Seven Wonders of being in a Small Section
I look at the small sections and I think: ‘What a wonderful world!’.
ESN is the biggest student organisation in Europe and being a part of it is a unique experience. You get to meet like-minded people with similar interests who do the same thing you do in their free time - they volunteer. However, ESN sections differ in size and also in the way they work, due to being from another country, having a different structure, and doing various projects.
ESN might be the biggest student organisation in Europe but being small also has its perks. So if you ever wondered what it is like to be in a small section, let me introduce you to the wonders of being in one.
1. Small number of Erasmus students
Small section indicates a small number of Erasmus students. It also means that you create a more personal bond with them. This way, you don’t have to think a lot about what the next event should be - the ideas come to you naturally! After all, you do know the people well and you know what they would enjoy doing. You get lots of feedback and you know better what kind of activities or events they would like.
2. Easier organisation
Let's be honest, fewer people equals fewer things to organise. Smaller events are fairly easier to manage since you simply need fewer things to make it happen. You do not need a big space; therefore, you spend less money on booking your place. Furthermore, keeping contact with the students is way easier and simpler. Using communication tools such as WhatsApp is possible with 80 Erasmus students but it would not work with 400.
3. Fast self-development
In small sections, there are fewer people, which means that all the teams regarding certain projects are very ‘fluid’. Usually, most of the people aren’t just in one team - they are in many. Same way, a coordinator of a project isn’t just a coordinator - they also participate in organising other activities. In the long run, every position you have is more than just one. Sometimes it might be two or even three. You always have to do more than one thing at once and you get to learn new soft skills quickly; e.g. time management.
4. It's easier to become a coordinator or a board member
As mentioned before, you learn new abilities that come with responsibilities. But responsibilities come from a position you have in your section. When you don't have that many people in your section, it's easier to become a coordinator or a board member since you don't have to compete with so many people. Moreover, most of the other members know you personally and know whether they can trust you with certain tasks or not.
5. You get to work with other small sections
More ESNers. Woohoo! Sometimes when you want to organise a trip or a workshop and you don't have enough people, you might want to pair up with another small section. In the long run, the unofficial cooperation lasts long and you get to meet more ESNers. After some time, you will get closer and share the best practices and the best memories with each other!
6. There's always something to do
There is always something to do no matter in what section you are and how big it is. But in small sections, it is truly impossible not to do anything! As it was mentioned, it helps with self-development but it also means that you will never get bored. You might have to do more than one task at once, and after you’re finished, you will almost immediately get a new one. In a small section, there is always a place for more people but never for boredom.
7. You get a family
It's last but not least. With such a small number of people, all of you can truly bond. So by the end of each semester, you get a new family; people you care about, whether they are Erasmus students or ESNers. Someone you can rely on, someone you can have fun with. Nothing can be compared to the feeling of belonging to a family that cares about you, to a group having the same values as you, and a small section sharing a lot of love with you.