My ERASMUS Experience – a Story to Remember

This article was submitted by Timea Udvarhelyi from Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for a competition held by the European Office of Charles University by the occassion of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme. Timea Udvarhelyi studies Computer Science and is at present hosted by the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University.

Hello, dear reader! Welcome aboard. Make yourself comfortable because the cruise begins its journey in a few minutes. In the meantime, let me tell you what this trip will be about. If you are expecting a high school style essay, I am sorry to disappoint you, but you bought a ticket for a wrong ship. This excursion is all about heroes, kings, castles and monsters. Sounds fascinating, right? But wait a minute… what does all of this have to do with Erasmus? A really a good question my dear reader. Let us find out together. The anchors are being raised. The journey has just begun!

I mentioned heroes earlier. ‘Who are they?’ – you might ask. Well, in my opinion heroes are all those brave students who take the opportunity to participate in this amazing programme called Erasmus. Of course, not everybody has the courage to participate; I think they might be too afraid of the monsters. I will talk about them a little bit later but for now I want to start from the beginning of the journey, in the footsteps of a hero.

Here, after you hike over the Paperwork Mountain and stumble through the Waiting Period Valley, you find yourself standing in the middle of a magnificent and unknown realm. In my case the heart of the Czech Republic: Prague.

After my arrival, I got introduced to the royal helpers: the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics team. They welcomed me in the name of the great king, Charles the Fourth, King of Bohemia and Emperor of the Romans.

I have seen the the Great Hall of Knowledge, the School of Computer Science, where I started my studies for the next five months and have found the teachers really kind, helpful and, of course, full of wisdom.

Sating my curiosity, I have explored the city of Prague. I have never seen such crowds before. As I gazed upon all the tourists I realized that, despite my extended stay in Prague, I was one of them. The sights in Prague; from the Castle to the Old Town to Vyšehrad to the parks, bridges, cafés, metro stations and river, all fascinated me.

However, if I remember correctly, I said something about monsters before? Some of my monsters had names such as: ‘What if I don’t fit in?’, ‘What if I make no friends?’, ‘What is life in a dorm going to be like?’, ‘What if the courses are too hard?’

I believe everyone has these questions and many more like them. Some, who chose to stay at home are maybe just comfortable there and perhaps they don’t desire to gain such experiences as described above. But this doesn’t apply to me, having come to Prague with an intention to enjoy every second of it!

So, this is where I ended up, going to social events such as: Let’s Explore Prague, Social Sundays, and even some parties; all organized by the Erasmus associations (in particular the IC CUNI club). I also joined the Czech language class, an experience I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. I made a group of friends at these events to add to the people in my dorm who are really welcoming. As about my studies; I am working hard to keep up with everything but one thing is for sure: I don’t regret my decision to come here. Not even for a minute.

Oh, I’m afraid we have reached land again. The cruise is over. I hope you enjoyed it. I sure did. I don’t like good-byes. I am certain that when these five months will be over I will still consider Prague my second home. This period of time will forever be a special one for me and so… until the next time. Na shledanou (goodbye)!

Timea Udvarhelyi for iForum

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