An Erasmus Year
In the morning of 10th of September I left my country, where I lived all my life, to board in the biggest and most challenging adventure of my life. The destination? Ljubljana. My new home for almost one year.
Since my first years of university I wanted to participate in the Erasmus program, a student exchange program established in 1987, financed by the European Union.
Two years ago, when I tried the first time to be accepted in this program, I saw on the list of all the Universities that have a protocol with mine the name of University of Ljubljana. I was surprised by this name, because I didn’t remember to hear about this city.
Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia, a small country with a population of approximate two million people. Situated in the southern Central Europe, bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, it looked like a ideal destination of Erasmus. I was looking for a small, cozy, pacific and well situated city to spend one year of my life.
Last year, on the second attempt, I was finally accepted at the University of Ljubljana. This was the beginning of the best year of my life so far.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”, Neale Donald Walsh
Living in Ljubljana was fantastic. After a few weeks the city feels like home, the new friends feels like family, everything went well and we were well integrated.
Only a few times in almost one year the linguistic barrier was a problem, as Slovenia is one of the countries with the best English Proficiency Index. In restaurants, markets, services, and others, you can manage to communicate easily in English, due to this, I didn’t feel the necessity to learn Slovenian.
Being able to go anywhere in the city by bicycle, go to have lunch or dinner in almost every restaurant in the city with a reduced price because his student meals system are more favorable points of this city.
“Making a big life change is pretty scary. But, know what’s even scarier? Regret.”, unknown.
One advantage of living in other country is the possibility to visit other countries and places, since that you are free to do whatever you want.
During this last year living in Slovenia, I have visited Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Austria, Germany and Czech Republic.
I will always remember the stories that I lived. The night in Venice trying to sleep in the car, the adventure in Bosnia, the time that we tried to stole some beer in Bosnia countryside, the first hitchhiking experience solo in Austria, the three city trip in four days, the last trip to Montenegro and Croatia, where we saw our country wining the Euro cup.
Where is home???
And now? After two months in Portugal, I can’t feel the same way that before Erasmus. I don’t fell at home, I miss my friends, I miss my independence.
“My biggest fear is that some day I will not be able to remember the amazing Erasmus year”