Erasmus studentu atsauksmes
Paula Renāte Lūkina
Skaidri atceros to 3. septembra vakaru, kad biju jau salikusi visus koferus, naktī pirms izlidošanas sēdēju uz gultas malas un domāju, ka es taču vispār neapzinos, uz ko esmu parakstījusies.
Kā es tagad kaut kur braukšu - viena pati, 4000 km prom no mājām, uz valsti, kur nekad neesmu bijusi, dzīvošu ar cilvēkiem, kurus nekad neesmu satikusi un taisos tur pavadīt 5 mēnešus savas dzīves, palaižot garām visu, kas notiek Latvijā…
Un tomēr šī neziņas un baiļu sajūta tieši tik, cik ir dabiska, tik ātri pārejoša.
Portugāli es iepazīstu pamazām. Pārsvarā nedēļas nogalēs sanāk plānoti vai reizēm spontāni nelieli izbraucieni un ekskursijas. Ar prāmi vai vilcienu var doties uz dažādām Lisabonas daļām vai tuvākām pilsētām, citreiz draugu kompānijā ar mašīnu braucam līdz pat pašai kontinenta malai, baudām sauli un apbrīnojamus saulrietus vienās no skaistākajam pludmalēm, kādas esmu redzējusi.
Vietējie kā galvaspilsētā, tā ārpus tās ir atsaucīgi un izpalīdzīgi. Pat tad, ja angliski zina vien piecus vārdus, mēģinās palīdzēt pēc labākās sirdsapziņas. Šeit gan varētu arī piebilst, ka punktualitāte nav portugāļiem raksturīga. Viņi nesteidzās, viņi izbauda un lietas dara mierīgi. Tikšanās laiks parasti ir mainīgs, mēdz būt vismaz 30 minūtes vēlāk, un tad tas skaitās diezgan tuvu norunātajam.
Fotografēšanās pie tradicionāliem tūristu apskates objektiem mijās ar raksturīgiem ēdieniem. Sāļa zivs ar kartupeļiem un dažāda veida konditorejas izstrādājumi, kas bagātīgi pildīti, pārklāti vai cepti ar dažādu variāciju olu krēmu. Par kalorijām arī vietējie nesatraucas, jo kalnainais pilsētas reljefs ļauj ikdienas gājienu uz universitāti vai darbu mierīgi uzskatīt par vismaz daļu no treniņa.
Mācību ziņā es neteiktu, ka ir vieglāk vai grūtāk. Ir kaut kas jauns – jauni priekšmeti, jauni pasniedzēji, starptautiski studenti. Pārsvara lekcijas notiek tikai Erasmus studentiem, tādēļ ir lieliska iespēja komunicēt ar dažādu valstu pārstāvjiem, iegūt šo starpkultūru pieredzi gan grupu darbos, gan pasākumos ārpus universitātes.
Ko es varu secināt pēc šeit pavadīta mēneša?
Portugāle nebeidz mani pārsteigt! Šī vieta noteikti ir iekritusi dziļi manā sirdī, es jau atkal plānoju, kur aizbraukt, ko darīt, ko piedzīvot un ko izpētīt nākamajās brīvajās dienās. Ir neticami, ka Latvijā draugi jau meklē ziemas jaku, ja ārā ir 12 grādi, bet es peldos okeānā.
Ne mirkli nenožēloju savu izvēli braukt apmaiņas programmā un braukt tieši uz Portugāli! Es esmu laimīga šeit būt un, cik nu manos spēkos, arī atlikušos mēnešus es vēlos atklāt vēl un vēl, ko Portugāle man var piedāvāt!
Waking up one morning, I found myself in a new world. Everything changed. Starting from the external characteristics and ending with an emotional state. Everything seemed so different, but I enjoyed it. I liked that I can explore my new world.
I have never been to the Netherlands before. I didn’t know anything about this country. Thus the more interesting it was for me to get acquainted with it.
I was really surprised with the people. So friendly, calm and open-minded. It was so unique and unexpected. Every day I was greeted with a smile. At first, I was completely confused. Why are people who I don’t know greeting me, and wishing me a good day? I was looking for a catch. And then I realized that Dutch people have a very open-minded culture. They share their positive emotions with everyone. The more people I met, the more I liked them.
Narrow streets and tiny beautiful houses. Small canals with big boats. The most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted. People who enjoy their everyday life. Teachers who care about their students. I liked the world I was in. I really appreciate the time that is given to me to discover this beautiful city. The city lives, and the life boils in it.
In the time I have been here I met a lot of people. And almost all of them said if I have problems I can just write or call them. And they will help me. People truly care about me. And it is one of the most amazing feelings I have ever felt. I understood that no one will ever be alone in the Leeuwarden. There will always be people who can help and support.
I became aware that Leeuwarden is a city where a comfortable life is affordable. I could not imagine that the foreign city could become so close to me. A city where I feel safe, calm and happy.
Study programme at RISEBA: International Business
Host institution: Kedge Business School, France
My name is Einars. I’m International Business student, also pursuing the qualification of Project Manager. In order to supplement my understanding and view of international environment I chose to do the Erasmus in Kedge Business School. It is the largest in France and ranked within the top 5 business schools in country.
My studies took place in campus located in Bordeaux. First time I saw school building I was really impressed. Built in 2014, I can say that it is very modern and a bit reminds headquarter of a global company. It has bright classrooms and amphitheaters, library, which actually motivates to study and spend some more hours studying, canteen with the large dinning area and long tables so you can meet and greet new people while enjoying the meal. Moreover it has great spots with soft furniture for resting between the lectures where you would always find sleeping students from Asian countries, awesome sports facilities on the top floor, including the football – basketball court on the roof, indoor court, fitness area and even the Ping-Pong table in the court yard. Also it has an additional building for student associations such as wine, sport, extreme sport, cooking, arts and others, therefore if you subscribe for one or more of them you can have an opportunity to get involved in various activities. I personally subscribed to sports association; it cost 50 euros and for 6 months allowed me to attend to tennis, table tennis, badminton, fighting sports and other trainings, and even to make physical development plan with personal fitness trainer.
The city itself is also a place to love and enjoy – architectures, museums, opera, nice restaurants, bars and clubs, sports area right near the river, cinemas and much more. Public transport infrastructure is very well developed, therefore it doesn’t take a long to reach any point of the city and furthermore has a frequent movement and cheap monthly ticket - for all the transports only 30 euros.
I lived in the private house with 3 other students. Location was perfect - 20 tram minutes on the one direction to the school and 20 tram minutes on the opposite side to the center. From the experience I can say that this (https://www.lacartedescolocs.fr/colocations/aquitaine/bordeaux) is the best site to have a view of the rental prices and the easiest way to find something. However should be careful to pay someone beforehand.
Finally the most important point – the education. I’m very satisfied of the level and the quality of the education that the Kedge BS provides. Although sometimes I even had 9 hours of clean lecture time in one day, it was not hard to handle it, as it seems. As the most frequent method used almost every day, was to provide us with the theoretical framework and then to get us involved by group works and presentations. The advantage was that we were always pushed to gather as diverse team as possible, which actually led to better adaption in multicultural environment. Therefore, another benefit was to study together with the students who had quite international background, which they were very willing to share. It boosted the creativity during the group works and moreover the quality of the results and discussions. And of course enriched my experience in general.
To sum up I can say that I couldn’t imagine better experience than the one I had in Bordeaux.
Oksana Plasecnika and Marina Kravcova
Study programme at RISEBA: Public relations and advertising management
Host institution: University of Nicosia
Exchange period: Fall 2016
City & Surroundings
Situated in the north-eastern end of the Mediterranean basin, Cyprus is the third largest island in the region, with an area of 9,251 square kilometres. We lived in a capital city of Cyprus, Nicosia. This capital is popular because it’s, the one and only capital city in a world which is divided between two different countries (Cyprus and Turkey). There`s a border in city center, which to pass you need to show you identification documents. Also this border streches across the whole island, and we lived near this border and a military base in district called Engomi. It`s a truly smalll student city, with two universities and everything that we need for surviving. This place at first sight seems like a forbiden place, but actually it has everything its just looks totally different from my (If it’s a joint report maybe you want to say ‘our home country’) home country. By map the city looks very big but for me it took just 40 min to walk from my home at Engomi till the city centre down town. They have public transport but it`s better to have a car, because in Cyprus there is a lot of amaizing places where you can go only if you have car. Even in city center it`s better with car. Because last bus goes at 7 in workday and it`s worst for weekends.
Cyprus it`s a place where a lot of different people and nations live all together and every person you meet there becomes your friend. People were very glad when we said that we are from Latvia, they know where this country is and some of them had been here more than once.
We got an amazing once in a life time experience to study at the University of Nicosia. It’s hard for us to underline something specific about the University because we actually liked everything in it. The university has a friendly atmosphere. The people are welcoming, and you get used to their lifestyle and start to be more integrated with the international community there. We met many different people from different countries in the Erasmus community and also in our classes. It was more interesting to study with other international students and local Cypriot students, because all of the students were from various countries had different experiences and opinions, we were able to learn about their different cultural backgrounds.
Both the outside and inside of the University of Nicosia looks very modern and beautiful. When we saw our University at the first time, we couldn`t believe our eyes. It is totally different from all Universities that we have ever seen before. It looked like an University from Hollywood movie. University has a lot of different buildings all over Engomi district. But all our studies we had in main building.
Every class in University of Nicosia is clean and equipped with the necessary equipment for studying. It felt good to be there; cafeteria is pretty big and food is really good. This University has many buildings which differentiate the chosen faculties. Moreover, in the main building they have a filming studio where students can not only film their own projects, but also they can rent cameras for their assignments and it`s also for free. If you have a car it is not a problem, because around University they have to main parking place where you can leave your car and you do not need pay.
University is open from 8am till late in the evening and if you need to finish your project you can visit university any time you want. Everyone in university is ready to help you when you get there. The Erasmus office – this is a place where you can find any answers you are looking for. In this university we felt like everyone cares and they really want us to be there.
Teaching methods were quite different from our home University because at University of Nicosia we had more practical classes. Lectures were very intelligent, patient, experienced and nice people who were always are free to give some advice.
Main place for which University of Nicosia is popular is amphitheater, we had lunch there few times and spend our breaks there in the sun.
University also organize a lot of events, in a first week of studies they organized a huge party for all students in the open air and invited popular Dj`s from Cyprus. It was amazing. Also they invite students to participate in different events they organise. They have communities, clubs or interest groups where you can join. This university offers so many opportunities to its students and we would definitely like to study there again, because it is full of offers to raise your studying level as high as possible e.g. masters and doctorates.
We have one very practical advice; you should start to find accommodation from the first day you know you’re going on Erasmus. Because we found it very hard to find a place to live. We left it very last minute and our accommodation was so close to university around 5 minutes by foot. It is very good place, near military base. [http://vphostel.com/]
We shared one room and both paid 180 euro each. All accommodation around university was very expensive so it was reasonably priced and so we took it. Nevertheless, one of the most incredible things was meeting a lot of new people at the residence. After time this people become our family. And we are glad that we lived in place such as like this.
But in December it become very cold, and this building not ready for that, owner gave us a heater but one heater was useless.
Practical issues (getting around the city, food, internet, mobile connections, going out, etc.)
In Cyprus like everywhere else you can find everything. There is place for everyone, not irrelevant which hobby is yours, you can continue to do it in Cyprus. Moreover you can find something new.
Nicosia is a big city, it has a lot of shops, most of popular brands are based there, and if you are an shopaholic Nicosia can be paradise for you. Also food shops are pretty big, you can find different types of products some of them, the same as at home countries, but some totally different. But don`t be afraid to try something new, food in Cyprus is amazing, cypriots know how to cook.
For photographers and filmmakers my advice is to go outside of Nicosia to places like Ayia Napa or Troodos mountains. These places have amazing views.
There is a lot of groups of interests and volunteers who organize hiking and tours around the island they always glad to see newcomers. Even if you don`t have car they can give you a lift, just for good company.
Internet connection on island is also good. Talking about mobile phones it`s good to have two of them, one to use with you own sim card and one you can by there and put 5 euros on the sim card, for us it was more then we need for 3 months. Because mostly we use wi-fi to connect with each-other.
Clubs in Nicosia work every weekend, and for erasmus students most popular clubs are free. In cyprus we had a great opportunity to organize our own parties at our home, other students do so too.
Talking about public transport always be prepared that, last bus from your district can be at 6 pm, in morning hours it`s no problems at all. You can by an additional ticket every time when you catch a bus or you can buy ticket for all buses for only 20 euros. If you use it every day it`s very useful.
What have you gained from Erasmus exchange period at host country and university
A lot of life experience.
Practical advice to future students
Main advice for students - don't be lazy! Be positive and take everything what ERASMUS PROGRAM gives to you! It will be huge experience for all of your life! And you will remember that for always!
- Insure with two phones – one for Latvian number, other for Cyprus.
- Speaking of food, bring spices from Latvia, chocolate and some kind of meat (at least for beginning, because it is really expensive there).
- Take souvenirs, because there will be many people, whom you will want to give something in memory of you.
- Look for apartments as fast as possible, not in last weeks, to be sure, that you will have a good place where to live.
- In Turkish side there is a big market, where you can buy the best fruits, vegetables, greens and other products, this is often cheaper than the supermarkets.
- In Nicosia, Ledras street, there is Armenian cuisine, where you can buy really cheap, but tasty pizza or pittas.
- If it`s possible, go with extra money or savings, because the scholarship isn’t enough to survive.
- Try to cook at home (it is cheaper and tastier).
- Make sure, that you have made European health card and health insurance (it is very useful to have them, because you never know when you will get sick or something will happen).
- Try to make friends also with local people not only Erasmus, because they are very nice and they will help in any life situation, that you will have.
- Keep in mind, that in Cyprus they drive on the other side.
- If you live with other students that you know and trust, create family money for food as we did (it helps to save money and buy only what you need, extra products, like sweets for example you should buy individually).
- Definitely take part in every event you can (some of them usually are for free or very cheap), because Erasmus is like life in short time, so you should take for it as much as you can.