “Mogu” that is involved in therapeutic horseback riding, Info-centre “Proni”, IAESTE, Children’s home “Klasje”, etc.
Most activities we organize on a daily basis are focused on the incoming exchange students, on integrating them into everyday life in Osijek. Every semester starts with a Welcome Week. Among the most popular are Meet your ESN Section presentation, Pub Crawl, Photo Hunt, Karaoke Night, City Rally, and visits to the animal shelter.
Apart from the Erasmus students that come to our city, we are also focused on educating and providing information to the youth in Osijek through different workshops and events regarding mobility, Erasmus+ programme, and so on.
Every semester before Erasmus+ programme applications are officially open, we walk our local students through every step of the way, be it how to write a good CV, Learning Agreement, or something else. Two events that stand out here are the Erasmus Caffe and Erasmus Stories. Although different in name their aim is the same and that is to help our local students outgrow their fear of going on mobility themselves. We achieve that by providing them with stories from people who formerly went on an exchange or simply by creating a “safe zone” where they whilst enjoying coffee can ask about any uncertainties they might have about making the next step themselves.
In 2017, we had our first Section Cooperation with ESN Zadar. A project financed by the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA). It was a two-day event organized with the aim of promoting the 30 years of Erasmus+ programme and it was held in Zadar from October 20 to October 21 2017.
In 2018, Osijek was the host of the 12th National Platform of ESN Croatia and this will be the second time an NP is held in Osijek (first one was in December 2015).
In 2018 and 2019 with the help of our Buddy Section ESN Novi Sad we organised two trips, one of which saw us going to Novi Sad with our exchange students at that time, and the next year it was naturally the other way around.
Next year, ESN Osijek will be the host of the 18th National Platform of ESN Croatia.
Throughout the years the number of our partners kept increasing and still is, the people changed, but the overall atmosphere and will to leave an impact on our local, national, and international environment stood the test of time and remained unwavering.
In the spirit of the famous statue in Osijek called The Walker, we will continue to create the path for a better tomorrow step by step!