THE ERASMUS EXPERIENCE
“And you are looking for something that will definitely change your life”
“Why don’t you continue with your studies in another country?”
You don’t know exactly how it happens. You are tired of your daily routine, you want to live new experiences and you are looking for something that will definitely change your life. So, “why don’t you continue with your studies in another country?” you ask to yourself. And then, without even thinking about it twice, you become an Erasmus student. In my particular case, I chose Cluj-Napoca as the first option and here I am now, writing this story sitting on a coffee shop in Cluj.
The days before the departure you feel a bit confused. You are scared and you are afraid of loneliness. You don’t want to leave your loved ones and your whole life behind to start a new one in a completely different place. But, suddenly, without even having time to assume it, there you are: surrounded by new people in a city that is thousands kilometres away from yours. At first it is a bit weird. You are about to start a parallel life and God knows how is it going to be and what is going to happen.
In order to fill the emptiness you feel for being away from the ones you love, you try to find something that reminds you to them in the people you have recently met: winks, similarities, movements… But the truth is that these new people are completely different to your loving ones. And completely different to you. It is like gathering people who have nothing to do with one another, people to whom you probably wouldn’t have talked to in a situation of your daily life. But you start sharing your time with them. You start doing plans that you could have never imagined, such as going partying on Mondays, travelling to unthinkable countries, meeting to drink some beers at 3 P.M. or spending the night on a train for visiting other cities.This new people somehow becomes your new family and steals a little part of your heart. And, one day, you wake up without the feeling that you are in a country that is not yours. You wake up thinking that the new place in which you are feels like home now. The city is not unfamiliar anymore. It is your home. And it is incredible.
“What happens in Cluj, stays in Cluj”
Being away from home have never felt so good. You realize that the Erasmus life is the best thing that could ever happen to you. It is a completely different life to the one you had before starting this new experience, but you love it. You go party like if there is no tomorrow and you give your best on the dancefloor. You even do things that you would never do while being sober. But it does not matter. As we say, “what happens in Cluj stays in Cluj”. Trips become your new religion. Travelling has never been that easy. And that cheap. When you are at the Erasmus, you don’t care how to travel. You don’t mind to be 10 hours in a bus or a train if that is the cheapest way of doing it. And this is how I have travelled to incredible places such as Budapest, Transylvania, Maramures, Bucarest or Belgrade. But, without any doubt, the best trip has been the one to Israel. Israel really left a mark not only in my Erasmus but in my life. The religious fanaticism in Jerusalem, the relaxing bath in the Death Sea, the incredible Masada National Park and the luxury of Tel Aviv made of the trip an unique experience. The places, dishes, parties, landscapes and anecdotes are essential for a good trip, but the true element for an incredible trip is always the people around you.
Everything is incredible. Each party is better than the previous one, the city feels like home and you have a new family. But time passes. And you slowly realize that the best experience of your life is finishing. The post-Erasmus depression becomes a reality and you see how people you have formed a family with during this four months leaves the city and returns back home. And then is when you feel that a little piece of your heart will stay forever with these people who at the beginning were only strangers. You know that you will see many of them again, but you also know that probably it is the last time that you see others.
The following promotional video of the Erasmus Student Network gathers perfectly the essence of the Erasmus. And, as it says, you are not the same once you have done an Erasmus. You never forget those memories which made you that happy.
ONCE ERASMUS, ALWAYS ERASMUS
The person that arrives to a new city at the beginning of the Erasmus is not the same person that leaves at the end of it. An Erasmus experience makes you grow as a person and changes completely your attitude towards every aspect of life. Summarizing, an Erasmus is one of the best things that could happen to anyone.
ONCE ERASMUS, ALWAYS ERASMUS
Adriana López Marturet