Today we interview Carlo, a 22-year-old Italian student who chose to leave for Lisbon with the Erasmus program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Hi Carlo? How are you? Tell us something about you… in which university are you formally enrolled? Where did you choose to go? And why there?
A: Hi everyone! My name is Carlo and I attended the first year of my master’s degree at the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, faculty of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE). Right now I am in Portugal, in Lisbon and I attend the NOVA university, where I am majoring in Management.
I chose this city because of the importance and the value that this university has in the business field, but also because after spending six months in exchange in Russia, I felt that Lisbon was the place for me.
Q: Which type of documents did you had to fill out before leaving?
A: In order to take part in the Erasmus program, they asked me for: a statement of awareness and compliance (a consent form in which I had to state that I take full responsibility regarding my choice to partake in the Erasmus), a copy of my ID card or my passport, the bachelor’s degree certificate, a motivational letter in which I explained why I want to leave and then, a voluntary or working experience certificate (optionally).
Q: What was the situation in your host country before you left?
A: I left for Portugal last summer, in August 2020, and I had to make a choice. For the major I had also applied for admission at the Bocconi University in Milan, but despite the health emergency I decided to stay at LUISS and start my Erasmus experience in Lisbon. Last summer, in Italy as in the rest of Europe, the pandemic got better, so the situation I found when I arrived here was very calm.
Q:: Why did you choose to leave anyway? How did your university handle Erasmus mobility during the pandemic?
A: I chose to leave anyway because the NOVA university gave me the green light to do so. I knew that Lisbon was not in lockdown and I knew that I could attend classes in presence, as I still do now. We respect the anti-contagion rules too and we are very careful. Moreover, the classes are halved and only 50% of the students can attend at a time, but everything here is very serene.
Q: Would you do it again or would you wait? And why?
A: Yes, I would do it again for sure. Living in a different country, with a different culture, a different language, far from my family and Italy, having to adapt, regardless of the country you go to, is a great experience. Going in Erasmus has left its mark on my life, it is an all-round experience. A sort of “other life”. I went away alone, I left for six months and I had some dark moments, but it is a formative experience that helps you to grow, and you do not have to be afraid. I am very happy to have left, although in a health emergency, and to be honest I am already planning my next trip, but this time it will be outside the European Union.
Great! At our institution we really appreciate every student, who decide to study abroad in this difficult time. Also separation from family can be difficult. I hope, more students will be so brave as Carlo and will study/practise with Erasmus+ abroad.
Greetings from Poland!
Someone once said that the highest act of courage is to go beyond the threshold of your own home. If I am not mistaken, it was JRR Tolkien.
We never know where our legs will take us. 🙂
While working as an Erasmus + coordinator, I often talked to students who were afraid of what the future would bring them. I suspect many of my colleagues had the same problem.
Many students asked the same questions: is my foreign language good enough, and what if I don’t manage to study, is there enough money?
Fear accompanied many students on their way to making decisions.
Today there is even more of this fear. Fear for health. Fear for life.
Hopefully more students will be so brave.
That is why our work as coordinators of the exchange program is so important. We are advisers and often friends. By giving prudent advice, we will ensure the normal functioning of students, staff and universities.
Krystian, I defititely agree! Very often we are friends, very often psychologists 🙂
I am grateful for every student, who decied to travel abroad, all the more so at this difficult time.
I alway enjoy watching the progress that students make during their stay abroad – they are leaving like a small chick and coming back like self-confident woman or man. I see this change by our Outcoming as well as by Incoming students.
We have a great job, by the way 🙂