Short-term Erasmus+ projects and why we love them  
May 27, 2024

Short-term Erasmus+ projects and why we love them  

I love to say that short-term projects equal long-term friendships, so let me tell you about the magic that  people in the right environment can create within themselves and how you can make your Erasmus experience truly magnificent. 

Short-term, non-academic Erasmus+ exchanges can often be underestimated, but nothing beats them when it comes to creating connections between people and nations. The main idea of such projects isn’t even the exchange of knowledge itself, it’s about the people and the relationships created. In my project, “D.I.O.R.” (Democracy is our right), which took place in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2023, I found myself together with people from very different backgrounds. I learned so much from these people,  immersing myself in their life experience; and they felt part of my reality as I was narrating my motherland. I started to love not just these people, but also their cultural backgrounds. I was able to see everything from a different point of view. When it comes to bringing change to the world, there is nothing more important than the ability to consider both sides, the most efficient way to achieve a critical yet objective eye.  

This type of project is really about connections, experience, exchange, immersion into foreign cultures, and  friendship. However, here is some advice to ensure that nothing will spoil your experience:  

1. Don’t have any prejudice about anyone or any nation  

I must admit that on my exchange I saw participants who were afraid to reach out to people from different  nationalities, but as we all got to know each other better, discovering how much we had in common and how much to learn from one another, those who had initially held back began to regret holding back and not getting to know the others well enough. And this leads us to the next piece of advice:

2. Don’t get stuck with one friendship group, use your opportunity and get to know everyone 

Here I am talking about a personal experience. I’m guilty, I created a “friend group” and we were  inseparable, we were stuck in our own private zone. Obviously, I got to know everyone briefly, but the main word here is “briefly”. I didn’t have the chance to meet other companions deeply enough. As a matter of fact, there was one boy from Italy, whom I didn’t really notice, but one day before leaving, I realised we had so much to discuss and so little time. He taught me so much: for example, he wrote for me a whole step-by-step plan on how to start reading philosophy classics for which I am forever grateful. Oh, I wish we knew we had so much in common earlier… So don’t be like me, don’t waste your time, try to spend it with everyone, you won’t regret it!  

3. Talk and listen equally: you’re here for the exchange not to be a spokesperson

When we come to an exchange, everyone wants to tell their story, share something about their country,  and be at the centre of attention, but wait: you are here for the exchange of information so listen and talk  equally, this way you will gain more, believe me.  

4. Remember that you represent your country, so make sure to be respectful and use only truthful facts

Other participants see you as your country itself, so don’t harm your motherland’s image in their eyes. Also,  use only verified facts and try not to deceive anyone or cause any misunderstandings.  And last but not least: 

5. Don’t lose touch with your project friends

I wasn’t joking when I said that short-term exchanges can mean long-term friendships. Maybe one day you will be able to create your own international project. Regardless, having friends from all over the world is so rewarding, so listen to me, follow them on social media, and be the first one to text, the first step is always appreciated. Even Italians can be shy 🙂 I’m sure they would love to hear from you and stay in touch, as these experiences are a bridge to connect yourself with the world in order to build a net of international friendship.  

During my exchange, I learned a lot of things, but the most important one is that no matter where we are from, we may still have a lot in common with people from the most diverse backgrounds. Despite the distance, we are not distant! And I sincerely hope that in the future (where Erasmus + exchange participants could be working together) we will be able to work united for the world’s sake, treasuring European values, and teach our descendants how to do so as well. Just imagine what a bright future it would be!

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