Erasmus exchange program is popular all over Europe and it gives students the opportunity to study abroad. I mean, what could be more challenging and adventurous than studying in a completely different country for some months? Well, I can tell you from my own experience – Erasmus is a thing which you will never forget.
Firstly, last spring me and my group mate from Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences decided that we want to use all the opportunities given from our university and Erasmus was one of them. It took us some time to choose from a quite long list where to go; finally, we chose the University of Turin, which is located in Northern Italy. Maybe you have heard Turin as a capital of chocolate or that it hosts one of the best football teams in the world – Torino Juventus. Honestly, before coming to Turin we did not know what to expect and our knowledge about Turin was based on information found on the Internet!
We found many differences in Lithuanian and Italian lifestyles. For example, Italians do not get irritated if someone is late. Maybe that is because everyone is often late and it is just the way they live. Also, their eating habits differ. No need to say that Italy is famous for its cuisine. We can see, usually, Italians portrayed as pasta eating people who drink wine in movies occasionally. Well, this is true. Italians have plenty of ways to cook pasta and they can eat it everyday day. As our university didn’t have a canteen, all the students were bringing their food containers which were usually filled with pasta. Eating in halls or sometimes even in audiences is an absolutely normal thing and we got used to that too!
Lectures are one more thing I would like to share my opinion about. The thing I liked the most and tried to convey in my teaching practice is the way teacher communicates with students. He never interrupts and diversity of opinions is considered as a good thing in classrooms. Teacher is not the one who shares knowledge, but the one who gives an opportunity for students to talk. I appreciated a lot that criticism was not used at all and it was replaced with some kind of advice. Erasmus gave me a chance to study the Italian language and learn its basics, which helped a lot to communicate while living there. However, sign language was often used to buy groceries or express that I really liked that cup of Cappuccino!
Talking from my own experience, me and my friend chose to spend more money on traveling and it was a decision I will never regret. Getting lost in small towns, laughing at missing a train (but not laughing so much when you need to spend a night in the railway station!), visiting museums, and meeting locals are just some random memories out of thousands. We managed to visit the capital of fashion Milan, were astonished of the beauty of Renaissance birthplace Florence, and walked under popular arks of Bologna. Not only did we explore some little Italian towns as Aosta or Ivrea, but also had a great trip to Monaco and Cannes, France. Adventures, adventures everywhere!
No need to say that Erasmus is a program which allows you to feel some kind of freedom. When I say freedom, I do not mean making spontaneous reckless decisions but more like feeling that you can travel the world and feel like living another life. You have the freedom to travel, to meet new people, to gain different knowledge, and to pursue your dreams.
I would suggest every pupil who is keen on challenging himself in their lives to take this opportunity. I guarantee discoveries and adventures you will never forget. As it is said, once Erasmus, always Erasmus!