Erasmus is a tremendous and life changing experience.
– Anif, MSc. Economics (University of Minho, Portugal)
On 21st June 2014 I attended the Erasmus Plus Award Ceremony for Indonesian students who will undertake studies this autumn at universities across the European Union. The Ceremony included a pre-departure briefing session which was aimed to better inform the students on study programmes, visa, accommodation, travel itineraries, contact with programme coordinators and many more.
As I sat there, listening to a very long to-do-list that Indonesian students need to do before they pack and say Sampai Jumpa to their parents and friends, I thought about my own Erasmus experience many years ago. Then as a Bachelor student, I remember how exciting and scary it felt to deal with pre-departure preparations for a student exchange programme to Freie Universitat Berlin (Germany). I recall choosing new intriguing courses and making friends from many, many countries. I see a 21 year old me studying German language course a few times a week and trying simple German phrases in supermarkets and with local people. I loved my Erasmus experience. As I looked fondly at Indonesian students sitting next to me, I wished them to have an amazing adventure as I did.
What can Erasmus give to a student? One of the benefits can be a choice of specialised modules that are not run by home universities or in their home country. For Yuanita, an Erasmus Mundus exchange student who studied Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University (Belgium), Erasmus was an opportunity to specialize in bioscience, which was not possible in her home country. For people like her, an exchange to a foreign university can be an enriching experience, which will open many doors in their lives.
Ariesta, who studied for a Master’s Degree in Emergency and Critical Care Nursing at Spanish, Finnish and Portuguese universities, had a similar experience. Studying at three different European universities during her Erasmus, it allowed her to acquire the most from what the best institutions had to offer. In case of Erasmus programmes offered in more than one country, Ariesta said that the universities ‘pool strengths of countries’ education’.
Besides studying, Erasmus students benefit from the support of programme coordinators as well as language courses to help them integrate in society. They make friends all around Europe and the world. For people who never left their hometowns, this is an opportunity to expand their horizons and gain experience unlike anything ever before. Finally, Erasmus is a great chance to travel across countries. With the Indonesian students that I had talked to, they all made the most of their time in Europe. I think it was Anif (MSc. Economics at University of Minho, Portugal) who took it to the max as he managed to visit 11 countries during his Erasmus programme!
Erasmus adventure is waiting for you! Come to the 6th European Higher Education Fair (EHEF) that will be presented on 8th and 9th November in Jakarta and 11th November in Surabaya. For more information visit: http://ehef-indonesia.org/