Changing the country that you used to live in is not always easy, especially for a minimum of 4–5 months. The Erasmus program is an opportunity to do that during university years. Bureaucratic processes with universities and countries can be long and difficult to cope with, but at the end a new world is waiting for ‘’Erasmusians’’.
Every person has his/her own story about this life changing program. This article was written based on personal experience.
‘’Where is my home?’’
The ‘home’ is not just made up of walls. It takes some time to say home, to call a place where we just started living a ’home’. This process depends on what we feel towards locals or neighbourhoods or our friendships or problems or memories... When we feel ourselves adapted to the place we live in, the Erasmus experience is moved to a different point. We learn to build a life from the scratch. When it is time to return to the country we came from, it is possible that a bitterness will occur. In the near or distant future, we have another house where we have moments that we will remember with good or bad sides if we cross our path again. Learning to experience language and culture in a different place away from family is an invaluable life experience.
Openness to New Cultures
Erasmus program increases the diversity. Listening to different perspectives on the same issues can be difficult, even for the people who see themselves ‘humanist’ at the beginning. In time, it is possible to see that differences are richness and there is a chance to learn by living. It is also possible to make our own generalizations by seeing how inclusive the generalizations about countries and societies are.
While settling in another country, facing with daily life is not a thing that we can see while just touristic visiting for a few days. Rules of dormitories, flats, academic life or even crossing the road... They might be different from our previous life. Adaptation process can be hard. However, as young people, we were already knew that. Different life brings different rules. Adapting to them definitely improves our quality of life.
Discovering Your Limits
Erasmus is convenient in terms of seeing our situation mentally and physically. This happens in different ways. When we are faced with racism or homesickness, we learn how to deal with it. We can see physically how many kilograms we can carry while going on holiday during weekends with backpack. What is more, how much croissant-sandwich is enough to not starving? How much money we can save for the next day?
It is a step for civilization that people who start learning about this multicultural and multilingual life at a young age will use their perspectives and skills to look at things from a different perspective in the rest of their lives.
Written By Gürkan Gümüş