From the beginning of October 2016, I went on the Erasmus journey. I studied Media Studies abroad in the capital of Spain for nine months at Carlos III University. I was excited to begin the experience, ready and raring to go on the plane and explore a new country and see how I would manage in my new surroundings. Erasmus was sold to us as a life changing experience, a challenge that anyone could conquer if they put their minds to it.
At the beginning, I was loving it. Within the first two months, I made new friends and explored the new country I had chosen. I was taking every opportunity that was given to me. The education was quite poor compared to the UK. The difference in difficulty is major as half of the education that I was a part of, I already knew because I studied near enough every subject they had to offer. The classes I did take, some of them were like revision classes. One class I detested was a class called “Media Technology”. It was a practical class, which is what I usually enjoy, however, in one class, he made us learn how to focus the camera for an hour and a half. Now, if you’ve been studying the subject for more than 6 years like I have, I should think I know how to focus a camera. There was one subject I liked, Scriptwriting for Cinema was a class led by a well-experienced writer, who has written feature length Spanish films and done a lot of other projects. He taught us the basic but made us practise in depth how to do the parts he was teaching us. I’m not expert in scriptwriting now but I can say it has improved majorly after this class.
Nevertheless, moving on from the education side of things, what have I learnt from the experience as a whole?
- Grown Up – I have become more mature over the experience. Of course, I still have an immature sense of humour but some things I am growing out of now. Especially when it comes to drinking, I started University at 18 thinking that the only thing to do is party and drink. Now, I have slowed down on the party atmosphere and enjoyed drinking socially with friends more rather than getting absolutely wasted out of my face until I can’t physically speak.
- Independence – I used to rely on others to do many things for me. My parents would cook, clean, do the ironing etc. whilst I had fun. Joint within growing up, putting myself in the situation where my parents aren’t there to help me, you have to get on with it and do it yourself. I think this is the best way. Of course, I still make mistakes but I enjoy having more independence to do what I want to do.
- To Appreciate What You Have – I have everything I need here in England but in Spain, it was difficult for me to get what I wanted. A lot of the Spanish culture is different compared to the English of course. I was blind before I went into the experience, thinking everything is going to be there for me. I now appreciate more of what I have already. Doing the Erasmus experience in Spain has strengthened that.
- Stronger Friendships – I knew before I went over that I had many friends from my university going to Madrid. I knew these people but many I did not have a strong bond with. After this experience, these friendships are now stronger and I am more comfortable with these people. I made many new friends whilst I was there but I think what’s more important is to be stronger friends with those who already know you and will continue to be with you. I guess links with to appreciate what you have, but it’s definitely something that has helped me throughout my experience.
- Openness – Ever since I started university, I have always been open to new ideas and ways of improving. Erasmus has definitely extended that. I feel like I am more capable of doing things that I wouldn’t usually do and I feel like I can more than ever before. I want to get on with what I do best and I want to do everything to the best of my ability, now more than ever.
There are many other things which I have learnt throughout my experience but I guess these are the ones that pop into mind whenever I look back at it. If you are going on the Erasmus journey, feel free to learn from me and even ask me questions on what it was like in more detail. I recorded many of my experiences on my YouTube channel ‘checkouted’ so please, feel free to watch those and tell me what you think!