As a citizen of Turkey embarking on an Erasmus exchange program in Slovenia aligned perfectly with my aspirations for personal growth and seeking out thrilling new experiences. I couldn't have been more excited about the opportunity. The exceptional warmth and graciousness displayed by the locals in this community completely alleviated any concerns or hesitations I had upon my arrival. Their genuine kindness was sincerely appreciated and made all the difference in helping me feel at home during my stay.
I fully immersed myself in Slovenian culture outside of the classroom. As I strolled through the capital city's lovely streets, Ljubljana, I was enthralled by the city's fusion of old-world architecture and energetic vibe. I was deeply affected by the vibrant riverbank cafes, the well-known Triple Bridge, and the magnificent Ljubljana Castle. Especially for the sunset, Castle is perfect option with friends and drinks. Due to the city's substantial student population, it had a vibrant youth that added to its allure.
The chance to interact with people from all around the world was one of the most amazing parts of my Erasmus experience. To promote intercultural exchange, the university's Erasmus Student Network (ESN) arranged a wide variety of programs and events which also includes organizing trips abroad. These events, which ranged from foreign cuisine festivals to cultural exchange nights, offered a venue for forming relationships and discovering various traditions to highlight the wide variety of our group. Thanks to these events, I made good friendships with Slovenian students and were eager to promote their culture and traditions, as well as with other Erasmus students.
For accommodation, there are student dorms mostly available for every student. To be localized both culturally and to make friends easily dorms are the best options always. I have stayed in Dom D in Kardeljeva Ploscad. It is a kind of home 2+0. You have 2 bedrooms for 4 people and a kitchen and bathroom inside the room. In May, there are student festivals just in front of the dorms which you can also watch from your window.
There are so many place-to-go in Slovenia such as the gorgeous Lake Bled which is encircled by snow-capped mountains, Triglav National Park where you can hike between undiscovered waterfalls and breathtaking views, Piran where you can feel the Italian atmosphere while swimming. If you finish all places for Slovenia you can also travel outside of Slovenia on the weekends with cheap flights via WizzAir and RyanAir from Venice or Zagreb mostly.
Pharmacy Education at Ljubljana University
Ljubljana University is the only university that has a pharmacy education program in the country. In terms of education, my experience at the University of Ljubljana highlighted the stark educational differences between Turkey and Slovenia. One aspect that particularly surprised me was the close relationship between students and instructors, allowing for enjoyable interactions outside the classroom. Additionally, the pharmacy education I pursued revealed why I had previously found laboratory courses in my home country less efficient.
There are significant differences that I believe my friends, especially those participating in the Erasmus program, should be aware of, particularly in my field of study. Let's consider the pharmacognosy course as an example. During our Erasmus laboratory sessions, we not only studied plants but also examined the herbal products available in pharmacies, conducting practical research in the process. This approach helped us put our theoretical knowledge into practice. In every course I attended, emphasis was placed not only on theoretical understanding but also on its practical application. In contrast, back in Turkey, we mainly processed plants using slides, whereas, in Slovenia, we had the opportunity to examine a wide array of plants displayed in jars. This hands-on experience enabled us to independently explore and solidify the information provided.
Another pharmacy course, pharmaceutical technology, stood out due to its practical approach. Unlike the memorization-oriented education I experienced in Turkey, this course in Slovenia focused on methods that allowed us to retain what we learned more effectively, particularly in preparation for our future roles as pharmacists. We were granted the autonomy to use the devices commonly employed in Slovenia, offering valuable experiences applicable to our professional lives. While the Turkish counterpart of this course involved manual transaction-based problem solving, the Slovenian curriculum incorporated Excel spreadsheets that would be extensively used in our future careers. By interpreting the results and simplifying complex transactions, students gained a deeper understanding of the subject matter and its practical significance. Lastly, for medical devices availability and permission to use by students were at the more efficient point than in Turkey, unfortunately.
Being an Erasmus student in Slovenia was so precious for me as a person who would like to be both in nature and. It is a small country but you can feel many advantages of it most importantly feeling at home away from home thanks to the familiar faces and kindness and sincerity of both locals and other Erasmus students. The only thing that I regret about my experience was not choosing my exchange period for 9 months. If you are going to Slovenia for your Erasmus Exchange, I am sure that you won’t regret choosing it! Enjoy!
Written by Aybala Imer