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Erasmus life before and after Covid19

Published by Someone from Everywhere on

erasmus life before and after covid19 graphic

Erasmus life before and after Covid19

erasmus life before and after covid19 graphic

Want to hear a story about Erasmus life before and after Covid19?

You landed perfectly, as Maria experienced Erasmus life before and after Covid19 started. You will see how life could give you lemons even before this crazy pandemic.

This is the reason why I started this blog in the first place. So you can all share both good and bad, and give others something to learn out of your experiences.

Here’s Maria’s inspiring story:

Intro

First of all, I should say who I am. So here we go… Hi, I’m Maria, still a student from Romania. I’m the kind of person who has to know everything that happens in my city, every event and festival, I want to know all the opportunities that exist.

When I was in high school, I loved a lot to go for volunteering activities and to take advantage of all that was offered to me. I always searched for the advantages of participating in events and seeing other places with little money or free. 

So yes, after I started university, I wanted to go Erasmus. The best period for me was in the second year. Usually, you can only go in year 2 when you study for 3 years. The whole highschool period I studied in german. Yes, most of the classes were taught in German, so I know it well. So when I thought about which country to choose to go to Erasmus I first thought about Austria or Germany, so I could talk to the natives and improve my german skills. But it’s usually not that simple because I remember I had 29 universities to choose from and besides that the country I always wanted to go to was SPAIN.

Decision making

I started thinking about it, asking other people, to see the pros and cons of each… One big disadvantage for Spain was that I didn’t know Spanish but still I chose that option. I talked to an older colleague who was in Erasmus in Spain at the time and she said her courses were in English. I said to myself that I can do it, although before I had the impression that I don’t know well English but in the end, I realized I could handle it. 

So here we go…  I decided to search in which university I want to study or better in which city I want to go from my options. I searched on the websites for all the options, and I decided for one university that I put on 1st place on the registration list, and added the other 2 from Austria because I said if it is not meant for Spain then it is a sign. 🙂 So I found out I will go to Leon, Spain. 

Now I want to tell you a little bit about the not-so-pleasant part, mainly about registration and documents. I can say only how it was in my case -from Romania to Spain. 

To start, I had to submit a small application file to my college faculty at the International relations office. I had to prepare only a CV, letter of intent, some documents with personal data, and the transcript of records.

Paper issues

I know that some universities do not accept to let you go if you still have backlogs in college. After they checked everything and it was ok, I completed my Erasmus „wish list”. My university sent my application to the host university. In the way Spanish people are, I received an answer very late and I checked my email several times a day. I was so stressed because if you sign up for the second semester you have quite a short time before you have to go and get everything ready, so everything had to be in a rush. 

I received their answer at around 9 pm when obviously I couldn’t do anything. Yes, I was accepted but in the email, it was written that until tomorrow I had to send a whole list of documents … So the next day from morning till night I ran from side to side looking for people to sign my sheets, print, scan and send everything. 

One thing that required a financial effort was insurance of 200 euros which was necessary for the application. In this application, they asked me to write the courses I want to apply to. Before, when I searched about the university I saw that they offer some courses in English but until then I hadn’t found the courses I could apply to, there was only one course in English for me and the other 4 in Spanish. The next step was to fill in some documents I received so that I could receive the scholarship money from my university. With all these steps the nice ladies from the International relations office helped me. Of course, now I had to look for accommodation and transport on my own. 

Erasmus life before Codi19

OK, so here I am preparing myself to go alone to a new country where I don’t know the language. So for the first time, I flew alone to Madrid and I got lost in the airport because it is huge. I hardly managed to find the exit after I took a bus and 2 trains. After 12 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in Leon at my new home for the next 6 months. 

From here it began another chapter. I started meeting new people, making friends, going to parties, doing activities together, learning about different cultures, tasting their food, and obviously sharing my culture too. I think that every Erasmus student is a little ambassador of their own country. 

A very good thing that helped the students to meet each other was a student organization from the university AEGEE LEON who always planned the best parties and activities: orientation week, city tour, tapas, game nights, pub crawl, trips, and much more. This organization exists in other cities from Europe too. I don’t know if in other countries is the same but in Spain were many students from Latin America but from other countries outside of Europe so meet people from all around the world. 

It was difficult at first to speak to the people who only knew Spanish but still, I managed to learn from them or they manage to learn some English from me I guess. :)) 

Now about the university I can only say that it was really difficult for me, everything was in Spanish and the students from there didn’t know English or just a little and also I received a lot of “seen” to the help requests I sent to them. Also, the teachers asked a lot of individual work and homework from students. I didn’t fit there very well.

Erasmus life after Covid19

After only a month and a half, the quarantine was instituted in Spain and all plans to leave for Valencia were canceled and of course all other activities. Some students went home, others stayed for a while.

I was left alone in the house and I could not go out except for shopping. For sure this was not a pleasant part. Then I moved in with my neighbors who were also Erasmus students. It was already May and the exam session had started, seeing that here in Spain I don’t have many chances to pass, I registered online for my colleagues’ courses in Romania.

This was an inspired decision. After a while, the restrictions were eased and I was able to leave the house to see parts of the city that I had not seen. Then it was time to leave and come back home with all the things I learned but also with some regrets that I couldn’t visit Spain.

In the end, I just want to tell you that I do not regret that I chose to go with Erasmus even if I did not manage to do everything I wanted. I had enough to learn. A very important thing is to take advantage of any opportunity because you do not know if you will have another chance. I would encourage as many students as possible to go with Erasmus or other emerging projects.

The lesson for today @erasmusweekly

Erasmus life before and after Covid19 is challenging. That’s the beauty of it, that you learn how to solve things on your own. You wake up in the middle of a place you’ve never seen, surrounded by people who have a different lifestyle from yours, and you have a lot to learn already. More than that…you will love the whole experience with good and bad.

If you want to see an even worst situation than Maria’s, you can click here, which happened way before Covid19, and I loved every drop of it. I had also a situation with the Erasmus papers.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow on Insta @erasmusweekly for more fun and learnings. 😉


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