First guest story
"How I was paid 10K Euros by Erasmus to study abroad"
Being paid 10K Euros by Erasmus to study abroad?! That’s crazy, right? It’s also very true but this is not my story to tell. Today, someone dared to share his story (he calls himself shy and introverted by the way). He will talk about Erasmus in Poland and all the benefits that it brought to him. So, here is our first guest story about Erasmus. Trust me, it’s both inspiring and motivating. My last words before his story: THANK YOU!
“Imagine you have 2 options:
- Get 450 euro per month to study abroad
- stay in your hometown as a broke college student
This was me the first time I found out about the Erasmus exchange program.
Like most students, I basically had no money and like most students, I found university extremely outdated, boring and sometimes difficult, especially in my field of marketing.
I was creative and I had some achievements during the first 2 years of bachelor but here I was, 4 out of 6 semesters almost finished, and I had no idea if a 3rd University year would be able to change my life in any positive way.
Being forced to leave the country
So, first of all, I’m a pretty shy and introverted person.
I’m the person that says “no” when you ask them if they want to go out. Obviously, I have something more important to do, although there’s nothing scheduled just yet.
However, we all have someone that pushes us outside of our comfort zone. Even if it’s tough love.
I was eventually convinced that I should try out this program called Erasmus.
As you can imagine, I didn’t have anything better to do anyway, so I was slightly forced into saying yes.
I started to look at my options.
Because I only knew English, countries such as Spain, Italy and France weren’t an option for me.
So, I looked over the options and it was a choice between Greece, Poland and Bulgaria.
Getting paid to study abroad
After careful consideration, as a Romanian student, I picked Poland because it had the same living costs and I found out that the Erasmus program pays you 450 euro / month to actually go abroad and study.
Wait, what? I knew that college students in the US actually get into debt from going to college and here I was, actually getting paid to go abroad in a country with the same living costs.
450 euro/month was almost double my living expenses at home, so I thought this might actually be an opportunity to spend more or save some money.
However, something felt strange. We had 4 spots for a specific Erasmus location in Poland, and only me and a colleague of mine applied.
Why weren’t people applying for seemingly such an amazing opportunity?
The truth behind ever saying NO to Erasmus
We all know how much we lack confidence when we have a crush on someone.
It’s because we are afraid of the unknown.
What if they say no?
That was the exact same feeling with Erasmus.
What should we expect when going in an Erasmus?
I was an introverted person that never went abroad alone, and neither did I ever stay in a dormitory with people who would be much louder than me.
What if I didn’t like it?
But then I remembered that almost any success during my University came from being open to doing new things I didn’t think I was capable of DOING.
And this time, I even had a colleague with me, even though we knew each other for only a few weeks.
Erasmus in Poznan
The city in Poland that I picked was Poznan.
I didn’t have any expectation since a few years ago, there wasn’t much information about Erasmus on the internet. But Poznan was among the bigger cities of Poland so I was just thinking that instead of going to cities such as Valencia, Frankfurt, Lyon or Manchester, I was going to the same type of city in a different country.
I arrived in Poznan by taking a short 2 hour flight to Berlin and then a 3 hour bus. That seemed quite an easy journey, so I was already comfortable.
Then at my arrival, my Erasmus mentor was waiting. She was a Polish student. To be honest, she was so nice that I wondered how come people in my country weren’t so nice?
Even though I didn’t speak any Polish, I didn’t have to. My Erasmus mentor was always there to help me and my colleague with paperwork, going to any shop or just letting us know everything that we might need to know.
Besides my mother, I don’t remember anyone taking so much care of me.
Studying in Erasmus is easier?
In the first 2 weeks of Erasmus, you can change your classes if you want to.
So of course, I went to some classes, and since I didn’t really like them, I changed them with easier and more enjoyable Erasmus classes.
I couldn’t believe what I was doing. I had the freedom to pick almost any classes I wanted, as long as they were related to my field of marketing and economics.
So I was being paid to study and I was also being handed the power to pick my classes.
Guess who went to University only 3 days a week?
4 free days meant I had 2 weekends each week.
Professors were very open as well. They weren’t English native speakers so it was just like we were all trying to learn from this Erasmus experience and how to communicate between each other, so that we can understand and learn from each other.
I didn’t know what to do with so much free time.
Together with my colleague, we started to explore the city.
Having so much free time, I got a gym membership, I started to cook more often for myself, and I was living my best life.
There was basically not much stress in my life and I couldn’t even imagine how I even hesitated going into Erasmus in the first place.
3 years later, 5 Erasmus semesters later, 1 Bachelor Thesis and 1 Master’s Thesis later, here I was, starting my own YouTube channel by initially talking about my Erasmus experience.
I started a YouTube channel in my native language, just because I wanted to let everyone from my country know that they can’t miss this opportunity. I wanted to let everyone know how this experience changed my life for the better.
Remember that shy, introverted and less confident person from the beginning.
Yes, it’s still me, just with 20 or 30 years of experiences gained in just 2-3 years.
Paid by Erasmus only to study abroad?
Here are just a couple of things that happened after the 1st Erasmus semester I ever had:
- I went on to have 4 more Erasmus semesters (don’t ask me how)
- I finished my Bachelor thesis with the maximum possible grade
- I finished my Master’s thesis the maximum possible grade as well
- I started my own website
- I was able to work for a US startup
- I was able to work on some freelance projects on my field of specialization – marketing (all that free time was helpful)
- I started a YouTube channel in my native language that is constantly growing
- I gained more confidence in knowing that I can basically do anything I want in life. Erasmus gave me at least 1001 new perspectives, experiences and confirmations that if I go out of my small bubble, everything will turn out to be just fine, because almost everyone else is just as good of a person as you are, especially when everyone is not home and we’re all in this together
If I had to pick only 3 words to keep in my memory for the rest of my life, Erasmus would be 1 of those words.”
The lesson for today: It doesn’t matter what type of person you are, how much money you have or anything else. If you step out of your comfort zone, you will grow!
P.S. I honestly loved reading the story and would be very happy if others would feel like sharing with us. You will also get something from me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check this article and have a wonderful weekend.