“Living the Erasmus experience is the best thing to do in one’s life” is one of the most repeated phrases by students who have had the opportunity to study abroad with this academic plan. Being an Erasmus student is great in many ways and the experience is unrepeatable. However, everything has good and bad points and in this essay I intend to describe what is my real experience as an international student.
Croatia was, from the first moment, one of my first options. I wanted to visit a small country, not too common for Erasmus students and where I could travel and discover the culture different from mine. Croatia is perfect because, although more and more Spaniards choose it as a destination, it is still not so common. Croatia is not too big but it has beautiful cities and environments and places to discover. It is also very well located and it is easy to travel and move around the nearby countries. The quality of life for Croatians is good, similar to that in Spain, and it is not an excessively expensive country to live in. For all these reasons I think Croatia was the right choice. North University was the only possible option on my career destination list; I would have liked to be able to study in Zagreb because of the convenience to travel, but I had no other option.
My Erasmus experience has been very positive, some of the most significant advantages (more than disadvantages) are the following. In the first place, the intention of the “Erasmus Plan” is to promote the “European spirit” and the understanding between different cultures. Having to develop in a different culture allows you to know and understand different ways of seeing the world, which is why I believe that the Erasmus program fulfills this objective. Secondly, the program allows you to have an experience similar to “adult life”. Living without your parents and facing different problems is an independent experience that prepares you for the future. Thirdly, the program can change your view of the world. Financial aid allows people who have not had the opportunity to travel and to discover other ways of living, other cultures and another language, in short, have a broader vision of the world with less prejudice. Lastly, the people you meet are the best on Erasmus. People in the same situation as you, both from your country as well as from other parts of the world who are delighted to meet new people. Traveling, partying and sharing moments with them is the best part of Erasmus.
Of course, all good things have bad parts and Erasmus is no exception. Some of the disadvantages of the program are as follows. First of all, the first moments can be tricky. Due to problems with the university, I arrived in Croatia three weeks later and that made it very difficult for me to find accommodation and classes at the university. Adapting to new places is always difficult and it may take some time for you to discover the customs of people from other countries. Secondly, the documentation, procedures and deadlines for the entire Erasmus process are complicated and long. Choosing the correct subjects, communicating with the two universities and completing the documents correctly is something that takes months and is not very pleasant. Finally, the destinations chosen can sometimes be very different from the country of origin. The countries of northern Europe are cold and do not have much social life; it is not my experience with Croatia, which is a country with a lot of life. But yes, I am still a little confused by the fact that the sun goes down at four in the afternoon in this part of the year.
The Erasmus project is very well balanced in the study-tourism sense. Adapted studies for Erasmus are usually flexible and not too demanding. This allows students to socialize and travel, both in the city of residence and to other regions and countries.
In short, I agree with the majority of international students in their vision of Erasmus. I think it is one of the best experiences that can be lived in your life and it can have a lot of impact and change the way many people see the world. I recommend it without any doubt and I hope to repeat it at some other time.
*Autor ovog teksta je student koji je na Sveučilištu Sjever u sklopu Erasmus projekta.