Ana Pejovska, our student of Financial Management, decided to spend part of her final year abroad. Last year she applied for ERASMUS in Poland and she shared her impressions with us.
Why did you choose the Erasmus exchange programme in Poland? Which city and university did you choose?
I wanted to take part in the Erasmus programme at the beginning of professional undergraduate study, but unfortunately, our University didn’t offer this option at the time. As soon as I saw on the website that the exchange programme was launched, I applied for it, which in the end proved to be the best option – to complete a semester abroad in the last year of study.
When I was applying for the programme, I didn’t have many options for my level of study (most countries offered professional undergraduate studies for the exchange programme). In the end, I had to choose between Slovenia and Poland, so I decided to go a bit further abroad and chose delightful Poland. Afterwards, I had to choose between three cities, so I opted for the University of Gdańsk. I did some research and concluded that it was the best option since it is a big university situated in a small pleasant town near the sea, with many exchange students.
What was the procedure afterwards? How did you find the accommodation, did you go alone or with a colleague, and how did your parents react when they heard the news about studying abroad?
Once I chose the destination, I wrote a cover letter and Europass CV, prepared the rest of the documentation, submitted it to the Student Administration Office and waited for the interview. Then I was called for the interview, carried it out and impatiently waited for results. Soon I received a notification which stated that I had successfully passed the selection procedure and that my admission was granted. I was overwhelmed with the news, and then I began with further preparations which included collecting and submitting comprehensive documentation. Luckily, our coordinator Lana Domšić was very kind and helpful. Furthermore, the ESN organisation promptly answered all my questions. They assigned me a great mentor (a person who helps you settle in when you arrive at your destination and at the university) who picked me up at the airport, showed me around the town the next day, introduced me to many people and was very helpful. Unfortunately, not everybody was as lucky as I was.
Concerning accommodation, I tried to find somebody from Croatia who was on the exchange program to Gdańsk, but without success. I was the only Croat there, but I felt great. I found a flat via Facebook groups and didn’t’ have any problems. My parents helped me a lot and supported me financially because the Erasmus grant wasn’t enough, unfortunately.
What is the difference between Poland and Croatia when it comes to the system of lectures and students’ duties?
Their learning system is quite different than ours and I liked it because students learn through practice. Most exams consisted of preparing group presentations on the subject matter. In every case study, we had to analyse the given company and learn from actual examples, which proved to be much useful than learning definitions by heart.
How did you like Poland, and do you think that the semester abroad was a good idea? What do you think were the advantages and drawbacks of this decision?
Poland was altogether a great experience and people are of the similar state of mind as Croats. Almost every day was great fun 🙂 I would definitely recommend the Erasmus programme to every person who is open to new opportunities. I have improved my English (and learned a bit of Polish, German, French and Spanish), but I have also made friendships for life, met a lot of people from all over the world and learnt a lot about myself. I can say that my life changed for better after this experience, I am more confident, determined and well prepared for new experiences. All my experiences were positive and pleasant and you should definitely apply for Erasmus.
I wish a safe and pleasant journey to all future exchange students, and I recommend they arm themselves with a lot of energy 🙂