Hello Dear United Citizens of Europe readers,
My Name is Eva Antunes and I’m a 21-year-old girl from Portugal.
In 2021 I lived a full year of Erasmus+ but not in a typical way, I did 4 different types of Programs, in total, 6 Erasmus+ experiences.
Let me explain, I began my year by going on a Study Exchange (the most well-known type of Erasmus+) in Tallinn, Estonia. I spent the most incredible 5 months there. Going to the opposite side of Europe in the middle of a pandemic was, for sure, an experience. It began with a cultural shook where nobody really cared that Covid-19 existed, where the typical temperature was -10ºC and where I connected with my fellow Erasmus students that were as shocked as me.
Throughout the 5 months I lived the craziest experiences, I learned more about the UE than ever before and I created a family that, fortunately, I got the chance to revisit in the summer.
When I got back to Portugal, I was addicted, I was craving the feeling of travelling, meeting different people and really experiencing new cultures, so, 2 weeks later, I packed my bag, and I went to Turkey.
Turkey was my first Youth Exchange. For 10 days, we had activities and workshops about difficulty for youth in rural areas to get opportunities or know where to find them. I also made incredible friends and got to know the most beautiful places in Istanbul. I couldn’t get enough of this lifestyle, so 1 week later I was in a plane to Croatia.
Croatia was my first training course, a group of older people got to reflect and debunk empathy and prejudgment and learn tools in order to use them when working with youth. This was an enlightening experience and I got very lucky because I got to see the most amazing blue water.
Can you guess what I did next? I went to another Youth Exchange, this time on Slovakia and after I went to another YE in Cyprus. Both great experiences and very culturally different, which is why I loved doing this. Slovakia was in between mountains, close to the border with Poland and I got to see Vienna and Budapest on the trip there and back (I dare to say it was the best trip that I did until now) and Cyprus was in Larnaca, very close to the beach where the water was hot. I also had the opportunity to see the border in Nicosia between the Turkish side and the Greek side divided by the UN.
Since I wasn’t ready to settle down but, at the same time, I had finished my studies (while in Estonia), I decided to go to the south of Spain to do an Erasmus Internship. This is a very different type of Erasmus because it has different types of responsibilities, but also is a very good alternative for people like me that are not sure what to do next but know they don’t want to be stuck in their hometown.
Now that I’m in the last days of this internship, while I’m looking for what to do next for my career, I’m going on 2 more YE or Training Courses just until I figure out my next step.
I hope this gave you an insight into what it is Erasmus+ and what it’s available out there for you to travel and really grow as a person. I can assure you that you never come back the same.
I’m comfortable in being uncomfortable because it’s the best way for you to learn