Exciting Erasmus story – By Luti
Exciting Erasmus story - Was it worth it?
Want an exciting Erasmus story? Meet Luti:
Hello you! Yeah, you who just started reading this story! I’m Luti, and this is my Erasmus story. So, brace yourselves because you are in for a long but thrilling tale!
My “Erasmus journey” kind of started when I was in my first year of bachelor studies at my local university, the University of Tetova. As I was heading into the examination period of the 2nd semester, I made up my mind that I wanted to move out of my town. I wanted to continue my studies at another university because my extroverted self wished to live a more student and social life in general.
In the meantime, I had an eye surgery scheduled for dioptric correction. I called off the surgery and decided to stay with the glasses and use the funds to cover the tuition fees at the new university I would transfer to. After I transferred to the new university, South East European University, in the middle of the 4th semester, my friends and I decided to apply for the Erasmus+ program.
I had three options, Spain, Bulgaria, and Croatia, and I had no idea where I wanted to go. I chose Split, Croatia, as my Erasmus destination based on my faculty’s student counselor recommendations.
Now, let me tell you, the beginning wasn’t that sweet…my Erasmus was in jeopardy
because I unknowingly hadn’t completed the whole application process! But,
thankfully the Erasmus Office at the University of Split was understanding of
the situation, and I was given a period for me to complete the needed
documentation and send it to them.
Exciting Erasmus story begins...#heartrace
My heart was racing like crazy until I received the acceptance letter from the University of Split.
The day that I traveled for Split, I was so thrilled. I had never been out of the country alone, without supervision. I could barely wait for the 15 hours of travel by bus to pass. I chose the bus because I don’t really like flying and it was much cheaper to travel by bus…aaaand so I could have some extra money to spend on partying.
As soon as I arrived at the bus station in Split, I messaged my ESN Split buddy to pick me up. Meanwhile, I still couldn’t believe that I was alone in another country and had no idea what was about to come. After my buddy picked me up, I went to the hostel I booked for the first week to stay and settled there. That was my first experience in a hostel. Twenty people using two rooms and one bathroom…crazy, huh? Well, not for me!
I was exploring the city with my phone’s GPS tracker, Google Maps, and 4G, all enabled so I wouldn’t get lost…or so I thought. Nevertheless, for everyone in Split, it’s nearly impossible for first-timers to not get lost in the old town or not panic while being lost in it. The walls were so close to each other on the narrow streets. It was confusing even for google maps and the GPS tracker, let alone for myself. After spending an hour trying to get out of the old town, I finally managed to find my way to the hostel I was staying in.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
The real Erasmus journey began when I got a message from the other Erasmus students about the party we were going to that night…MY FIRST PARTY! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I was SO excited and didn’t know what to expect.
That was the night I met some of the best people I’ve ever met. As soon as I arrived at the bar in the old town, where the gathering was happening, I noticed everyone talking to each other, drinking, and having fun. THAT moment there… that’s when I hit the switch. I transformed into the ME I am today. As I introduced myself to the Erasmus students, they asked me a critical question “Dude, where’s your drink? We are on Erasmus!”
The drinks just started flowing, I was having fun, and this ME saw that I was much more comfortable with ME and began making friends from the first night by being just ME. By the time I thought we were done and I was about to go back to my hostel, they said, “Not this soon, man, we are just starting…WE ARE GOING AT THE CLUB!”. By the way, I had never been in a club all my life, and I was 21 years old. As the night progressed, I had so much fun discovering the nightlife people my age were living.
"Let it be! We only live once!"
I felt like I belonged in that place with those people, my friends for Erasmus. Never for one second did I feel bad in any way. That was my home, and I would make my stay lit for the remaining 4 and a half months of my stay there.
After a week passed, it was time for me to meet my first roommate and move into my shared flat. At first, I met with Mehmet, the best Erasmus roommate one can ask for. Honestly, it was a blessing having such an understanding, fun, respectful party guy like Mehmet as a roommate. He helped me pack my things and move my luggage to the flat. The next day, we met up with our 3rd roommate, Diana, so the flat was finally complete and ready to host some house parties!
Together, we made the initiative to host the first, most crazy Erasmus house party to begin that Erasmus. We bought the drinks, with the help of our Austrian friend, Florian. As well, we carefully wrote a notice on our Erasmus WhatsApp group saying: “We are having a house party at our place, Spinciceva 25 street last floor, and everyone is invited. EVERYONE!”.
The ESN Split members were like, “Luti, are you crazy?? you’re gonna get kicked out, and the neighbors are going to call the police on you!”
And I was like – “Let it be! We only live once!”
Well, I didn’t expect so many Erasmus students to turn up. We barely had a place to breathe!
We were drinking, dancing, singing, and to say the least, the ESN Split members were kiiiinda right. The neighbors below us started to complain, called my flat owner, and almost got the police involved.
From newbie to a party animal - On fire!
To this day, even though there was a strong possibility of me getting kicked out and getting the police called on and all sorts of trouble, I have no regrets. I would do it all again. It took some time to clean the flat, but my roommates and I didn’t care. It was all worth it. And that’s when I made friends out of Pieter-Paul, Emil, Marilena, Magda, Antoine, and many more that I still talk to, to this day…Aaaand that’s when one of my nicknames, “Luti the Party Animal,” was born!
The first week of the official opening of the new semester saw us, the Erasmus students participate in the “Welcome Week” organized by ESN Split. It was filled with trips, parties, trivia, speed dating, international dinner, and last but definitely not least, the one that I am the proudest of…PUB CRAWL!
I started this week with the right foot by not remembering the 2nd half of the International Dinner event…yeah, Jägermeister did its thing.It was a pretty good event. I learned very much about other countries’ dishes and drinks, which was very cool.
The next event was Pub Crawl, which I was very excited about. Not to brag, but my team was fire, the best. We traveled to 4 bars during this event on foot. Whoever drank the most and didn’t vomit won first place and a 5l Johny Walker bottle prize.
Pub crawls, besides drinking, contained fun games and tasks as well, which my team killed it again. Nevertheless, I am proud to say that my team won first place even though we had intense competition. That prize and this is one of the highlights of my Erasmus.
Cheers to another exciting Erasmus story!
During a night out, after the “Meet My Country” event, some friends and I decided to do a hiking trip. The first-ever in my life. We wanted to go to a weekend house in the periphery of Split that one of my friends’ family owns.
It was a 20 something km-long trip, in which we traveled by foot. It was tiring, but at the same time, awesome. I loved it. We traveled through rocky path terrain, going upwards through the mountain and downwards through similar terrain. It was an incredible sight.
This was definitely one of the highlights of my Erasmus, another “first” that I had never done.
When we returned from this hiking trip, everyone talked about the football derby Hajduk Split vs. Dinamo Zagreb that I had no idea about. I had never been to a football stadium. What a time and opportunity it was to experience a derby game on my first time in a stadium.
When my friends and I arrived at the stadium, the roads were packed, and everyone was going there. After we finally got inside, the stadium was packed, fans of Hajduk singing and cheering…and cursing a lot LOL.
It was honestly one of my best experiences. The game ended in a draw, but I quickly became part of that culture, Hajduk fan forever. I went there not expecting anything, and I left in AWE.
During our night outs and day outs, me, Pieter-Paul and Emil discovered a pancake place, which we’ve been to many times since discovering it. The funny thing is that Pieter-Paul once had to wait for me for 30 minutes to arrive and meet him there. And he always mentioned to me “the time you were 30 mins late”. Sorry, Pieter. :))
As time went by, we socialized with each other more, gathered at the student cantines, made pre-drink plans together, and, of course, went to parties together. Actually MADE the parties. WE WERE THE PARTY!
When Pieter-Paul and I entered clubs where Erasmus students were gathered, we were met with literal screaming. Could you imagine people shouting your name in a club?? I felt like a VIP. :))
Up to that point, it was the first time in my life that I felt important and wanted because I was simply being myself. These small details made me realize that I should always just be myself and not care what others think of certain things I do for myself. I just killed my “reserved and step back, don’t say anything, just listen” personality traits because I realized that I’d feel much better if I did so. And damn right, I felt much better.
And by being me during this Erasmus, I actually made “Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers” the Erasmus anthem. Every time this song was played in a club, it was well known who asked for it and who was attending the party…ME. Whenever this song was played, everyone looked at me, and we just went crazy dancing and jumping .
Erasmus - It can always turn even better...
This was probably my proudest moment. I left a mark on this Erasmus. I left a mark on every Erasmus student who thinks of me when they hear this song. At least on the ones, we were hanging out all the time together, which wasn’t a small number of students by any means.
As time went by, the Christmas period was just around the corner. My first time experiencing the Christmas period in a place where it is actually celebrated. All the gatherings, the tiny houses, the pancakes, and gluhwein were so new to me. To say the least, I really enjoyed going out during this period with my roommate Marilena.
As if the Erasmus life was not already good, just how it was, it became even better.
After long thinking and talking with my friends at the end of December, I decided to pay them a visit to Warsaw, where they were doing their Erasmus. I traveled 26 hours by bus from Split to Zagreb, to Vienna and finally to Warsaw. And thank God for Flixbus because I don’t like flying.
I had no idea what to expect from this trip and Warsaw overall. It was my first time crossing countries by bus, alone and trying to be alert. But it honestly paid off. Warsaw was amazing.
During this traveling period, I got a story reaction on Instagram from some Erasmus girl asking me: “Hey, where are you going?”. And I just said, “I’m going to Warsaw.” Her: “But with who?”
Me: “I have company.”
We left it at that, and I didn’t think much of it. But keep reading…you’ll get the point later.
Was it worth it?
I had booked return tickets, and I initially planned to stay only 2 weeks. Right when I arrived, my friend told me, “I think you’ll change your return dates and prolong your stay here when you see what a good time we will have.” And he was very much right.
We celebrated the New Year together and waited for our other best friend to arrive from Sweden. He also was on Erasmus to meet us in Warsaw and stay with us, so the four musketeers pack was complete and ready to tango!
The Pre Drink + Teatro Cubano + Kebab King combo was just too perfect to not experience it for as long as I could!
Honestly, we had the perfect recipe to have a great night out. We went ice skating in an open ice skating rink, fell a gazillion times, and saw the most spectacular fails. Loved it.
In the end, I ended up changing the return dates twice, stayed for one month in Warsaw and ditched the beginner plan to “stay 2 weeks and get back for my final exam in the Croatian language” and actually missed my final exam and sent my professor the following excuse:
“Dear Jelena, I am having too much fun in Warsaw, and I won’t be back for the final exam
Yours truly, Luti”. She found it hilarious.
Now, the main question should be, “Was it worth it?”
HELL, FREAKING YES!”
During my time in Warsaw, my Erasmus friends in Split were constantly texting me, “Luti, what are you doing in Warsaw, man?? Get back here so we can party!”
"Mr. Luti, the company owner"
So when I finally returned, there was a running joke between the Erasmus students about me. I suddenly became the “Mr. Luti, the company owner” and had no idea why. Basically, it started when the Erasmus girl asked me where I was going when I was on my way to Warsaw. My answer was “I have company in Warsaw,” which, by the way, by “company,” I meant “friends,” and she thought I was manager of some company. It was pretty funny and stuck with me during the remainder of that Erasmus.
During the remaining days of Erasmus, we had an outgoing party whenever an Erasmus friend had to leave for his home country. It was deplorable seeing your friends go.
The saddest part for me was when I had to leave. It was dark at night, all my friends had left, we’d already had our goodbyes. I felt so empty while I was going and thinking about all the memories I had created during this Erasmus. Every friend I’ve met, every place I’ve been, and every girl I’ve been involved with. Feelings were definitely running high.
I tried to overcome all this by finding consolation in the fact that I missed home and that everything, every situation, comes to an end. When it all does come to an end, we have to accept the reality.
Now, if I overcame all this 100% and I still don’t think about “what if I did this instead of that during my Erasmus,” I’d be lying to you. But this is life. I go back and cherish those moments and memories, and I am proud that I was brave enough to take this challenge upon myself.
Conclusions and message to future Erasmus'ers
Now, was this it? Was it having to pass many exams when I got back to my home university? Was it worth it spending so much money? Was it worth it to go to a foreign country that you’ve never been to?
WAS THIS ALL WORTH IT??
Erasmus has given me friends that I still talk to this day. Erasmus has taught me how to manage certain situations that I had never found myself in before my Erasmus. All in all, Erasmus has shaped me into the person I am today has given me personality traits that I did not have before going on Erasmus. And I am very thankful for it.
To all the future Erasmus’ers, make the most out of your Erasmus. Go out in every event, socialize with everyone, do not say “it’s too late,” or it’s too much.” Create as many memories as possible because those that you will create will last and cherish forever, and that’s how other Erasmus students will remember you!
I was happy to have a reason to reflect on these memories and write about them, so thank you for your attention because you just read my Erasmus story!