A couple of months ago, I came back from my Erasmus in Prague. I stayed there for 5 months (the entire winter semester from late September until the mid of February) and I can assure you that it was the best experience of my life so far! Since I’ve been younger, I have always toyed with the idea of living and studying abroad. I always believed -and still do- that experiencing life at a different country is very exciting and very beneficial at the same time. You get to live a different lifestyle, improve your communication skills, be acquainted to various cultures and traditions and of course most importantly, make friends with people from all over the globe.
Erasmus is the most popular exchange program in Europe for students (and not only), and it was launched for the first time in 1987. Since then, this program grants European students the opportunity to experience student life in one of the 37 countries involved with the Erasmus program. More info you can find at the European Commission’s website here, or instead you could even ask the international office of your home university for more specific details, since each university involved in this scheme offers a broad spectrum of study programs and various courses to choose from. The popularity of the Erasmus exchange program has increased overtime with more and more students choosing to participate not only for completing a semester (or even a whole year) of their bachelor’s or master’s studies but also for completing an internship as well! Some fellow students that I know, were lucky enough to do both!
There are numerous reasons why the Erasmus exchange program is definitely worth your attention, but I’ve chosen to highlight the most important ones which sum up in my opinion the entire “Erasmus spirit”.
1. It’s a challenging, life-changing experience.
Yes, the thought of living abroad can be very exhilarating, but also intimidating at the same time and of course it’s a great decision to make. It’s easier said than done, one might say, but once you actually think about it, being abroad for a small period of time can actually be very beneficial for you in the long run. Every single thing will be completely new; new city, new language, new friends, new apartment, new lifestyle in general! This is nothing to scare you though, it’s actually the good part of being abroad, you get do to it all over again, andof course, it actually will help you evolve and grow as a human being:
–It boosts your self-confidence and independence.
–You’ll discover new habits and re-define yourself.
–As a person, you’ll be more open towards new, gain new values
and be more appreciating about life.
–You’ll gain more life skills and learn how to face
new and tricky situations.
2. Improve your language skills.
My experience showed me that living in a different country is the best way to practice and even improve your communication skills. Living the language is the most efficient and fun way to acquire it. So, if you feel that your language skills could use a major improvement or just a little brushing up, there is no better way to do it than by becoming an exchange student abroad. Even though I wasn’t at an English-native speaking country, I actually got to practice my English a lot more than I expected. Attending an English speaking university really helped as well.
3. You’ll get to make new friends from all over the world.
During my Erasmus in Prague I made friends with people from all over the globe! Friendship goes beyond borders, regardless of the language, culture, religion or ethnicity. It’s such a wonderful thing knowing that you have a friend at the other side of the world who you can always visit or come to visit you and with whom you will always have a lot to share even though you don’t see each other every day. One of the greatest things I enjoyed during my time abroad, were the International dinners which we held every now and then and all of those spontaneous mid-week night outs for beer and hanging out with amazing people.
4. You’ll get to travel A LOT.
I spent most of my Erasmus scholarship for traveling to neighboring countries and exploring central Europe as much as I could. One of the greatest things of being an Erasmus student is all of the travelling you get to do; you have the time, money and amazing company! Also, thanks to Schengen, traveling in Europe is now very easy. It’s the best chance to get the international perspective, and you’ll return feeling more of a European citizen! You can get a taste of my travels during my Erasmus period, by clicking here.
5. Your CV will stand out.
Your student exchange experience is undoubtedly a great addition to your CV as it means extra academic and professional skills. This will make you stand out in the job market as many employers value such period abroad. Hence, your employability within the international market will be increased as well.
5+1. It’s an experience you will never forget.
Because Erasmus is so much more than just studying abroad and discovering new people; it’s about recreating a better version of yourself 🙂