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Popa Nicoleta - Cristina, former Erasmus student, age 29 from Romania

 

Profile last modified
2010-11-06 11:37:32

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Student at
UNIVERSITATEA DIN BUCURESTI (Bucuresti, Romania)
 5

Known languages
Dutch, English, French, German, Romanian, Spanish (Castilian)

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About my Erasmus experience
I applied for ERASMUS during my Bachelor’s degree, seeking for a challenge. This brought me to Gent, Belgium in early February 2009, being eager to test myself whether I can manage this whole new adventure.

Belgian society is known for its intercultural environment, a fact I could sense throughout my studies, by learning, at the same time, 3 foreign languages: Japanese, German, and the locally used Flemish (or Dutch). The best part was that I could actually interact with people who were native speakers of these languages.

One of my weaknesses was the fear of talking to foreign people. I have succeeded in overcoming this, while in a train! I still remember the day when I saw a girl standing in front of me reading a book in Japanese. Without hesitation, I told her „Konnichiwa” and run into a conversation that lasted until the evening, as we discovered to have the same route during that

Another skill I gained is trust in myself. My German professor proved me I can acquire it, if I simply put more effort and work harder. He was having a thriving way of approaching students, being friendly and informal at the same time, which brought him closer to us. By gaining my confidence, he taught me how to feel relax when I had to solve a difficult case study. I undertook a different path of working with people, both colleagues and professors, which made me even more willing to become a teacher.

The social impact came from all life-long friendships built. All my foreign colleagues were sharing the same feeling as I did - being part of a community, the ERASMUS community! Such perceptions can unite people with different backgrounds as it created a strong bond between each of us. Now, I have friends also among the Belgian students, although in the beginning, getting close to them was not that easy. I learned that, when dealing with people from the Northern parts of Europe, you need to have a warm heart. For sure it will help you find the best way to approach them and bring them closer to you.

The secret ingredient of my adventure was being open minded! It had a strong impact on my personality traits because I needed to focus my efforts into only one direction: self-fulfillment! When I came in contact with the Erasmus Student Network, I was amazed to discover a team willing to help us get to know the city better, life-style and helping us turn ERASMUS into the most valuable experience a student can wish for.

Coming back home, I did what all Romanian students studing abroad should do. I have transfered my knowledge into action; I have diseminated the information and applied it. I built up the ESN local section of the University of Bucharest. Of course it was not easy. I needed help from ESN International, the University’ administrative body, national student organizations, and support from the National Agency in Romania. By doing this, I rise the standards of services for all incoming ERASMUS students, but also for the outgoing ones which are now getting involved in our activities. For sure there is a path we as students should follow, and this has only one name: ERASMUS!

While writing this, it all came back to me as it would have happened yesterday.

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