Monday, November 5, 2012

Five years ago ...

... I embarked on a journey that changed my life forever. Five years ago I spent a year in Antwerp, Belgium as part of the ERASMUS programme. The Erasmus Project is a student exchange programme run by the European Union that enables students from all member states plus Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland and Turkey to spend one or two semesters abroad as part of your study programme. As you can imagine, if you've ever taken part in any student exchange, studying is just a small part of it, and probably not the most important. Living abroad on your own, getting to know a different culture and maybe even learning a foreign language, meeting people from all over the world and, of course, travelling and partying are also important ingredients for a satisfying student exchange.

Six years ago I started planning my year abroad and my first choice was Germany. After five years learning German it seemed like a logical step to spend a year in Germany consolidating my German skills. However, my university offered quite limited choices at the moment and the only cities I could go to in Germany where Braunschweig and Bielefeld, which according to a German friend of mine were such boring industrial cities that I would better start looking for somewhere else to go. Next option was Ireland, which wouldn't be much of a language trouble either, but coming from an island I was kind of looking forward to going to the old continent and travel happily all accross Europe. Rumours of Maynouth being expensive and boring also played a part in my decision. And last choice was Antwerp. Back then I had no clue about what Antwerp was. The Spanish name Amberes differs a bit from the original and the website of the uni, written in a weird language full of k, w and ij, didn't ring a bell for me. So, after some doing some research I eventually linked Antwerp to Amberes and I knew that Antwerp had one of the most important fashion academies in the world, that it is the world center of diamonds, that Antwerp has the largest Orthodox Jewish community in Europe and that Antwerp was once under the Spanish rule. Enough! I had made up my mind and five years ago I flew to Antwerp and spent there one of the best years of my life.

Taking part in the ERASMUS programme was one of the best decissions of my life and I still remember fondly every minute of it. University was incredibly hard and I really needed to learn Dutch, as all my courses were in Dutch. But besides the study difficulties, every other thing was simply great! I met great people from all over the world, I travelled quite a lot around Belgium and I also visited 6 other countries, even if just for a weekend, I partied like never before and I also profited from the chance of learning a language in a country where it is spoken, something I hadn't had the chance to do before. And little did I know that learning Dutch would prove so useful for the years to come after my ERASMUS exachange!

I really believe that it is an experience that everyone should have. Ok, not everyone can afford it and not everyone want to, but if it was possible for everyone to take part of it I would just recommend it to everyone to go ahead and spend some time abroad because the outcomes are more than worthy and the memories will last a lifetime. What do you think? Have you taken part in an student exchange programme? Did you have an amazing time as well? 

Back in 't Stad, five years later

p.s. That was five years ago but right now, the newest thing is that I've just added pages to my blog. I was never good at programming and I was kind of struggling with the HTML/CSS stuff to make it look as neat as possible, but I think it's a good starting point!

24 comments:

  1. Wow you must have had such a great experience with that!
    Don't worry, I'm also still struggling with the HTML stuff.
    http://johced-ourjourneytoeverywhere.blogspot.com/
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a really great experience Johlet!
      Nice to know I'm not the only one struggling with all those technicalities!
      xxx

      Delete
  2. I'm always fascinated by people who can speak many different languages. Thank you for stopping by my blog. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Arni! I'm also fascinated by people con manage to learn many languages and speak all of them fluently, no matter when!

      Delete
  3. you were so lucky to do this! i never did. it's a great way to grow!!! i feel it's so important to travel and meet people from other cultures. you can really learn a lot. i never had the money to do all of that, but hope to travel in the foreseeable future.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you, Kim, that it is the perfect way to grow. But indeed, it costs quite lot. Thankfully for me I got a couple of good scholarships which covered my expenses, otherwise it would have been impossible for me to have such experience.

      Delete
  4. It's great that you had such a lovely experience! Not anyone has a chance to do it.
    Thanks for visiting my blog! Do you want to follow each other? Follow my blog on Bloglovin' and let me know. I always follow back ;)

    LA By Diana Live Magazine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Diana!
      It was a great experience and I feel really lucky for having had such a chance!

      Delete
  5. Que afortunada, vivir un año en fuera un año es una de las mejores experiencias de la vida, además no lo olvidaras nunca ni la experiencia ni a la gente que conociste ademas de la cultura.
    beso,ten una buena semana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totalmente de acuerdo, Laia!
      Fue una experiencia genial y considero que tuve mucha suerte ya que obtuve un par de buenas becas que me permitieron costearme el año fuera. Si no habría sido imposible para mí poder pasar un año fuera sólo estudiando.
      Besitos!

      Delete
  6. I wish I will have this kind of experience too :) I love traveling and meet different people and cultures... I always want to see more ! Nice blog


    Bisous from FRANCE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Grazziella!
      I also hope that you can have the expierence of being abroad for a semester or a year :)

      Bisous from Les Pays-Bas

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment!

      xo from Maastricht

      Delete
  8. love it!
    xx

    blog: www.aroundlucia.com
    shop: www.shoplumo.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. beautiful post!!Your blog is so lovely! I'm thinking, if you want, we can follow each other! It would be great!!
    http://laborsadimarypoppins.blogspot.it/
    xoxo Gloria

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great article. It is awesome you had an opportunity to visit Belgium. Always wanted to go there :) Lovely photo :))


    Energiq

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!
      I was really surprised by Belgium andfive years later I still love that little country!
      Hope you can visit Belgium soon :)

      Delete
  11. I am hoping to do Erasmus in england when at UNI

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would also have liked to do Eramus in England, but at the same time, I'm happy I was in Belgium and I could travel so much around Europe.
      I really hope that you manage to do your Erasmus in England!

      Delete
  12. ei! muchas gracias x tu comentario. me a exo una ilusion q flipas. ojala t gusten otros looks y t animes a seguirme
    fran

    www.showroomdegarde.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muchas gracias por tu comentario Fran, te seguiré la pista!

      Delete

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