Written by: 
Elodie Dincuff Sunday, 3 July, 2016 - 16:31

7 things you should know about being an intern at ESN International

What is it like to work for Europe's largest network of student organisations?

Students helping students. ESN's founding principle stays true, up to the headquarters in Brussels where ESN's interns works with the International Board. ESN's current Communication and Media Intern, Elodie Dincuff, shares her story.

1. The sky is your only limit 

And the Visual Identity Manual. If during the first days you want to tattoo on your skin the ESN colors’ codes in CMYK and RGB to never forget them, no worries it is a normal reaction. Beside those rules, you will quickly notice that you have great flexibility in your work and there is not a multitude of validation like in a hierarchical company. The delays are short and the processes are fast thus if you have an idea, you can just do it. Nevertheless, fast is not a synonym of not serious. By working at ESN, you have all the means to do a valuable work. You use professional tools such as Falcon, MailChimp, the Adobe Creative Suite, Slack and even more. Even if with great power comes great responsibility, to have a lot of leeway is a very positive point when you work at the ESN Headquarters.

2. You discover a brand new world

“I was at the AGM, right now I am at the CNR and in one month I will be at the NBM.” What I hear: “我是在股东周年大会”. If you are an ESNer you can skip this one but if not, the ESN Dictionary will be your new bedside book. Working at ESN is similar to discovering a new culture. People have developed their own vocabulary, they share the same values and are organised in a precise and democratic way, whether at the international, national or local level. Even if this whole organisation can seem complex at the beginning, from the moment where you understand the first private joke, you know that you are a full member of the organisation and live this like an unmatched achievement (#TeamSabuni).

3. Your work transcends borders

How many community managers have the chance to see one of their Facebook posts reaching more than 170,000 views with 805 likes and 340 shares? This moment can totally happen to you by animating ESN's Facebook page. Those figures are more than gratifying and motivating but social media is not your only work area. Indeed, ESN releases important publications that are spread all over Europe, such as the Student Guidebook and the Annual Report. Thus, to see 2,000 international students reading the Plenary Handbook that you designed was an amazing moment with a rare feeling of attainment. Even if it is all about Erasmus and therefore seems logical that your work crossed borders, I challenge you to get tired of that!

4. You participate in many ESN projects

At the ESN Headquarters, there is no typical day. Naturally, you have daily tasks on the social media channels or monthly work with the ESNnewsletter, but you still have many moments where you can work on different projects. And when I say different projects, the list is long. ErasmusIntern, Erasmus Without Paper, Online Learning Agreement or the ESN Webshop ... Believe me, you have no time to get bored. There is always something to do, to improve or to help with. The duration of your internship will not be enough to witness the entire work made by the volunteers and members of the Secretariat, which never ceases to amaze.

5. You are here to learn

It is an important notion to highlight and one of the main principles of ESN International: to provide a quality internship. This principle goes through several factors. You know that you can count on everyone in the office if you need anything to be explained. You have monthly reviews with the Director and the Communication Manager to discuss about your work at ESN in general. Furthermore, they listen to your needs. What do you want to learn more about? How can they help you? If you want to discover more an aspect in the broad field of communication, it is totally possible. You can, for example, attend a Google AdWords training and participate in a Facilitation Training with the staff of ESN. Therefore, you can see those six months as an opportunity to see further and go beyond your own limits.

6. You live in the ESN House

In Brussels, the association has a house where volunteers are welcomed and where the Committee and Project meetings are organised. To facilitate the life of those guests, every single thing is labelled. That has two side effects: 1) you see labels everywhere and 2) you are totally lost when you are at your friend's place because nothing is labelled! Besides the labels, you live priceless moments like tasting recipes from different parts of Europe, barbecuing in the garden... There is a feeling of something like L'auberge Espagnole but multiplied by 10 according to the number of people that you meet here. An intercultural experience which leads us to the last point…

7. You live a true international experience

Once Erasmus, Always Erasmus? Being an intern at ESN feels like the sequel to your Erasmus adventure. If you didn’t have the chance yet to experience this adventure, Brussels is the ideal place. Seen as the heart of Europe, the city can offer you an international way of life. Moreover, Brussels has three ESN sections organising many activities for students. There you can make international friends and work in a fulfilling European environment. Finally, at the office, every week you will take part in the famous “Fika” where you can share a tea break with no less than 12 colleagues from different nationalities.

The Open Call for ESN's new interns is now out. Find out more at esn.org/careers!

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