Marieke Oomen - President ESN Board 2017/2018

Hi all! My name is Marieke Oomen and I am the President the 10th board of ESN Rotterdam. I am 22 years old and was born in Tilburg, the Netherlands. As a real Brabander, I am all about ‘gezelligheid’ and in Rotterdam I am known for my southern Dutch accent. When I was 18, I moved to Rotterdam to study Economics & Business Economics. Later on, I started with a Double Degree Programme and added Philosophy to my curriculum as well. After the full-time board year at ESN I will most likely start my master in International Economics. Apart from my love for ESN, I enjoy chocolate, red wine and good movies. I also love to travel and explore different cultures, preferably by visiting friends that live abroad. And whether it is related to my studies, jobs or free time: I am always in for a new challenge!

Why the ESN Board?

During my third year at Erasmus University, I stayed in Sydney (Australia) for half a year as part of my study programme. When I returned to Rotterdam I realized how much I missed being part of an international community. So, I decided to join ESN and was a buddy, committee member and guide for the introduction days. I saw ESN from various perspectives and loved being able to give the international students an experience similar to the one I had in Australia. Doing a board year was a logical next step to be further involved in this process. In addition, a board year is an unique opportunity that enables me to develop more practical skills that will definitely come in handy during my professional career.

Why President?

After having multiple side jobs as well as previous experience with a part-time board year, I felt like the position of President was the most suitable and challenging for me since I already had experience with carrying out more specific tasks. I never managed such a big team before, but I was always the type of person that naturally takes the lead in group projects. I realized from the start this board position would be a major challenge for me, yet that is also what made me excited for it. I have a broad range of interests and I always want to do things better. This dedication in combination with my love for the goals and values of ESN made me a good candidate for this position. In my opinion, a President should raise the bar for the entire organization by making sure its members raise the bar for themselves. I try to ‘lead by example’ by showing dedication, pro-activity and the willingness to help out with every aspect of our organization. My main goal for ESN-Rotterdam is that it makes sure all international students feel at home in the Netherlands and our beloved Rotterdam!

Function Description

As the President of ESN Rotterdam I am in charge of overlooking a rapidly growing international foundation. I am the face of ESN Rotterdam, as well as the leader of a very ambitious and dynamic team. I mostly have a coordinating role and ensure the overall well-functioning of the organization. By doing so, we are able to contribute to the long-term internationalization of Erasmus University and create impact that will linger for many years.

I provide support to my board members when needed and I lead the weekly board meetings as well as several other internal meetings. As the president, I also give presentations and speeches to audiences varying from 20 to 1000 students. In addition, I represent ESN Rotterdam in several meetings with higher education institutes and on different national and international levels within the ESN-network. I constantly focus on improving the organization in the interest of the students. Therefore, I take the lead in developing the annual Policy Plan and construct different evaluation and strategy reports.

Apart from the things mentioned above, the work of a president is not very specific nor stable, as a major part of your work is to deal with unforeseen challenges. In addition, you are constantly looking for ways to improve the organization as a whole. The best way to do this varies over the years and within different boards. It also depends for a large part on your own vision and abilities. Pro-activity, solution-based thinking, intercultural communication and motivational skills therefore play a key role in fulfilling this position. Looking for more information? Don’t hesitate to contact me by sending an email to