I spent three months studying Cinematography in Katowice, an industrial city in Southern Poland, in 2005 as part of the Erasmus programme. I am a huge fan of European cinema and felt that this was a good opportunity to explore different audience perception.
The course I enrolled on was entirely in Polish, which made lectures almost impossible as I spoke no Polish before deciding to go to Katowice, although I did take an intensive language course arranged by the University. I corresponded frequently with my tutors in the UK and put together several project proposals that involved experimental sound art, video and literature. The projects allowed me to conduct practical research in field recording and abstract film making that I had not been able to explore previously. The people that I met in Katowice were keen to help out in my projects and enabled my colleague and I to branch out into areas of documentary film that would not have been possible in the UK. My film projects allowed me to find out a great deal about Poland, geographically and historically. I began learning Polish in 2006 and can now speak the language fluently. I believe I achieved a better degree as a result of my Erasmus experience, as I was able to include case studies from Poland in my dissertation and use contacts that I had made on Erasmus in a third year exhibition. Both of these elements helped me achieve a 1st.
My Erasmus experience has been the single most important educational experience of my life to date. The Erasmus programme has inspired me to explore new avenues of business, culture and learning that I continue to explore on a daily basis. It was the driving force that enabled me to become self employed and the sole reason for my moving back to Poland after graduating the University of Plymouth in 2006.
The Erasmus programme had acted as a springboard that enabled me to dive deep into the Polish language, society and culture with which I had become so engaged.
I will soon travel to China, India and Columbia as an extension of The Learning English Video Project before beginning a Masters Degree course in International Relations at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. The decision to study on the continent is almost certainly attributed to my involvement in the Erasmus programme, both as a student and as a film maker, and it is something I firmly believe will increase my enthusiasm for living in a tolerant, multicultural and cosmopolitan world.
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