It was a German, a Belgian and two Greeks … Seems like a joke but it’s the common daily life of four erasmus students four years ago, in a spanish apartment in the region of Valencia.
But, let’s start from the beginning … I’m on the train and thanks to the ubiquitous Apple technology, I decide to watch a movie so as to pass my time. Searching all around the web, I find the L’auberge espagnole- Spanish apartment, and I decide to watch it-once again-. In the first 10 minutes … the memories of my erasmus life in Spain are popping up!
The Erasmus Program except the initial paperwork, the running, the stress and the final interview with the head teacher, is an incredibly unique experience which you rush to grab it from the hair without letting a moment go wasted. That’s how I were feeling 4 years and 2 months ago at the check in for Valencia with my parents shedding tears for their girl who was going abroad, my friends wishing me to have a good time and a relationship which was warning me that the distance couldn’t work for us…
Arriving in Valencia and taking the train to Castellòn De La Plana- with 4 suitcases in my hands and shoulders- , made me realize for the first time that I had left my parents’ safety net and the daily, athenian routine and I was in a foreign country all alone, but … full of curiosity and desire to discover what it was waiting for me on the corner!!
The first month is strange, I don’t speak Spanish very well and I need to find an apartment after – of course – having bought a spanish cell-phone. After thousands of phone calls, I find a cheap but old apartment with 3 other erasmus students: Lucia-who would become my best friend over the years, Lore-roommate from Belgium and Berengar from Germany. Different cultures and habits blended under a common Spanish roof , in the same refridgerator with separate shelves for each one of us, in a common cleaning schedule on the wall, common erasmus fiestas and of course under a common language … spanish.
The second month I attend classes at the university, I improve my spanish, I learn to drink coffee con leche, I discover the cheapest supermarket with the best Don Simon sangria and I get to know all the other Erasmus students:
- The Germans’ group : kind and friendly but mostly a closed caste. (Their keyword Scheiße!)
- The Italians’ group: loud and open-hearted. If you’re a girl and you have humor they’ll love you. (Cazzo!)
- The British and Irish group: Bring some alcohol and they’ll become the heart of the company. (Fuck mate!)
- The Belgian and Dutch team: low profile and discreet. (Echt?)
- The group of Greeks: I can’t judge, I belong at this category (Έλα ρε!)
The next few months are passing by with a little studying and many stressful thoughts such as: in which bar are we going to drink our sangria and in which club are we going to spend the night. The different groups are now mixed between them, the first international relationships are here and the trips to several Spanish cities are a must do. Ah! And the sea,this shiny spanish sea and that blue sky were making us forget that this erasmus experience would eventually come to an end.
When you go back home, the first days are really difficult! It’s difficult because it’s strange to speak and hear your mother tongue again, to not spend your day with 20 other people from different parts of the world, it’s difficult not needing to shop and prepare your own food … The 6 funniest and most carefree months of your life are finished and all you have left to remind you that experience, is your ability to recognize the different foreign languages spoken from the tourists at Monastiraki Square and the erasmus groups that are having the time of their erasmus lives at the center of Athens … And of course a melancholy which accompanies you the first 2 months of your return…!
So, 4** years later I’m doing a small sum, I still consider my decision to go to Spain -as an erasmus student- as one of the most important decisions of my life… I learned a new language, I got drunk, I laughed, I cried, I fell in love, I met people from all over the world, I made friends … but above all, my horizons have been broadened and I’ve realized that only by stepping out of our family’s and our country’s safety net can we truly get to know ourselves, our strenghts, our fears, our dreams…and the happiness of their realization.
* The Erasmus Programme (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students), a.k.a. Erasmus Project is a European Union (EU) student exchange programme established in 1987. It forms a major part of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013, and is the operational framework for the European Commission‘s initiatives in higher education.
**Latest update: 8 years