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 the students came in touch with ESN sections and chose to build one in Osijek. So, in December 2021 we are celebrating nine years of existence.
From that day until today, we are still working on broadening horizons in our small community, promoting mobility, and improving opportunities for our students in taking their first steps abroad. About 100 volunteers found their place in ESN Osijek: made great connections, learned everything about anything, and went big – some of our members made it to the very top, as National Representatives and Presidents, Webmasters, Culture Officers, or even international Vice-Presidents.
We have about 50 active members volunteering in three main teams, later divided by their preferences into smaller ones with specific functions. Recruitment this year showed us that we are doing something right, as we have students from almost every University Josip Juraj Strossmayer applying. To become our member, you'll need to fill out a short application form and get interviewed. This way, we will get to know you better and make sure to understand the importance of your motivation to volunteer in ESN Osijek.
Local Board for the academic 2021/22 year make:
Dorotea Horvat (President);
Ema Šibila (Vice-President);
Nikolina Vidaković (Communication Manager);
Board Support and Coordinators as follows:
Domagoj Vizentaner (Financial Manager);
Tena Vukelić (Human Resources);
Marissa Bura (Sports);
Lea Kovačević (Culture).
Even though there are only seven positions filled, we have extraordinary communication that is helping us organise qualitative events and gatherings of Erasmus+ students. An exact example of this is the actual Welcome Week of 2021 that is covering every ESN cause. We are trying to create an environment where being different is an enrichment to the society as a whole and to make Erasmus+ mobility in Osijek memorable and LEGEndary.
Our biggest support is the University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek. This collaboration improves the Erasmus+ experience of our incoming students and at the same time, offers a wide 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. At this moment we are working on getting more qualitative sponsorships and sponsorships that will present the image of Osijek as an ideal student city and its residents.
ESN Osijek is working on a better and more active society by organising different and rich activities, firstly for the incoming students and then outcoming students and a wider audience. We made a collaboration with a tourist office Kulen Travel during the Welcome Week so that Erasmus+ students can learn about the rich history and culture Osijek has to offer through picturesque and humorous tales. Furthermore, we are working with other non-governmental organisations that have the same purposes and aims as we do. Also, we are proud to announce that we signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek. Students can come to our organisation and seek professional practice within the course at the Faculty. Interested students need to write a motivational letter and point out how they can contribute to the development of the Erasmus Student Network Osijek.
Apart from the Erasmus students that come to our city, we are also focused on educating and providing information to the students in Osijek through different workshops and events regarding mobility, the Erasmus+ programme, and similar opportunities. Every semester before Erasmus+ Programme applications are officially open, we walk our local students through every step of the way, teach them how to write a good CV, Learning Agreement, or something else necessary for achieving mobility. Two events that stand out are the Erasmus Caffe and Erasmus Stories. Although different in name, their aim is the same: to help the local students outgrow their fear of going on mobility by themselves. We achieve that by providing stories from people who formerly went on an exchange or simply by creating a “safe zone” where they while enjoying coffee, can ask about any uncertainties they might have about making the next step toward Erasmus+ mobility.
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 organised to promote 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 Assembly of ESN Croatia and that was the second time a National Assembly was held in Osijek (the first one was in December 2015). Osijek was supposed to host the 18th National Assembly in the spring of 2021, but due to the situation and unstable epidemiological COVID 19 image – it was held online.
With the help of our Buddy Section ESN Novi Sad, we organised two trips in 2018 and 2019: one included a trip to Novi Sad (ESN Osijek + exchange students) and the other a trip to Osijek (ESN Novi Sad + exchange students). Also, we made friends with another section: the most recent one is ESN Cerrahpaşa from Turkey, with whom we played online games to get to know the sections and Erasmus+ students better. This type of intercultural experience is a great opportunity for new campaigns of overcoming any type of barriers in society.
In the spirit of the famous statue in Osijek called The Walker, we will continue creating a path for a better tomorrow step by step!