Like all the other ESN sections ESN Odense has a President. His name is Benedikt.
Benedikt joined ESN Odense two years ago during his first month in Odense. Back then, he did not even know what ESN is or that it is an organization. Laura, a German friend of his, took him to the first Active Member meeting of ESN Odense in the fall semester of 2015. He joined her because he did not know a lot of people and felt somewhat lonely and of no use. Benedikt decided to join ESN Odense and work and help the organization. Shortly after the first Active Member meeting, ESN Odense had openings for the board. They were looking for different people in different positions. Because Benedikt came to Denmark to study Marketing in his Master, he was interested in marketing topics. After a skype interview and a first meeting, he was elected Communication Manager for ESN Odense. This put him in charge of the International Café Committee which organizes a lot of different fun events.
Climbing up in the career ladder, the former president of ESN Odense was leaving and offered Benedikt to be his follower as president. Benedikt accepted his offer and has been president of ESN Odense for almost one year now. He acquired leading skills as well as learning how to work in another culture together with different cultures. “Being a president in Scandinavia means trying to listen to everyone and give them room to speak and coordinate how the team is working”.
Benedikt’s fourth semester is coming to an end. With that, he finishes his Master studies and will leave Odense. This also leads to him opening the position for the next ESN Odense president.
When looking back, he reflects that he had two amazing years in Odense. He really liked the events ESN Odense organized during his stay. His favorite moments of working for the student organization was when younger students came to him with questions. For him, it meant that they trusted him and ESN as a group. “The international community in Odense is really strong. Everyone knows that they are not alone.”
What he likes about ESN Odense is the fact that everyone involved in ESN Odense shapes the organization in some way. It is not just one person in charge or the board who decides on what to do and how to do it. Everyone is heard and listened to. ESN makes it possible that, that even if some countries might not like each other, it does not matter in the ESN community. Everyone is accepted and is working together. Prejudices are put aside.
“It is really nice at the start of the semester, when you’re standing in front of all the new curious international students, and they are looking at you with anticipation, not knowing what is going to happen and how the semester will look like. And then you see them forming groups during the semester, participating in the events and having a great time. This is what gives you as an Active Member or Board Member of ESN a good feeling and letting you know you did a great job. You actually achieved something and helped them get where they are at the end.” As an Active Member or Board Member of ESN Odense you do a lot. A lot of work happens behind the curtain. Juan Carlos, for example, wrote a thank you note to the ESN Odense team last year. This small gesture makes all the difference. You feel great and your work appreciated.
Benedikt makes it clear that ESN Odense is dependent on all the Active Members helping out. Without them, a lot of events would not be taking place. Even though you might think as an Active Member: am I even doing something useful by doing so little? The answer is yes. Without the Active Members, ESN Odense would not be what it is today and help so many internationals have a great time abroad.
ESN Odense is the oldest section in Denmark and it is one of the biggest student organizations at SDU. People are making an active step to become a member of the ESN Odense community by buying an ESNcard. ESN Odense exists for 25 years now, and never had to be revived or something alike.