Everybody tells you that the most wonderful time of your life will be your student years. They might or not be right, depending on what each person decides to do during the years of studying. Nowadays, as a student, you have endless possibilities, such as getting enrolled in debating, photography or cinema clubs, student associations and many others, or just go out as much as you can, in order to meet people. And then, you have a certain program, called Erasmus, which gives you the occasion of leaving the country for five months, in order to study in another country.
Being enrolled in a course taught in English, we usually meet at least five foreign students each semester. Last year in September, I noticed having a new classmate. Her name was Esperanza and she was an Erasmus student from Spain.
Usually, whenever people find out you are an Erasmus student, the first thing that pops into their heads is that “This must be a scary experience for you. Fitting in, adapting, and being so far away from home”.
She did not have any fear of what she might have had to deal with in Romania, as even in Spain, she was around six hundred kilometers away from her hometown. She managed to adapt quickly to the life Romania provided, and also managed to get herself a “new family”, of young people like her, all Erasmus students.
Talking about the teachers, she was really glad to have been taught by them, as she was always happy to attend the classes. Even if she had already done some of the courses from here in Spain, she did not complain about it, as it gave her the chance to study everything in depth. Her English got better and the fact that the teachers were so friendly and student-oriented helped her even more into adapting in a class.
How did the whole experience change her? After spending five months in Romania, she decided to stay here for five more, as the program gave her the chance to do so. Things got a tad hard, as she had to look for her own place and basically be by herself. However, she managed this as well. And she did not believe that she would have the force and capacity to spend so much time away from her country and not feel homesick. She did not have any problems, with anybody, and she even managed to communicate with other people, in another language. She also learnt that Romania is different than the image portrayed by the media or seen by foreign people in general. Her grandfather used to ask her why she was going so far away and why in such a dangerous place. Because basically, that is the image of Romania in Spain.
“It was an amazing experience and I would come back here anytime, with my eyes closed”, as she declared, in response to how she felt about the year spent here. Nothing compared in her opinion with the chance to know a whole new culture, different from the one in your country. And also, meet a lot of young people.
Would you be as brave as all the Erasmus students out there, or would you rather be comfortable?