Covid 19 & Staying Connected

“It is important to remember in these scary and uncertain times that we all are in this together, no matter what country we are in.” In this blog Rory discusses his Erasmus experience and reflects on how grateful he was to have been given the opportunity to go. Especially now during the pandemic, Rory talks about how he still stays in touch with the friends that he made during that semester.

Even when choosing my course in UL on the CAO, having a semester spent on Erasmus was something I was looking for in my course choice, having seen the fantastic experience my brother had on his time on Erasmus.

As part of my course, the Bachelor of Arts there is a mandatory semester spent abroad in the third year. I had a huge choice of destinations for my Erasmus from all over Europe, I chose Cardiff in Wales for a variety of reasons – I felt there wouldn’t be too much of a culture shock, it was an English speaking country and the was a great choice in classes at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

I knew that I would have an amazing time on Erasmus, which turned out to be true. There was of course ups and downs but there were far more good times, and these are the things I think about now when looking back on my Erasmus not the bumps in the road along the way. I knew of course I would as cliché as it sounds learn loads about myself, and this was much truer than I had expected. I definitely came home from Cardiff with a very different perspective. I had learned how independent I was – Erasmus was my first time having moved away from home and for it to be in another country is no small feat, I went from having my own car to having to figure out the cities bus system and trying to figure out how to carry a week’s worth of groceries on a packed city bus.

I missed home that’s for certain and I missed UL. That’s one thing I learned on Erasmus is how lucky we have it in UL, we have fantastic support, facilities and generally just a great atmosphere around the campus. I of course missed all my friends, one thing which made this easier is that most of my friends were all on Erasmus too, this meant we were all in it together so we had our own little support group in those early days all supporting and learning from each other. As soon as I arrived at Cardiff Metropolitan University all the Erasmus students very quickly became friends, we all had one thing in common we were all on Erasmus so we were all able to bond on the different things which we had in common, and we became fast friends.

One of the major things I have taken away from my Erasmus was the impact it will have on my career going forward, it has made more aware of other cultures but also made me a more confident person in general. Having had such a fantastic experience living abroad it has also made me consider the option of moving abroad in the future career, which has made me reconsider what I would like to do as a career following my degree and the different routes I can take following my degree such as different masters programmes which would allow me to work abroad in the future.

Another aspect of Erasmus which I think is crucial to any young person now is the internationalisation and the appreciation it brings you for other nationalities and cultures. It wasn’t until we began to see the impacts of the pandemic across Europe when I found myself reaching out to the different people I had met on Erasmus to see how they were and making sure they were safe and well. When we see the impact that this virus is having all over the world I can see how important programmes such as the Erasmus programme is. It has connected me with so many people around Europe and has and will continue to connect thousands of others. It is important to remember in these scary and uncertain times that we all are in this together, no matter what country we are in.

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