- How much time will a national board position take?
Depending on your position and the period you’re in you spend on average about 20 hours per week on ESN the Netherlands. This includes participating in (board) meetings, processing emails and executing tasks. The time you spend fluctuates though, for example due to travel time for real life meetings.
- Can I combine my full time studies with ESN the Netherlands?
Depending on what you study and how much time and effort you have to put in to this we would normally say that it is possible to combine your board position in ESN the Netherlands with a full time study program. If you spend 20 hours per week on your board position and 40 hours on your study program, this should be manageable depending on your abilities.
- If I am not studying can I do other things next to ESN the Netherlands?
The great thing about a National Board position in ESN the Netherlands is that you can make it as large as you want. By taking extra (busy) portfolio’s and other work you can easily become a National Board Member. If you then still have time left you could combine it with a part time job/internship or with writing your thesis. We would not recommend combining the board position with a full time job/ internship as this seriously impairs your flexibility, which may be detrimental to the functioning of the board.
- What does a typical National Board Member week look like?
Every week there is a board meeting which takes you about two to three hours at maximum. You have to work on your portfolio’s which takes you about three hours per week on them. Checking your e-mails, responding and sending out e-mails yourself takes you a few hours. Next to this you have policy and other document writing tasks which also take some time. And finally you have meetings with sections, colleagues or external parties, of which the number of hours depends on the position.
The work load varies over the semester. The weeks before a National Platform are more demanding than a random week in the middle of a semester.
- Is there any financial compensation related to the time I spend on my board function?
ESN the Netherlands is a non-profit students helping students organization. This means our organization and its board members work solely with volunteers. Therefore there is no salary connected to your Board Position. However, the Ministry of Education has provided us with a grant which gives each board member a small monthly financial compensation for their work. This amount is supposed to compensate you for the extra costs you might get from a study delay. This amount will be given to you directly from the ministry as soon as your board is confirmed to be the current NB.
- What kind of experience do I need to get selected as a National Board member?
Although it might seem like only former section board members get selected as a National Board member this is not the case. Of course, the work you have done for your local section will be taken into consideration but it is not a requirement. We have had National Board members in the past who started their ESN career in the National Board and not as a Local Board member. Skills that are required are a proper knowledge of the English language and a high level of professionalism, accountability and structuralism. We also require an affinity with our goals and ambitious being the support of international students and developments in this area.
- How can I benefit from a National Board position?
As a National Board Member you will gain professional and social skills on a higher level. The large amount of responsibilities that you have and the network that you support will lead to a higher understanding of diverse organizational issues. You get to learn how nation wide organization deals with people from different section and how you can be of support to them. The great thing about the National Board is that the people you work with most, board members of local sections, have a higher level of professionality than people you would work with in a “Board to Student” organization. This leads to a higher set of skills and professionality than in a local student organization.
- I don’t live close to Amsterdam or Utrecht, will this bring any problems?
No, in theory it does not. It doesn’t matter if you live in Amsterdam, Groningen or Maastricht, anyone can join the National Board. However you do have to realize that a lot of meetings take place in the centre of the Netherlands to make it as easy as possible for all Dutch sections to go to these meetings. This means that a lot of meetings take place in Utrecht, Amsterdam or Rotterdam. If you are from another city you have to take the travel time to these cities into account. You do get compensated for any travel costs that you have. In general we can say that you have to travel to another city at least once every two weeks.
- Can I join the board while not living in the Netherlands?
We would strongly recommend not joining the board while not living in the Netherlands. Although the amount of real life meetings is relatively low there are still important meetings that you have to attend. The amount of time travelling to these meetings could create a problem for you and besides this ESN the Netherlands would not be able not cover the costs you have for doing so. We would also not support the idea of combining a board year with a semester abroad (an exchange period) as this would create too many logistical and time problems.
- As the official location of ESN the Netherlands is in Utrecht, do I need to go there every week?
No, the location of ESN the Netherlands in Utrecht is only a mailbox. Right now ESN the Netherlands does not have an office and uses several cities to host meetings in. The weekly board meetings you have take place over skype or real life at someone’s home.
- Do I need to travel a lot for my National Board position?
Depending on your position the amount of international meetings you attend is up to you. There are a lot international events you can go to but most of these are optional. You do have to travel to Brussels about thrice per year to attend your function or portfolio related meetings. This is different for the position of NR. This person is required to go to a lot of international meetings and requires a great deal of travelling.
FUNCTION SPECIFIC FAQ’s (not every position is mentioned)
- Does the position of president require a lot more time than the other positions?
In general all positions require the same amount of time. A lot of tasks within the NB can be distributed among different board-members, which can lead to an equal distribution.
- Do I need any financial expertise to become treasurer?
You do not. You have to work with bookkeeping software, but you can learn this very quickly. Besides this you need a clear mind which is able to work with numbers, but we expect this from every board member.
- Do I need to travel a lot as NR?
Yes you do. NR’s need to attend a lot of international meetings which demands travelling.
- If I never organised a National Platform and was never part of a Chairing Team, does that mean I am unsuitable for secretary?
While previous experience with both of these sides of National Platforms is very useful, we have plenty of guides and manuals available, which will help you.