Why did you apply for Erasmus+?
Because this is one of the best decisions and investments I could do for myself and my future. This is an incredible experience that doesn't feel like anything else. I genuinely believe that this is a must do while being a student in the 21 century. It is a life-changing experience that shifts the perspectives and opens completely new opportunities.
How did your first few days upon your arrival look like?
Of course, it is never easy to move to a new country, where people speak a new and difficult language and follow new social norms, especially if we talk about Paris. It is challenging but very exciting. But straight after the 2nd orientation day you understand that you are not alone, and other students feel the same and it helps build tight connections between you. Besides that, international office staff are always open to answer any questions and help with administrative work, so it makes you feel more reassured and stable.
During the first week, we were usually going out a lot, discovering new places, new tastes, getting to know other Erasmus students. Almost in every big city, there is a huge community or Erasmus network that creates a variety of events, educational and after-study events as well. Sometimes it is hard to get used to some changes and it feels overwhelming, but in fact, you are not alone in this experience, and that makes you feel better!
Please describe your typical day.
My typical day starts around 8.30-9 am. Currently, I am living 10 minutes away from my school, so it saves time in the morning. Until 1 pm I have my classes, all of them in the French language, which is challenging, but interesting at the same time. I wanted to improve my knowledge of French, so I decided to take all my courses in the local language. From 1 till 2.30 I have a break, and we usually go with my Erasmus colleagues either to park to have lunch or to a nearby crêperie, where we have a special offer of 2 French crêpes for the price of one! And they taste really good! After this, I continue my classes until 4-5 pm and go home. On the way, I usually go to a boulangerie near my house to buy a fresh baguette and my favorite pastry: croissant aux amandes. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday Paris Erasmus Network organize cool events in bars or clubs, so I meet with my colleagues and go for dinner in the bistro and then join other students. During COVID19 restrictions, it is hard to talk to new people and fully relax, but in any case, it feels great to be with such a big community of people exactly like you, who can speak your language, share your thoughts and emotions.
On a scale from 1 to 5, how would you grade your Erasmus experience so far?
Currently, it is 3,5-4, because we have a lot of complexions due to restrictions, but I am satisfied with the courses and the organization from both sending and receiving universities.
Please share an interesting detail about France with us! J What do you like and what do you dislike? Did you have a chance to explore Paris?
France is a very diverse country, with a lot to discover! First of all, nature and the history of the country are incredible. You can explore it only by traveling and visiting as many cities, towns, museums, and galleries as possible. Very important to learn about the culture and history of France through art and architecture. So get prepared, you will walk a lot and you will learn even more! One important thing to remember: Paris - is not the whole of France, France - is not only Paris. This city is very beautiful and inspiring, but as soon as you stay here longer you can see the challenges this city has. I have a love-hate relationship with this city for many reasons. It is very noisy and crowded, people are in a constant rush, and it seems like there is no one smiling on the streets, ever! But it is very important to find your tempo of life here and let it be like that. Locals are refusing to speak English, which can be very annoying in the beginning, but with time you get used to it and start speaking some phrases in French as well! It is an incredible and very educational experience to live in Paris, even just for a few months.
Would you recommend applying for Erasmus to your colleagues at Algebra and why?
I am not only recommending it, but I insist they apply! This is the 3rd Erasmus experience in my life and I can guarantee you – life won't be the same. It is not only about studying and grades, but the community and values that you discover, the knowledge about the new country, important life lessons, tips and tricks on how to survive in a new environment, and new connections you create – worth it all!
Elizabeth Borysiuk, Design & Communications Management study program