HOW ERASMUS CHANGED MY LIFE
I would like to tell you a little bit about my Erasmus I did 2 years ago. My name is Andrej and I’m a Civil Engineering student in Bratislava, Slovakia. During my second year at the university a many of my friends tried the program. I visited some of them as well and the international lifestyle started to call my name. However, I could go just in my last year of the bachelor program. Studying abroad fascinated me so much that I had to sign up. And I did.
I chose my lovely Budapest for 2 basic reasons: it was a great opportunity to improve not just my English, but also my Hungarian. The second reason, more accurate, was the offer of the courses at the receiving institution, at the BME. From all the countries around the Europe, Hungary has one of the most similar courses to the one in Slovakia.
So after all the necessary and sometimes useless bureaucracy I arrived to Budapest. With other Slovak and Czech students we found a nice flat right in the city centre. The Erasmus life full of new and unforgettable memories could begin. As the welcome week started, I started to understand that the next 5 months will be the best time of my life. All the activities organized by the local ESN section were amazing: the ice-breaking games, city sightseeing, campus tour, freshmen camp and of course the parties and other student social activities. The first month was pretty crazy and I felt it will be a big problem later, if my attendance at the university stays at the level of having a lunch there. I began to take the studies more seriously and found a perfect balance between the life of a responsible student and an active international student on an exchange program. For sure, I have to mention other “daylight” activities as well. The ESN organized many events that were either educative for us or the Hungarian students, or volunteering ones through the SocialErasmus project. They didn’t have that big participation as UV party for example, but it was great to do something with an additional value and meaning and not just a random partying. On the other hand, my dancing skills improved a lot too.
After the Christmas I passed all my exams and came back home. It was a weird feeling to be back in Bratislava. I was comparing everything with the Budapest or the BME. And I started to feel homesick. Exactly, I felt homesick in my country of birth. Luckily, I had a lot of work with my bachelor thesis and the final exam. I have to thank the faculty that they gave me so much work that I hadn’t a chance to feel sad after all. But after the semester it started again and I was thinking about how to get the feeling of the international environment back. We, Erasmus students, built a kind of a family during the mobility. This was what brought me to the idea that not just us, the Erasmus students, had our little family, but also the ESNers themselves had one. I googled “ESN STU” and without any hesitation wrote a message to the section. In September of 2016 I became an active member of the ESN STUBA. After few weeks it was confirmed: my thoughts about the ESN as an alternative to the Erasmus were right. I found a new family in the members and I am enjoying their company till now.
How Erasmus changed my life? I lived in a foreign country, studied in different language, was part of an international community and started to be a volunteer in the biggest student organization. And also charmed me so much that half year ago I did my second Erasmus. Guess where. If you guessed Budapest again, you were right.
Article by Andrej Lovász