Finland joined Erasmus Student Network in 1993. Already before that some attempts were made to establish the first ESN section in Finland. For example, in the beginning of the 1990s National Union of Finnish Students organised a seminar where also Swedish advocate of ESN was invited. She did her best to make the student unions to join ESN at once. But at that time the general feeling towards the international organisations that were popping up in Europe was a bit sceptical.

The actual story started when the international secretary of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, Teppo Heiskanen, got a phone call asking him to come to Maastricht for the Annual General Meeting in 1993. He was really impressed: people he met in Maastricht were doing exactly the same that they were trying to do in Helsinki.

In the end, the Board of the Student Union in Helsinki was convinced that ESN truly was a serious attempt to tackle the problems of growing student exchange and ESN HYY became the first Finnish section in 1993. Teppo Heiskanen was the first National Representative of Finland and already the next year, in 1994, Helsinki organised the AGM. As a curiosity it could be mentioned that the ESN logo used back then saw the daylight in the capital of Finland.

Helsinki immediately spread the good word, and soon other student organisations followed. Turku, Tampere and Vaasa were the next ones to join the network and the first unofficial National Platform was held in 1994. It was crucial for ESN’s success in Finland that it was the student unions that joined: the infrastructure and funds were there to be taken. In 1994 Finnish ESN actives organised so called ESN TEMPUS Tour to Baltic countries and Poland to establish good relations with student organisations in the Institutions of Higher Education. The same year ESN sections in Turku started a starting package service to provide international students with basic household equipment when they arrive. The same service continues still today and is one of the most appreciated services that the Student Union offers for incoming exchange students.

The number of the ESN sections has been going up steadily, to reach 15 sections in 2005, and today there are 16 sections in Finland. Finnish sections are geographically wide spread: five in Helsinki area, three in Turku, two in Tampere and the rest of the sections are in Vaasa, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Jyväskylä and Joensuu. Most of the Finnish ESN sections are part of their student unions working as international committees. Sections participate in national and international events on their own cost or with the financial support of their higher education institution or student union. Most of the sections operate closely not only with their student unions, but also with their institutions’ international student tutors. Recent changes in the Finnish university and student union structures have also affected some ESN sections. For example, couple of sections have changed their name and some have merged into one. Currently (2014), eight of the Finnish sections have registered as legal associations in Finland. They are:

  • Erasmus Student Network - University of Helsinki ry (212.542)
  • Erasmus Student Network Finns and Internationals in Tampere ry (203.305)
  • Erasmus Student Network Jyväskylä - ESN Jyväskylä ry (208.850)
  • Erasmus Student Network Oulu ry (212.067)
  • Erasmus Student Network University of Turku ry (203.415)
  • Erasmus Student Network Vaasa ry (211.909)
  • ESN Aalto ry (211.085)
  • ESN vid Åbo Akademi rf (198.242)
  • ESN-IAC - International Action Club ry ( 207.372)

Finnish sections vary in size and how they work but in general the ESNers all over the country organise sauna evenings, pub nights, sports, different kind of language activities, city races, parties and trips to Stockholm, Lapland, Tallinn and St Petersburg to name a few. On national level, Finnish sections cooperate mainly regionally but plans have been made to have more national cooperation. The National Event of ESN Finland is Pirates of the Baltic Sea, a biannual cruise between Helsinki and Stockholm. All the Finnish sections participate making this the biggest national event of ESN Finland. Normally there are about 1500 exchange students on a three day cruise to Stockholm and back.

During the years Finnish ESNers have actively participated in international events. For example, in 2002 when Nordic Network Meeting was organised in Estonia 25 participants out of 59 were from Finland. Annually, ESN Finland joins the Annual General Meeting and Northern European Platform with around 15-20 participants.

Even though the idea of creating a national level body in Finland was discussed already in the National Platform held in Helsinki 1999, it took almost ten years before it actually happened. As the network grew it became clear that National Board was needed to take over the domestic ESN responsibilities, to support the Finnish sections and to represent ESN in Finnish contexts.

During the years 2008-2009 a National Board working group was preparing the matter and writing statutes and standing orders for ESN Finland. The first official National Board was elected in the National Platform of spring 2009 organised at the Arctic Circle, in Rovaniemi. Since the beginning of the year 2010 ESN Finland has been a registered legal association whose members are the Finnish ESN sections. ESN Finland’s highest decision-making body is the National Platform which usually consists of one or more representatives from each section. Since the mid-90’s National Platforms have been organised at least twice a year.

For several years ESN Finland has been cooperating closely the Centre of International Mobility, CIMO (National Agency). After the establishment of the National Board it has been possible to strengthen the Finnish network and carry out bigger projects. For example, ESN Overalls have made it easier for exchange students to participate in the Finnish student culture. The board seeks for new co-operation partners, promotes the benefits and international projects of ESN for the sections and develops the use of the different communication channels within the network.

Sections of ESN Finland in autumn 2014

  • ESN Uni Helsinki (joined 1993 as ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • ESN Åbo Akademi (joined 1994)
  • ESN Uni Turku (joined 1994, former name ESN TYY Turku, changed in 2010)
  • ESN FINT Tampere (joined 1994, former name ESN TAMY Tampere, changed name 2009)
  • ESN Vaasa (joined 1995 as ESN VYY Vaasa)
  • ESN Jyväskylä (joined 1997 as ESN JYY Jyväskylä)
  • ESN HELGA (joined 2001, former name ESN KANTO, changed name 2009 )
  • ESN OYY Oulu (joined 2001)
  • ESN ISYY Joensuu (joined 2002, former name ESN JOYY Joensuu, changed name 2010)
  • ESN Aalto (joined 2003 as ESN TKY Helsinki)
  • ESN Lapland (joined 2008)
  • ESN Metropolia (joined 2008 as ESN METKA)
  • ESN-IAC Turku (joined 2008)
  • ESN INTO Tampere (joined 2009)
  • ESN Lappeenranta (joided 2011)
  • ESN KISA Kuopio (joined 2011)

Previous sections

  • ESN TTKY Tampere (1994-2001)
  • ESN TuKY Turku (1994-2009, merged with ESN TYY Turku)
  • ESN HAMOK (2000-2008)
  • ESN HAAGA Institute (2003-2005)
  • ESN Arcada (2004-2006)
  • ESN Laureamko (2005-2007)
  • ESN Kolmirauta (2006-2008)
  • ESN ASK (2007-2011)

National Representatives of ESN Finland

  • 1993 Teppo Heiskanen (ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • 1994 Tuomas Rinne (ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • 1995 Anikó Lehtinen (ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • 1996 Anikó Lehtinen (ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • 1997 Susanna Kärki (ESN TYY Turku)
  • 1998 Sami Kontola (ESN JYY Jyväskylä)
  • 1999 Catharina Lindström (ESN Åbo Akademi)
  • 2000 Mikko Arvas (ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • 2001 Janna Koivisto (ESN JYY Jyväskylä)
  • 2002 Hanna-Maija Saarinen (ESN Åbo Akademi)
  • 2003 Ilona Salonen (ESN Åbo Akademi)
  • 2004 Maria El Said (ESN JYY Jyväskylä)
  • 2005 Kati Haahti (ESN KANTO)
  • 2006 Tiina Naskali (ESN TYY Turku)
  • 2007 Tiina Naskali (ESN TYY Turku)
  • 2008 Heidi Hietala (ESN Åbo Akademi)
  • 2009 Anna Alasuutari (ESN TYY Turku)
  • 2010 Aino Henriksson (ESN Uni Turku)
  • 2011 Jerzy Jasielec (ESN Åbo Akademi)
  • 2012 Emma Peltonen (ESN Uni Turku)
  • 2013 Emma Koskinen (ESN Uni Turku)
  • 2014 Heini Jyräkoski (ESN Jyväskylä)
  • 2014/2015 Heini Jyräkoski (ESN Jyväskylä)
  • 2015/2016 Mikko Hyvärinen (ESN Jyväskylä)
  • 2016/2017 Pablo Guillerna Franco (ESN Joensuu)

The members of ESN Finland in the previous International Boards

  • 1999-2000 Catharina Lindström (ESN Åbo Akademi), Secretary
  • 2000-2001 Mikko Arvas (ESN HYY Helsinki), President
  • 2001-2002 Janna Koivisto (ESN JYY Jyväskylä), Vice-President
  • 2002-2003 Hanna-Maija Saarinen (ESN Åbo Akademi), President
  • 2004-2005 Giuseppe Lugano (ESN HYY Helsinki), Vice-President
  • 2010-2011 Marco La Rosa (ESN HYY Helsinki), External

The National Board Working Group 2008-2009

  • Eerika Hedman (ESN JYY Jyväskylä)
  • Harri Lähdekorpi (ESN JYY Jyväskylä)
  • Nicolau Goncalves (ESN TKY)
  • István Mák (ESN ASK)
  • Jutta Pietiläinen (ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • Marco La Rosa (ESN HYY Helsinki)
  • Heidi Hietala (ESN Åbo Akademi)

National Board 2009-2010

  • Eerika Hedman (ESN JYY Jyväskylä), President
  • Harri Lähdekorpi (ESN JYY Jyväskylä), Vice-President
  • Anna Alasuutari (ESN TYY Turku), National Representative
  • Juha Määttänen (ESN HELGA), Treasurer
  • Marco La Rosa (ESN HYY Helsinki), IT Responsible

National Board 2010-2011

  • Laura Isomäki (ESN Uni Turku), President
  • Nina Ylöstalo (ESN HELGA), Vice-President
  • Aino Henriksson (ESN Uni Turku), National Representative
  • Vivian Maar (ESN METKA), Treasurer
  • Guillermo Rodriguez (ESN INTO Tampere), IT Responsible

National Board 2011-2012

  • Joonas Niemi (ESN-IAC Turku), President
  • Jani Hujanen (ESN Lapland), Vice President
  • Jerzy Jasielec (ESN Åbo Akademi), National Representative
  • Joanna Wierzchowiecka (ESN Uni Turku), Treasurer
  • Jakub Jakubiak (ESN INTO Tampere), IT Manager

National Board 2012 (transition board)

  • Joonas Niemi (ESN-IAC Turku), President
  • Antti Reinsalo (ESN HYY Helsinki), Vice President
  • Emma Peltonen (ESN Uni Turku), National Representative
  • Bianca Beyer (ESN OYY Oulu), Treasurer
  • Piermaria Armenti (ESN FINT Tampere), IT Manager
  • Paula Cajal Marinosa (ESN INTO Tampere), National section coordinator

National Board 2013

  • Henna Peltoniemi (ESN Lappeenranta), President
  • Mikael Skrabb (ESN HELGA), Vice-president
  • Emma Koskinen (ESN Uni Turku), National Representative
  • Bianca Beyer (ESN Oulu), Treasurer
  • Leonardo Garma (ESN OYY Oulu), IT Manager
  • Jutta Pietiläinen (ESN-HYY Helsinki), National Sections Coordinator
  • Salha Hanna (ESN-HYY Helsinki) (1.1. - 31.5.), President
  • Henna Peltoniemi (ESN Lappeenranta) (1.1. - 25.6.), Vice-president
  • Mikael Skrabb (ESN HELGA) (1.1. - 25.6.), IT Manager

National Board 2014 (transition board)

  • Matleena Heikkinen (ESN Jyväskylä), President
  • Salli Soini (ESN Uni Turku), Vice-president
  • Heini Jyräkoski (ESN Jyväskylä), National Representative
  • Jutta Pietiläinen (ESN-HYY Helsinki), National Section Coordinator
  • Iris Kivimäki (ESN HELGA), Treasurer
  • Stanislav Belov (ESN KISA), Webmaster

National Board 2014-2015

  • Mikael Männistö (ESN Aalto), President
  • Henry Rauhanen (ESN FINT), Vice-President (8.1.2015 - )
  • Heini Jyräkoski (ESN Jyväskylä), National Representative
  • Matilda Vähäkangas (ESN Vaasa), Treasurer
  • Mikko Hyvärinen (ESN Jyväskylä), IT Manager/WPA
  • Sanna Hakala (ESN-IAC Turku), National Section Coordinator (7.12.2014 - )
     
  • Juho-Heikki Ollikainen (ESN Lappeenranta), Vice-president (1.6. -  2.12.2014)
  • Yigit Zorlutuna (ESN FINT), National Section Coordinator (1.6. - 20.11.2014)

National Board 2015-2016

  • Henry Rauhanen (ESN FINT), President
  • Mikael Männistö (ESN Aalto), Vice-President
  • Mikko Hyvärinen (ESN Jyväskylä), National Representative
  • Marjut Jalkanen (ESN Jyväskylä), Treasurer
  • Burak Yirmibeşoğlu, (ESN INTO), IT Manager/WPA
  • Annika Selander (ESN Jyväskylä), Communications manager
  • Pablo Guillerna Franco, (ESN Joensuu), National Section Coordinator

National Board 2016-2017

  • Miia Vaara (ESN Kisa), President
  • Toni Tamminen (ESN Aalto), Vice-President
  • Pablo Guillerna Franco (ESN Joensuu), National Representative
  • Maël Kimmerlin (ESN Aalto), Web Project Administrator
  • Alina Dubinina (ESN Uni Turku), Communications manager
  • Anni Juhela (ESN Uni Turku), National Section Coordinator

International Events hosted by Finland

  • 1994 AGM, Helsinki
  • 1998 Nordic Network Meeting, Helsinki
  • 2001 Nordic Network Meeting, Jyväskylä
  • 2002 International Board Meeting, Helsinki
  • 2004 AGM, Helsinki
  • 2005 CNR, Helsinki
  • 2006 Nordic Network Meeting, Helsinki
  • 2010 ESN Alumni Meeting, Helsinki
  • 2010 Northern European Platform, Turku
  • 2011 National Boards' Meeting, Helsinki
  • 2013 Northern European Platform, Tampere
  • 2016 CNR, Jyväskylä
  • 2016 NEP, Oulu

History of National Platforms:

  • First unofficial National Platform held 1994 in Helsinki.   
  • 1997:
    • Spring 1997: Tampere
    • Fall 1997: Turku
  • 1998:
    • Spring 1998: Jyväskylä
    • Fall 1998: Helsinki
  • 1999
    • Spring 1999: Turku
    • Fall 1999: Helsinki
  • 2000
    • Spring 2000: Tampere
    • Fall 2000: Jyväskylä
  • 2001
    • Spring 2001: Turku
    • Fall 2001: Oulu
  • 2002
    • Spring 2002: Helsinki
    • Fall 2002: Vaasa
  • 2003
    • Spring 2003: Jyväskylä
    • Fall 2003: Turku
  • 2004
    • Spring 2004: Helsinki
    • Fall 2004: Turku
  • 2005
    • Spring 2005: Tampere
    • Fall 2005: Oulu
  • 2006
    • Spring 2006: Helsinki
    • Fall 2006: Jyväskylä
  • 2007
    • Spring 2007: Turku
    • Fall 2007: Tampere
  • 2008
    • Spring 2008: Helsinki
    • Fall 2008: Joensuu
  • 2009
    • Spring 2009: Rovaniemi
    • Fall 2009: Vaasa
  • 2010
    • Spring 2010: Oulu
    • Fall 2010: Jyväskylä
  • 2011
    • Spring 2011: Tampere
    • Fall 2011: Rovaniemi
  • 2012
    • Spring 2012: Helsinki
    • Fall 2012: Lappeenranta
  • 2013
    • Spring 2013 Oulu
    • Fall 2013 Turku
  • 2014
    • Spring 2014 Lappeenranta
    • Fall 2014 Vaasa
  • 2015
    • Spring 2015 Jyväskylä
    • Fall 2015 Helsinki
  • 2016
    • Spring 2016 Tampere
    • Fall 2016 Kuopio

Compiled and written by Aino Henriksson and Laura Isomäki, November 2010. Updated in June 2012.
The text updated in August 2014 by Mikko Hyvärinen and Heini Jyräkoski.

Updated 18.12.2014, new board updated 31.05.2015
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