A Board Year at ESN Rotterdam
What does a board year at Erasmus Student Network Rotterdam entail? Definitely a lot more than you can imagine today! ESN Rotterdam aims to create a home away from home for international students and adventures for the Dutch. With 6 board members, over 130 events per year, 40+ committee members, 100+ buddies and a close connection to other national and international ESN locations in Europe, your board year will be exciting, challenging and interesting every day.
For both Dutch and international students, having a full-time board position in ESN-Rotterdam is a unique way to develop yourself professionally by working in an innovative, young, interdisciplinary and highly international environment. You will have unforgettable experiences and friends for life, as well as a global network of students that are grateful for your efforts throughout the year. No matter where you are from and what your previous work experience is, we encourage everyone that is interested to apply.
I am interested, but what do I do now?
Great! We would like to start with giving you more information about the board and some practical things that are important to know before applying, so we highly recommend you to read the Q&A below. Afterwards, in order to know which position would fit you best, we encourage you to read through the descriptions of each of the board positions, which you can find here.
- Is a board position within ESN-Rotterdam full-time or part-time?
In general, a board position is considered full-time. Especially during the first months of your board year, August till October, you can expect to spend at least 40 hours a week on work and by being present at events. Later in the academic year and especially during the final months of the first semester (December) and the second semester (May-July) your workload will decrease. Focusing on ESN and (largely) giving up studies is recommended to make the most out of your board year, but it is possible to still follow some courses or take re-sits. Also, writing your thesis is good to combine with your board year since you will have more time during the second semester.
- I won’t be able to commit for a full time position since I’m an international student.
If you’re from outside of the European Union, you do not qualify for decreased tuition fee (see question 5). Luckily, non of the board-positions are full-time positions by default. We aim to have a 50-50 part- and full-time division, but the exact division really depends on who applies. We would rather have a well balanced & international team, than six highly performing individuals who do not work well together. Each situation is unique, so please do not hesitate to inquire about the possibilities for your (international) situation.
- Do I have to be an international student to apply?
No. We welcome all students. Nationality does not influence your application in any way. Currently half of the board is Dutch, and the rest is international, but this is up for change every year.
- Do I have to be a student at Erasmus University to do a board year at ESN-Rotterdam?
Yes. You have to be registered as a student at Erasmus University during your board year. It does not matter what you are studying and we welcome students from all academic backgrounds to apply.
- Do I still have to pay my tuition fee when I do a board year?
This depends on your situation. If you are normally paying the ‘wettelijk collegegeld’ (the low tariff of about 2000 euros) than you are able do your board without paying the tuition fee. However, if you choose this option (called ‘collegegeldvrij besturen’) you are not allowed to take any courses throughout the year. If you wish to take any courses or credits, you will have to pay your tuition fee. In addition, if you are paying the instellingstarief (the higher amount of tuition fee, varying from 6300 to 21600 euros), you always have to pay your tuition fee, even if you plan to focus only on your board duties. This is complex regulation, so feel free to ask us questions about your situation.
- How will a board year affect my residence permit? (note: this question only applies to all students who have a residence permit for ‘study’)
The IND (immigration services) states the following about study progress monitoring, it’s requirements and excusable reasons: “Every year, your educational institution monitors whether you make sufficient progress in your studies. This is called study progress monitoring. You will get a residence permit that is valid for the duration of your education. You keep this residence permit if you obtain at least 50% of the required credits for each academic year. (…) It must established by the end of November whether you have obtained at least 50% of the required credits in the past academic year. Have you not obtained sufficient credits? Your educational institution then has to determine if there is valid reason for this. This is called an excusable reason. (…) These are listed in the Higher Education and Research Act, and include ‘board duties’.” To be clear: a board year with ESN is a valid excuse for not obtaining 50% of your credits.
More information regarding your residence permit and study progress monitoring? Have a look at this web page of the IND: https://ind.nl/en/pages/study-progress-monitoring.aspx
- Can I study next to my board year?
Yes, yet it is recommended to take a gap year when doing a board year at ESN. However, if you pay your tuition fee, you can still take courses and re-sits or write a thesis during your board year.
- Do I get paid for doing a board year?
Doing a board year is a volunteer position. However, you get a compensation of about 300 euros per month for a full year. In addition, the majority of the costs you make during your board year are covered (e.g. all costs relating to participation in ESN events including trips abroad). In general, you don’t spend much more than you would if you’re studying.
- What is the term of a board year?
Officially, a board year at ESN starts on August 1st and ends July 31st. However, the transition period mostly takes place in June and July. In those months, we expect a commitment of about 10-15 hours per week, concluded by a 4-day transition weekend at the end of July. So make sure to keep your options open during that time.
- What if I already planned holidays for July/August?
Participating in the transition weekend is mandatory and no exceptions will be made when it comes to availability on these dates. The transition weekend of 2021 takes place in 4 days sometime in the last two weeks of July, depending on the COVID regulations. In addition, we expect full availability in August, because you will have to work hard as a team to give a warm welcome to all the new (international) students during the Eurekaweek and ESN Summer Introduction Days. It is possible to go on holidays in June-July, before the transition weekend, but on the condition that transition can be planned around it. That does not only depend on your own schedule, but also on that of your predecessor.
- What is the transition weekend?
Transition weekend is the final part of the transition process from the old board to the new board. During this 4-day weekend (sometime in the last two weeks of July) the old and new board spend time together in a holiday home somewhere in the Netherlands. Besides handing over as much information as possible, this weekend consists of plenty board bonding activities to make sure you will make a strong team from the beginning and have a great start of the year!
- I have never been active in ESN before. Is this a problem?
No, you are more than welcome to apply. However, being part of ESN before can be an advantage. Before you do, make sure to get the know the organization better by reading through our website and Facebook pages. You can also always email for a talk to some of the current board members during a walk or coffee in Rotterdam to get a better insight in what we do, or during our online Speed-Boarding event. We would love to meet you!
- What is expected from me apart from doing the position-specific work?
“None of us is as smart as all of us.” “If you wanna go fast, go alone. If you wanna go far, go together.” These cheesy quotes signal that a big part of your work will involve teaming up with the other board members and ‘being the board’ in general. Practical things like being present during office hours, helping students with all questions they may have, helping out at events and the introduction weeks, and representing ESN to different stakeholders is expected of all board members. In addition, all board members are expected to attend many of the ESN events. Proactivity, motivation and the willingness to help out other board members are key characteristics for all board members of ESN Rotterdam. Apart from all of that, each board member gets the chance to improve their managerial skills by supervising at least one committee.
- What is expected from a board member regarding event participation?
Generally, being part of the ESN board requires active participation in all types of events. You can expect to attend most events in August and September, since that is the busiest period of the year and you will not have (many) committees recruited yet at that time. After September, it is up to your own team to decide on the rules regarding event participation. For the board of 2020-2021, on average, full-timers attended two-thirds of all events, and part-timers about a third of all events.
- What does having ‘office hours’ entail?
During office hours (every working day between 12 and 3 pm), you answer questions students might have and you sell tickets for ESN events. During office hours in the less busy months you will also have time to do your own work. In general, office hours are a nice way to stay in touch with the students and keep up-to-date with the work of your fellow board members as well. Even when you are not scheduled to do office hours, you’ll often be present at the office, for example for your ESN related work or for meetings (with board/committees/external parties). The office is also often used to just hang out with your fellow board members who will become friends for life in no time. It’s never boring in the ESN office! Since P-building hosts a variety of other boards, you can expect to become friends with many of them as well.
- Can you tell me more about board life ‘behind the scenes’?
Being a board member at ESN Rotterdam involves a lot more than just running ESN Rotterdam. We are part of a European wide organization, which means there are plenty of national and international events you can attend. Especially the national events will be part of your board year. Examples include the Summer Introduction Meeting (one weekend in August) and the National Platforms (3 weekends per year). During these weekends, you will have a chance to get to know the other boards in the Netherlands, share some best practices and participate in several workshops and trainings that are organized for ESN board members from all sections in the Netherlands. In addition, board life ‘behind the scenes’ in Rotterdam itself involves plenty of board bonding activities, dinners, parties, as well as a full list of nicknames, a huge amount of inside jokes and ugly head-shots on the wall. In short: doing a board year at ESN Rotterdam is a whole lot of fun!
- What happens after I have applied for a board position? (What is the recruitment process?)
After carefully considering all applications, we will invite some of the applicants for an interview. If we do not know you yet, it is possible we schedule an informal introductory meeting with you first. Interviews will take place in April and May. After the interview we will tell you as soon as possible whether you are hired or not. The amount of time this takes depends on how many other applicants we have. We will give you more concrete information during your interview.
- Where can I get more information?
We are happy to tell you anything you want to know regarding a board year and recruitment. Besides gathering information online, you are very welcome to come to our Speed-Boarding to get more knowledge about a board year at ESN-Rotterdam. Everyone is welcome, even if you are not sure you want to apply. More information about these events can be found on our Facebook page. In addition, you can directly contact any board member and ask your questions via email as well (email@example.com for general questions, for position specific questions: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; and email@example.com)
- How do I apply for a board position?
You can apply for a board position by filling in the form at the bottom of this page. Here it is also required to attach your resume and a motivation letter. The deadline for the last round is 9th of May.