Throwback#4 – My Erasmus Experience
Today, I’m going to tell you about my Erasmus experience. So, I enrolled at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, with one of my best friends. Groningen is not a big city, but in my opinion, it’s pretty much a student-oriented city. I’m going to start by explaining the experience in terms of classes, etc.. and then tell you about my living experience.
First of all, at the University of Groningen, one academic year contains four different trimesters, all of these with various courses. And since I was there for six months I had to attend two trimesters, with the following classes:
- International Strategic Management;
- Purchasing and Supply Chain Management;
- Innovation Management and Technology;
- Operations Strategy and Technology;
- Innovation and Productivity.
So, in terms of difficulties, in my personal opinion, it wasn’t one of those Erasmus where you could explore and not focus on studying. No, studying came first, and only then would you go out and have all those experiences.
For me it was a bit of a difficult university, but it may be because it was the first time I had to study, write, think and listen in English, so perhaps I was just trying to adapt, and it took a little bit of more time. More so, because it was in Groningen that I started to understand the importance of academic articles. And I had to adapt to a rhythm of reading two or three scholarly articles in one day when, at the time, it would take me a long time to read a report and I still had some difficulties because of the English.
One thing that really surprised me was the number of students that generally studied in the library. In Portugal, I never had that experience of going to a library that was super comfortable and completely equipped for students to study there throughout the whole day. Even more surprising was the waiting line, during the exams period, at 7 am to enter the library.
Overall, in terms of the University experience, I loved the way the courses and helping structures were organised. However, in my opinion, it wasn’t an easy University, simply because I had never failed a class before in my bachelor, until Erasmus, where I only passed like two classes. At times, it was just stressful, because I had to focus on different courses all happening simultaneously, and you only have three months to get into it.
On the other hand, Erasmus was literally one of the best experiences of my life, not only because I met lots of different people, but also because I learned so much about other cultures and expanded even further my English – speaking and writing – capabilities. Because the city was so student-oriented, with a lot of things happening every week, I never really stopped going out and having fun.
In the beginning, I entered into a program that basically introduces you to other students living there. And it was in this programme that I made almost all of my friends. Which was really helpful because it was the first time I was living completely alone, and having those friends while I was adapting was crucial towards my personal development.
Overall, Erasmus is an experience that I highly recommend. Even if English is difficult for you, I really think that you learn a lot academically but also a lot about yourself. Now, if you want to have one of those wild Erasmus experiences, I do not recommend going to Groningen. But if you’re going to do a Master or something similar, I do think Groningen is an excellent option.