The Causes of ESN are a transition of our mission, vision and values into our everyday activity. They are not to be mistaken with the Values of ESN. The Causes of ESN represent our common aim to enrich the society through international students, at the same time help them to make the most of their exchange experience in these fields. A Cause is a principle, aim, or movement to which one is committed and which one is prepared to defend or advocate for.
The Causes of ESN are:
- Education and Youth
- Environmental Sustainability
- Health & Well-being
- Skills and Employability
- Social Inclusion
Fragments of some principles of the Causes should be found in every ESN event.
Health & Well-being
Health & Well-being is one of the 6 Causes of ESN. The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. “Being healthy” thus includes more than just not having an illness. It means also seeing things in a broader perspective and realising that everything works like a pair of cogs. If the imaginary cog of your mental health is stuck, the whole system would not turn.
Good Health & Well-being is also the 3rd of 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations. It aims mainly to ensure good health care for the 3rd world countries, but it also puts an effort to reduce the number of avoidable health issues and unnecessary deaths.
What does it mean to be healthy?
Let’s take a deeper look into the definition and let’s find the balance. Physical health can be simply defined as the absence of a disease, or just the proper function of one’s body. We can say it is measurable. To keep good physical health, it is important to have regular physical activity. By this, I don’t mean working out hard for several hours a day. It depends on everyone's’ possibilities. You can start with a simple walk. Did you know that you should take 10,000 steps every day to keep healthy? Researches have shown that even 6,000 steps per day significantly reduce health risks. If you want to be more active, which is highly recommended for at least 150 minutes every week, you can work out, or do any of your favourite sports.
Intellectual health is the ability to think clearly. Its essential part is a never-ending desire to broaden your horizons, think about new ideas, broaden your horizons, being open-minded and think outside the box. It can be our driver, our motivation, the inside voice that pushes us forward and tells us to never give up. A bit of simple advice on good intellectual health can be: “Just be curious.” Never stop being a student. You can learn at any time and it is never too late because the knowledge is the best and eternal investment of your time. Set yourself clear priorities and goals, which you would like to achieve. Then think about how you can achieve them. Think round and round, think big, get inspired. Good time management is your very good friend in intellectual health.
Emotional health is the ability to recognise emotions such as fear, joy, grief, anger etc. and to express them appropriately. It also involves the ability to cope with stress, anxiety and depression. This does not mean being happy all the time, but rather having control over your emotions, knowing how to express them and how to get over hard times. It takes some work (and mainly mental work) to improve your emotional health. Think about yourself, observe yourself, watch your reactions, your emotions, your feelings. Notice what are the starters of your emotions and then seek for the ones, which start the positive emotions. Think about the consequences before you act, do not do the things affected by your negative emotions that you might regret later. Share your feelings with your close friends, but listen to them as well. Try to find the balance between your productive and leisure time. To reduce stress, a meditation, or physical activity such as a workout, an exercise or yoga are among the best solutions.
Social health is the ability to communicate with others and form relationships. Happiness is real only when it can be shared. Studies have shown that loneliness can even kill, or drive you crazy. Human beings are social creatures. In order to build a relationship, you should always be respectful, engage with the people around you, maintain and build relationships with your friends, keep close with your family. Not all relationships are good for you and it’s not always ideal. People change, the world changes, so accept the fact that even some strong relationships might fade out or evolve into an unsustainable relationship. You can think about your friends from elementary school, would you have something to talk with them about? To keep a good social health, you need to work on your relationships and give up on not working ones. You can build a relationship by keeping in touch with your friends. Make some small talks with them, ask about their day, ask about their problems and if you might help if you are good friends. Reach out to the people, you can set up a goal to reach out to some of your friends (let’s say 2 per week) you haven’t heard of in a long time. Try to find a social group or a community, where you would feel like you belong there ever since. Try to improve your communication skills, keep eye contact, let the others talk, ask about them rather than talking about yourself. Drop some smile on random pass-byers to brighten their day.
My room is getting smaller every day
As we have found ourselves in hard times, and our world is sometimes shrunk just to our room and computer, it is important to keep yourself in a good mental health state. Let me give you some tips. Stay informed, follow the official channels of the authorities, evaluate your sources. Be careful, however, not to get oversaturated with the newsfeed. The human brain loves routine, so try to come up with the one that would suit you. Have some time to exercise, to work, to rest, don’t forget to eat regularly and healthy. Have some time to try something new or something creative. Did you always want to learn german? Give it a try now and imagine yourself after the pandemic cruising around the streets of Berlin talking with the locals like one of them. Keep social contact with your family and friends. Watch your screen time and take regular breaks. Helping others might also help you to feel better. Would someone smiling at you make you smile as well?
Projects of ESN
Responsible Party is a project of ESN in cooperation with Pernod Ricard tackling binge drinking among young people. It promotes a healthy and balanced lifestyle and empowers young people to make decisions. Responsible Party warns you about the excessive alcohol consumption and irresponsible drinking. When you are having a good time, it should be unforgettable. In order to achieve this, you have to remember the night. This is a hard task for people after some drinks. And no wonder…. You should know your limits and you should be the one to decide if you really want another drink, or if water or some other non-alcoholic drink is a way better option for you. Talking about it, in general, it is a good idea to have some water anytime not only during the parties but also during the day.
International Erasmus Games
International Erasmus Games (IEG) is the project of ESN to bring young people from all around the world together to speak the language we all understand - sport. Every year, an international round is held in some of the ESN cities. There is a great atmosphere of people having fun, competing, supporting their friends and building new friendships. This is however just the most beautiful tip of the iceberg. It begins in the sections, which can hold their local tournament to choose the best team to represent the section on the national round. The national round gathers teams of international students studying in the respective country to choose the best teams for the international round.
I hope you have found some useful tips and tricks on how to keep yourself healthy, learned something about health in general, and thought about yourself, but also about others. Try your best to implement this advice into your daily life. Be patient, the results are not instant and it is hard work. Stay healthy and stay safe.