The sections serve as the cornerstones of ESN and are of incredible importance. Germany currently has 36 sections and the international total is 520 throughout 39 countries. New sections are always welcome!
But what exactly do the sections do? Each is responsible for putting on numerous events for the international students in order to ease the arrival to their new home, get them acquainted with the local student lifestyle, and introduce them to the local culture. Members of each section are responsible for answering questions and helping students with problems, as well as helping them integrate into their new student community and making sure they have an unforgettable experience.
Individual events vary from section to section, but they can all be divided into three categories:
Buddies, or mentors, are local students who are paired with an Erasmus student to assist for one or two semesters. They will usually welcome their student to the city and help by answering questions or supporting them with administrative procedures, but are also meant to serve a greater purpose: becoming a friend for the international student.
The first few days or weeks can be a difficult time for many to orient themselves in their new city and at university. In order for the exchange students to become quickly acquainted with the city and meet new people the sections are very active during this time. Students are not only presented with information about the university and what it has to offer (e.g. accommodation, sports, and extracurricular activities), but are also introduced to the activities of ESN. Additionally, sections organise various events for the students to get to know each other, and hopefully to prevent any homesickness!
Excursions and Cultural Activities
Each semester offers up a number of events: to start, the exchange students are given opportunities to get to know their new home through city tours or excursions to local sights. Trips over multiple days to visit other German cities (e.g. Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg) are also especially popular among students, and the local sections there are often able to provide some insider tips. During the summer events often become more active and take place outside, for example: hiking, boat tours, and football or volleyball tournaments. Moreover, there are always culture-focussed events such as visits to the theatre or a museum, international dinners (each student brings a specialty from home), or nights focussed on a specific country, often presented by the students.