My Erasmus adventures by Anna Gil

Today I want to present my experience connected with exchange and participation in the Erasmus Programme: I studied abroad in Pecs, Hungary as an Erasmus student and now I am working in Clube Intercultural Europeu, here in Lisbon, due to Erasmus.

It wasn’t an easy decision to go abroad for few months. I had many concerns, questions and  doubts. Mostly about: my level of English, what about leaving far away from my family and friends? What about even such simple things like cooking, traveling?

But I’m also a curious person and it was my curiosity that overcame me and made me participate. What could happen?

My friends from the University were my motivators and they pushed me into applying. In the picture you can see one of my best friends Asia-at that time she was in Spain and I received a lot of massages from her about how wonderful Erasmus was and what extraordinary adventures she had there. Also I thought it was a great chance for me to travel – what personally I really adore, to improve my language skills and to boost my CV.

People

After 5 months abroad I made new friends: it’s amazing and so easy to put in one place people from around the world, at least from Europe, and they will find common channels to communicate with each other. At the same moment we were a group of individuals with different backgrounds, traditions and beliefs, and after some time we became a  big family who ate together, shared interests and hobbies, read the same books. I had an opportunity to compare a lot of ideas for life, to learn tolerance and respect and share my culture, to be a representative of Poland.

Education

One of the basic goals of Erasmus is to give students the chance to cooperate in international environment – and it was like that in my example. The picture shows my classmates from Pecs, you can also see my subjects. During that time I learned a lot about marketing and human behaviour. I had wonderful teachers with passions, work and life experiences and a heart for students. They took care of our class integration – now I know how to split work, prepare presentation with people from other countries which is extremely hard even if it doesn’t look like. Every week I had to prepare homework, read articles and study for tests.

Explore the new city and country.

At the beginning I was alone there – even some easy things could become a big problem: where is the closest grocery shop, can I use my credit card, what with the phone calls to Poland, how to use public transport. But there are always nice people around ready to help you.

It is also a great opportunity to see a unique architecture and try different cuisines.

Culture/ Language

Erasmus is also a great idea for people who are curious about the world. For example, my University in Hungary and ESN (Erasmus Social Net) gave me an opportunity to learn more about other countries during weekly country presentations. We had participants from about 25 countries, every Wednesday we had 3 presentations delivered by delegations from different countries who prepared PowerPoint presentations or movies, presented dances or sang national songs and after we always had a big international dinner, so I already know what Pakistani, Japanese or Spanish food tastes like. In the picture you can see me with my Polish friend standing next to our table.

Languages – it is obvious, thanks to my experience not only have I improved my English but also I have learned some new words in Hungarian and Turkish (my roommate was from Turkey) I could have chosen Hungarian classes – for new students it is a good way to meet new people. It also helped me to learn body language, when your foreign language is not excellent you focus much more on what other person wants to tell you and you can read emotions from their mimics, gestures and body. Even the ways of greeting are different, depending on the part of the world.

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When you compare Poland with Hungary you can see that my country is much bigger than Hungary. Because of that it was close to so many places, so why not use it? Now I am better at planning, checking information, managing my finances, making responsible decisions. It is not true that travelling has to be expensive, everything depends on you. If you like exploring, walking, contemplating landscapes travels are definitely for you.

Events and Parties

And of curse Erasmus is about having great time during parties and other events. I love dancing and I had a lot of chances to do it during Disney, Valentines or National Women Day Parties. My Erasmus Family was taking part in Carnival, skating and national Hungarian dance classes.

Work

In 2014 about 4000 people will graduate only from my University, all of us with degrees in Economics, so why would employers choose me during the recruitment process?  Because in my CV they will find something more than just my diploma.

Working in Portugal, in Clube Intercultural Europeu gives me not only a desired experience but more – it is an international Experience.  I did internships during my studies but it is the first time when I can work for such a long time. It’s not only accounting that I am doing in the Club but it is also about relations between workmates and the culture in organization. I can observe other positions, I can Learn ! I am responsible for my work, I am aware what club wants from me and that they need me – all of this things motivate me to be as good as I can in fulfilling my obligations.

If you are interested in talk about your exchange experience join ESN sessions at schools -write me mail – cyt.gil@gmail.pl

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