Tilen – Erasmus exchange experience

A story by: Tilen

Country of origin: Slovenia

Destination: Netherlands

My mobility experience happened in 2009. I had been thinking about it for quite a while beforehand and at that point finaly decided, that I wanted to try living abroad. The next step was obviously to make it all happen, and that is, in my opinion, where the true value of mobility programs reveals itself. I cannot stress enough how much easier it was for me to arrange my 10 month stay in Netherlands just by making use of the Erasmus Student Exchange program. What would have otherwise been a bureaucratic nightmare was reduced to filling out a few application forms and papers. This really is a huge advantage in terms of personal mobility and provides terrific support for a person that is deciding on having a foreign experience, but is reluctant to leave his or her zone of comfort. The financial support that came along with it was also most helpful. I believe I received just about enough money to cover my rent for the entire duration of my stay, and that did make the financial part of my
student exchange a lot more bearable.

So after having made all of the required arrangements at home and abroad, I hopped on a train and I moved to my new home in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The 10 months I spent there while studying at Radboud University were absolutely amazing. I gained an unbelievable amount of knowledge and life experience during my stay there and I must say that living abroad had a profound effect on me as a person. I now believe that spending that much time in a foreign environment truly helps a person to see the world with new eyes and makes us develop and adapt ourselves faster. This has made me noticeably more flexible in life, and helped me further improve on my language and communication skills. But the funnest part of being an Erasmus exchange student must have been getting to meet new people and exploring my new environment. I met so many wonderful people and made a lot of new friends from all over Europe during that year and it was them that eventually made me feel at home there. Besides helping  me expand my social circle, the student exchange experience also turned out to be very illuminating in a professional and academic way. I did have slight difficulty adjusting to the Dutch education system at first, but the faculty members proved to be very helpful and informative so I had all the help that I required for a smooth transition. And it was definitely worth my effort! I found it so enriching to listen to lecturers with a different cultural perspective then my own and who use different teaching methods then the ones I have become dreadfully accustomed to back home in Slovenia. Even the change of language, although needing some getting used to, soon began to feel refreshing in a way.

I could go on and on about it, but I think I was clear enough about how I perceive my student exchange experience. There was the good and there was some bad, but all in all, it was life-changing. I highly advise anyone who hasn’t yet tried something like this to go for it and experience it for yourself. You can thank me later. 😉

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