There are plenty of reasons why one should go on Erasmus: going on an Erasmus exchange is a wonderful experience full of advantages, including learning about a foreign culture, meeting friends from all over the world, learning a foreign language, travelling all over your host country, to name a few. Below are some of the benefits of Erasmus that I find most important.
1. Learning a new language / improving your knowledge of a language
One of the greatest benefits, in my opinion, is learning a new language or improving one that you already know. Regardless whether you know the language of your host country or not, moving to a new country is the perfect way to improve your existing language skills or learn a completely new language. In case you already know the language, spending time surrounded by native speakers is the best way to perfect your language skills. In case you do not know the language, what better way than to learn it from native speakers?
Besides learning a new language, on an Erasmus exchange you are able to improve your English speaking skills. Though it would be preferred to try to speak the language of the host country with your Erasmus friends, not all of the students may know the language or have a high enough level of it to be able to communicate well enough, which is why English is the language through which most Erasmus students communicate, regardless of the country of their stay.
2. Learning about a new culture
On Erasmus, you are able to experience a new culture, its people, its food, its customs etc. When visiting a place for a few days or a week, you may visit most of the monuments and museums, but are not able to truly experience the culture unless you stay for a longer period of time. Experiencing new cultures broadens your horizons, as well as helps you become more tolerant and understanding. What’s more, a great way to experience the culture and language is staying with a host family.
3. Making international friends
When going on an Erasmus exchange, one has the opportunity to meet students not only from the target culture, but from various different countries. Since all the other foreign Erasmus students find themselves in a new place, everyone is eager to make new friends so as not to be alone. Bonds are created quickly and sooner than later you and your Erasmus friends seem to make a little foreign family. Once Erasmus is over, you have many new countries to travel to, in which you can meet up with your Erasmus friends.
Since you are staying in a country for a longer period of time, besides learning all the nooks and crannies of the city you are staying in, you are able to visit other cities and places in the country, or even visit bordering countries. What better way to get to know a country than to travel to different places, which would not have been possible when visiting a place for a shorter period of time? Likewise, in case you speak the country’s native language, this is a great opportunity to test your language skills, since the language’s pronunciation and vocabulary may vary in other parts of the country.
5. Becoming more independent
Travelling to a new country alone, having to make new friends, as well as adapting to a new culture, helps you gain responsibility and become more independent. This is especially so in case you had not previously moved to another city to study, and had lived with your parents prior to going on an exchange. Having to balance your finances and budget, and having to do all your chores by yourself will certainly aid you in becoming a more independent individual and propel you into adulthood.
6. Learning about different teaching practices
Last but not least, another important aspect of the Erasmus program: at your foreign university, you may notice that the professors use different teaching methods and approaches. This may be particularly useful for those planning on becoming teachers themselves, as they may be able to incorporate what they have learned into their future work.
All in all, going on an Erasmus exchange is beyond any doubt an enriching experience, as it enriches various aspects of your life – from your personal and social life to your working and academic life, which is why I would recommend it to every student.
Broaden your horizons – to make you see a wider range of opportunities and choices / to have a new experience
Eager – wanting very much to do or have something, especially something interesting or enjoyable
All the nooks and crannies – every part of a place
Budget – the amount of money you have available to spend
Propel to – to drive or cause to move forward / to cause someone to do an activity or be in a situation
Incorporate – to include, to combine
Have you taken part in the Erasmus program? Would you add any reasons to these?
Written by Ana Bijukliæ, International Speaker Iberlingva