It is not a secret that the EU funded youth programmes play a crucial role in youth capacity development in Europe and beyond. These programmes enable the European and partner countries’ youth representatives to grow professionally and individually, gain international experience, build valuable networks, build friendships with people from other countries, find their European identity and get their dream jobs. The following article shows how the Erasmus-Mundus experience completely changed the life of the EaP country student.
In recent years thousands of young students participated in the Erasmus+ and its predecessor Programmes. As a partner country, the Armenian students also exercised the opportunity to participate in those.
Seems like it was yesterday when I decided to apply to the Erasmus Mundus Euroeast Programme back in 2014. When applying to this Programme, I could not have imagined that this incredible experience would change my life so much. My study abroad at Adam Mickiewicz University had a tremendous impact on my personal and professional development taking into account several factors.
First of all, the Erasmus Mundus Euroeast Programme helped me conquer my childhood dream to study at a prestigious university abroad. Born and raised in a middle-income family in Armenia, I could not have imagined one day that dream would come true. When I listened to the Erasmus-Mundus Euroeast Programme presentation at my home university, I realized that it was a perfect opportunity to follow my dream. Collecting application documents and applying to the Programme was the best decision I have ever made. When I got the confirmation email from the Programme, I thought the whole world belonged to me. I will never forget my family’s excitement when I told them.
The student life at Adam Mickiewicz University was a fairytale for me. The academic atmosphere was outstanding; the professors were highly qualified and had international recognition. I got a chance to learn from them and enhance my professional capabilities. As an exchange student in the field of International Law, I have gained valuable experience. It has allowed me to gain a global perspective as well as cultural awareness around me. I still find myself constantly learning and acquiring new skills within my environment. Throughout this experience, I have accomplished things I could have only dreamed of.
During the exchange programme, I got an opportunity to gain comprehensive knowledge about European values, such as respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law. After returning to Armenia, I am constantly sharing my knowledge and skills connected to European values within the Armenian society. My study tenure in Poland not only enriched my professional capabilities but also enabled me to discover European art, architecture, music, literature and common European cultural heritage.
My study abroad facilitated my professional development and helped me to meet new people from all over the world. I got a chance to build my international family abroad. It is incredible how you can establish a magnificent global family within a few months and keep interactions with them in the years to come. Even though six years have passed since my exchange programme, I am in touch with my Erasmus friends. Sometimes, we are meeting abroad and recalling our most memorable days.
Erasmus Mundus experience assisted me to discover my European identity. Erasmus has reminded me that I am Armenian and European, and those two identities are reconciled. This experience gives me the space to consider what it means to be Armenian and what it means to be European. As a result, I increased my knowledge of Europe and paid attention to European news. In other words, Erasmus enhanced my identification with Europe.
Last but not least, Erasmus impacted my career development. Due to the high-quality legal education I received in Poland, I achieved my career goals. This experience enhanced my professional competencies, and I got a package of professional skills. I also improved my self-confidence and made more decisive decisions. At the end of the Programme, I became more tolerant and respectful toward others.
To sum up, Erasmus’s experience helped me receive a high-quality education, discover European values and cultural heritage, meet new people, build my European family, find my European identity, and develop my professional skills and personality. Everyone should have the opportunity to have a similar experience.