"Going on Erasmus", who hasn't heard of it? But what is it really like to study in another country? We asked three Ghent University students who are currently abroad, from cold Finland to the Costa del Sol in Spain.
Margot Helpers - 1st master in clinical psychology – Málaga (Spain)
"Here at the Universidad de Málaga, there is more focus on the practical side of our training. For example, every subject has a practical session and we also have a lot of group works. The groups are smaller, allowing more interaction with fellow students and with lecturers. This allows you to learn more from each other and the threshold for asking questions is lower. The biggest challenge for me is the language. Everything is in Spanish. I took an intensive Spanish course at the University Centre for Language Education in Ghent during the summer, which fortunately gave me a very good foundation. I really recommend this to all students as well."
"I already had a previous experience abroad. As part of my business psychology studies, I went to Helsinki for a semester. For my current master's I wanted to go south, to experience both sides of Europe. I have now lived in two very different places and actually, the location doesn't really matter. You can really can make the most of it by yourself. For example, I am exploring Malaga and its surroundings with a group of international students. But I also definitely wanted to do something "local" and am therefore taking Bachata dance classes."
Lisa Freriks - 1st master business engineer – Tampere (Finland)
"The university classrooms here are completely different from those at Ghent University: there are chairs crisscrossing the room, interspersed with low and high tables and poufs to sit on. There are also air-raid shelters under the university buildings that are now set up as sports halls. I play floorball there, a hugely popular sport here that is somewhat similar to hockey."
"Tampere University appealed to me anyway, but besides that, I was also extremely keen to get to know Finnish nature and lifestyle. Occasionally I go jogging around the many lakes in the area. Running with such a view is blissful, but the slopes are not to be underestimated. In August, we could also swim in the lakes, but by now it has become too cold for that and only the Finns do it. Saunas can be found next to the lakes because Finland has a real sauna culture. Parties here often take place in the sauna and afterward everyone goes on dancing on their flip-flops."
Evert Van Bever – 2nd master geography and geomatics – Amsterdam (Netherlands)
"There is quite a big difference between studying in Amsterdam and in Ghent. The academic year is completely different here. There are blocks of eight weeks, after which you complete about two subjects. So it took some getting used to. I am in my second master's but this different academic system sometimes makes me feel like a searching first-year student again. You have to be much more alert in this system, but the advantage is that I will have a Christmas break."
"A tip for students who have doubts about Erasmus? Don't hesitate! You will miss your friends and family from time to time, but you will meet new people too. And also definitely keep an eye on the enrolment deadlines."
Are you a Ghent University student and do you want to do part of your education or your compulsory internship at a university in Europe? In autumn, each faculty organizes an information session about Erasmus. During this information session you will receive more information about the procedures to be followed and the available grants per destination.
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