We are a section of ESN located in the very heart of Slovakia and also of Europe - the city Banská Bystrica. It is a rather picturesque and very cozy small university town, which over the past couple of years has gained popularity among Erasmus students as their choice for exchange study. With this surge of a need for a support system for foreign students, we came into being as an official section in January 2010. Our activities are focused on providing help for incoming students through the buddy system and on organizing different events on a weekly basis for them to create the best memories of their semester or a year abroad. As of now, our buddy system is a network of Slovak students, so-called buddies, who already have their own experience with student life at the University of Matej Bel and help the foreign students before, during, and after their mobilities with (almost ;)) anything they may need. In exchange for this volunteer work, the buddies usually without a fault improve their foreign language skills as well as create all kinds of new and interesting friendships.
We are a very active section and try to provide as many diverse activities and events for international students as possible. That includes cultural events, such as International village, Social Erasmus activities, such as shelter dog walking and engaging the Erasmus students with volunteering, and of course, trips around beautiful Slovakia that offers scenic sights in its nature (hiking in either High or Low Tatras, trips to Slovak Paradise, caves, etc.) as well as in centuries-old towns with beautiful castles and city centers. Besides that, we support team spirit, and hence we try to organize many sports events, be it winter or summer. “In a healthy body healthy mind lives”, as we say in Slovakia, and so we organize sports days, football matches, bowling nights, skiing trips or even supporting the home ice hockey team (that's a sport too). But wait… it's not only the local students who improve their language skills. The foreign students can improve their level of Slovak language as well, in interactive lessons provided by the university and in interaction with our buddies. We would be lying if we said that Erasmus students don't learn at least a thing or two from us (and no, it's not the swear words only).
Finally, what would it be if we didn't mention parties? There are several party animals coming to study from abroad anyway, so we got that covered too. Therefore, it goes without saying that many differently-themed parties during each semester wait for these animals. We are an ESN section with a lovely team of very hard-working volunteers who each semester try to do their best to entertain Erasmus students and have a good time together. You can bet we are looking forward to everyone who is coming!