TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR TIME ABROAD
I was in Budapest, Hungary where I studied at Corvinus University of Budapest for one year as part of my Economics and Banking degree at University of Greenwich.
The Erasmus+ Study Abroad was an optional opportunity for my course which I chose to do for my entire second year. It was fully recognized as a contribution to my overall degree classification.
Budapest is a fantastic city for students, thriving with vibrancy and ideal for those who love to meet new people. I studied at Corvinus University of Budapest, where I undertook 10 courses in total, all of which were taught in English. There was a much larger variety of courses to choose from, so I was able to choose courses that I felt were more interesting.
WHAT DID YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
The biggest opportunities I had were for travelling. All the students go exploring because it’s cheap and because you’re in such close proximity to so many European countries e.g. Poland, Germany, Croatia and even Turkey. I travelled to nine different countries whilst I was in Budapest and I made so many friends on each of those trips.
In Budapest I took up dance classes (popping) which I have always wanted to do, but I’ve never had the time or money to do so. It was so much fun, and only possible because of the Erasmus programme! I had always been interested in learning French too, and so I signed up for French classes as well with a private tutor for only £8 an hour. I would never have had the same opportunities to travel and learn if I stayed in the UK and I certainly wouldn’t have met all of the amazing people I did.
HOW HAS YOUR TIME ABROAD BENEFITED YOU?
Before I left for my Erasmus, I had recently postponed my second year of university after six months due to serious personal problems which subsequently left me with depression and very low self-esteem. Erasmus was more than just a year abroad for me. It refilled me with all the confidence and personality I once had and with substantial interest! When I first arrived in Hungary, I was very anxious about being in a new country and a new culture where I knew absolutely no one, but that feeling soon faded. I made dozens of amazing friends, and I don’t feel anxious at all about going abroad and staying in new countries now. In consequence I’m more outgoing, confident and I’m not afraid to face new challenges in the world.
It is true what they say too that travel broadens the mind. I explored new cultures and visited so many countries that I now have a better understanding of the international community. It went beyond the physical horizons, as I met people from all over the world who shared with me their stories and insights into their own culture and lifestyle. I was surprised how much I learnt about the world and my own capabilities on my Erasmus programme.
Going abroad enabled me to discover new cultures and meet new people. I learnt how to communicate with people from various backgrounds, and my interpersonal skills were definitely enhanced. I think it’s important to employers but also for yourself to know about the world that you live in and to meet individuals from a variety of places, because the reality is you will probably be working in an international environment.
I learnt how to become more independent living out in Hungary, and now I have the confidence to do anything. Also with all the trips that I planned, I inadvertently became more organized so I wasn’t bored, lost or homeless when travelling around! In my opinion, there is no equivalent experience that can emulate the Erasmus programme. It’s a unique programme which imbues you with knowledge, self-development and aspiration that can only be obtained by living in another country. I even went on to volunteer in Poland for six weeks with kindergarten children a month after my Erasmus placement finished (and I’ve never worked with children before!)
What do you have to say to students thinking of studying abroad?
My Erasmus year was the best year of my life so far. It was incredibly fun, mind-opening and I met so many fantastic people from all over the world who I will be visiting in the future. I would whole-heartedly recommend this experience to everyone, because you will learn so much and you will never know what you will see, feel or experience during your time away. I also found love during my Erasmus programme in Budapest where I met a beautiful Polish girl, and we’ve been in a long-distance relationship for nine months now and I will be visiting her in Belgium this month, so more travelling!
Erasmus is an unforgettable experience, so don’t miss out!
Want to spend a semester or year abroad like Ben? Check out the Erasmus+ Study Abroad programme!