João tells us about Erasmus.
The Erasmus programme constitutes one of the EU’s best contributions, touching the lives of 9 million participants and deeply shaping our future generations, whether by improving a student’s chances to get a job, learn a new language, experience cultural diversity, develop new ideas or gain a clearer idea of what European citizenship is all about.
One of those 9 million is João Carlos Ferreira. He did the Erasmus programme and is sharing his adventure with us. We learn from his story that “Going on an Erasmus exchange programme is not just about studying abroad: it’s about growing, it is knowing your continent and your fellow European neighbours a lot better!”
As an ex-Erasmus student, I think I should leave a message to all of those who are still wondering whether or not they should go on an Erasmus experience. Once upon a time, a few years ago, I was an Erasmus student, back in 2013. I had always had the dream to study abroad, so when I was in the 2nd year of my bachelor’s degree, I just asked myself: “Why not?”
So there I was, after taking care of the paper work, choosing which country I should go. I ended up choosing an amazing, beautiful and just plain awesome country called Polska (Poland). I must admit that I was a little bit afraid (aren't we all)? A different country, a totally different culture, being away from my friends and family . . . Would it really be worth it? YOU BET IT WAS!
Going on an Erasmus exchange programme is not just studying abroad: it’s about growing, it’s about knowing your continent and your fellow European neighbours a lot better! For one thing, I didn't just meet Polish people: I met people from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Holland, Ukraine, Belarus, Spain, Italy, Germany — even people from Turkey and Canada! An Erasmus experience is not just a European experience; it’s a world experience at its core. It’s a programme where our resilience, our courage and our knowledge are put to the test, and we gain so much from it! By talking with people from other countries and other cultures, by exchanging knowledge, you can learn so much.
It was by having contact with fellow Europeans that I fully understood what a few nations, created back in 1957 in Rome, Italy, was all about — and was totally worth it. We live in peace, we can travel anywhere we want to in Europe — even roaming is gone! On which other continent do you have these privileges? Nowhere else. If I could, I would do it all over again. It was a wonderful and amazing experience which I don’t in any way regret. I just hope that our wonderful and beautiful example of Union will last forever and ever — first because I am Portuguese, and second because I am a proud European citizen and I want more and more young students to have the chance to go on such a truly amazing and unforgettable experience!
João Carlos Ferreira