Erasmus incoming students experience

Erasmus students Experience during Covid 2019 - 2020

Adriana Altieri

Sending Institution: University of Salerno, Italy

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Dept. of Philology

Acad. Year 2019-2020, spring semester

adriana altieri

When I started thinking about a destination for my Erasmus, Crete, and therefore Rethymno, had not been considered. Subsequently, however, my tutors brought to my attention the possibility of using one of the two places available to deepen and at the same time expand my knowledge of Greek culture and the world. It was explained to me that our University had a particular interest and desire in assigning this place to students who were engaged, like me, in a classical path and who could profit from this experience from more than one point of view. Finding accommodation in Rethymno, despite the rather low cost of living, was not so easy because the city welcomes many tourists and university students.

After sending a lot of emails, I finally found an apartment that by the standards of the place could be called expensive but in my opinion, the location, the size, and comfort it was equipped with, made the rental price realistic. Getting to Crete was quite easy, although it is true that you need to stop over at Athens airport for most of the year, until the tourist season starts. Rethymno is a city that I would recommend to everyone: cheap, welcoming, characteristic. You can't get bored: the city offers more than one possibility to have fun. The taverns, lighthouse, clubs, clubs and restaurants overlooking the sea: every evening you can enjoy something different. The University of Crete is very aesthetically beautiful and at the same time well connected to the centre. It can also be reached on foot but I personally would not recommend it because it is far from the centre, situated on a hill. Rather, I would recommend using the buses, available every ten minutes and very cheap, or in principle taxis, also not too expensive. The impact with the university system was not the best for several reasons: completely different teaching methods, communication and understanding with the secretariats sometimes difficult, difficulties in communicating with teachers.

However, I must admit that, over the months, I have been able to see all the positives and potential of the new method of study and, thanks to the intense and present work of our secretariats and my tutors, I was able to solve all the different critical issues. At the same time, the professors of the Cretan University proved to be very understanding and collaborative with us Erasmus students. From the very beginning, I made friends with most of the Italian students, most of whom had been attending this University since September. Thanks to them I was able to get to know places and local people and experience the life of a real citizen of Rethymno. Over time I also got to know other Erasmus students from other countries that I will never forget. Unfortunately, the beautiful friendships that were being born experienced a stalemate when the covid-19 arrived. I have to admit that I experienced this period with a lot of agitation since I noticed how much the local people were not really aware of the situation, thanks to the fact that I knew very well that in my country the reality was much more serious. It wasn't so much the fact that I couldn't leave the house that made me uncomfortable, but rather the fact that my family was going through a difficult time and I couldn't help. To this was added the fact that I had planned to return to Italy only for the Easter holidays and that in the end it was not possible. Fortunately, the period ended rather early and, thanks to the online lessons, it was possible at that point to organize the day in the best possible way and make up all the lost time enjoying the joy of being able to meet all my friends again. So in conclusion, I would like to recommend not only the Erasmus experience but also and above all the choice to carry out this beautiful university moment in a city like Rethymno.

 

Yunus Emre Başıdinç

Sending Institution: Kocaeli University, Turkey

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Dept. Political Science

Acad. Year 2019-2020, Spring Semester

erasmusturkey

Hello my name is Emre. I came from Istanbul. I am studying Political Science in Kocaeli University in Turkey. In Rethymno there is no student dormitory for Erasmus students but it's not that hard to find a accommodation. I found a shared flat in the city centre from the Facebook group which is for helping accommodation to Erasmus students. My roommate was Cretan and that was also great for me for learning more about Greece and Crete.

Beginning of the semester everything was going well. The International Office of the University was oriented and helped us very well. Also ESN helped too much and they made great trips and events for meet the other Erasmus students.

Until the lockdown everything was so normal and funny. I got used to living in Rethymno, learned the city, culture, foods etc.

I think the Covid-19 pandemic made my erasmus experience unique. The whole 2.5 months during the lockdown. I had a chance of see and live in empty Rethymno. Because normally the city always has a lot of tourists. Unlike the other Erasmus students I experienced ordinary city life inside the local people more than student life.

Thanks to Greece's successful struggle with the epidemic, we returned to normal life earlier than the rest of the world. After the pandemic, life continued with all its beauty in Crete. I improved myself very much while doing my assignments for my classes. All my professors are very helpful and kind and they helped me a lot to improve myself.

I met very good people and discovered very beautiful places. I feel Crete like my second hometown. I will miss Crete and island life. Goodbye Crete until next time!

erasmusturkey2

Andrea Mello

Sending Institution: University of Salento, Italy

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Department of Economics

Acad. Year 2019-2020, Spring semester

 

My Erasmus experience in Crete starts in early February. Mild temperature, friendly people, friendly Erasmus students, university staff and teachers available, English language known by all.  The only difficulty in my first month is to find a spacious and suitable apartment for me. 

The evenings take place in clubs and cafes with other Erasmus students.  

The start of the pandemic was not a simple moment.  Parents are worried, you don't know what will happen and what is best for your health.  The only thing to do is to calm down and respect the rules of the country where you are staying. 

Fortunately, Greece has been quick to close all businesses, parks and universities.  In the two months of lockdown it was essential to have a good internet connection and a spacious apartment.

 It was not easy for anyone but I took advantage of the lockdown to study more and be able to pass all the exams.

Important was the reply from the University of Crete which immediately provided us with all the information and useful advice.  The University staff was helpful and quick on the many questions that we Erasmus students had.  The university was quick to deliver online courses.  The teachers were sympathetic to us and quick to respond to e-mails and provide tutoring services through skype or zoom platforms.  There has been a good job by everyone without which this experience could have been unpleasant.

Unfortunately, after the lockdown, the Erasmus group had become smaller.  

The last month I visited the island of Crete with its beaches and historical places.  A really beautiful and very organized island for young people and tourists beyond the bad situation in which I found myself.  I recommend anyone to do their Erasmus in Crete in the city of Rethymno. I will definitely be back on vacation.

 

Chiara Ferrari

Sending Institution: University of Verona, Italy

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Dept. History and Archaeology

Acad. Year 2019-2020

 chiara ferrari

I’m Chiara Ferrari, Erasmus student from Italy. I stayed in Rethymno for both semesters and I can surely assume that the second semester, due COVID-19 situation, has been really difficult.

Personally I had to do my own quarantine before the lockdown came in all the Greece, and it has been stressing and full of anxiety due to the situation in my own country. I was so worried about my family, because I’m from one of the cities that were mostly influenced. I felt lost and stressed also because was impossible to go on with the preparation of the exams and to write the essays. I was literally living in the night and sleeping during the day. I was so lucky because I lived in a big house with another Italian Erasmus student and a Greek student, that changed their status from flatmates to close friends. We had so much time to spend together, and I can’t imagine how it would be if I was living alone in a small house/studio. I really recommend to all the Erasmus students that in the future will come, to try, at least, to live with someone else, instead to stay alone. It was very helpful and we saved each other during the worse times.

It was difficult because I saw people leaving, I saw friends too much stressed about the situation that had to leave because they couldn’t manage the anxiety and stress. It was sad that we couldn’t say goodbye in a good way, maybe in front of a beer with some music in the background.

Fortunately here in Rethymno the situation was great, we were allowed to hang out for exercise, and, at least, breath. 

Fortunately, also the whole lockdown ended fast. It was great because finally we had the occasion to meet other Erasmus students that, personally, I didn’t meet before. We became friends and it was helpful because we started to study together, and our lives came back to the “normality”.

In attached the photo of one of lasts dinner we had together. One of my best memories from the second semester. The university and especially the International Office were super available and worked hard in order to permit to all the students to go on with their studies. They offered a full help in order to solve every problem and to contact the professor during this difficult time. Fortunately, every student had the occasion to finish all the exams, so I can surely say that the whole experience in UOC was great.

 

Eliška Jelínková

Sending Institution: Charles University,  Czech Republic

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Dept. of Philosophy and Social Studies

Acad. Year 2019-2020, spring semester

 

My personal Erasmus experience in the era of COVID-19 was strongly affected by the uncertainty of the whole situation. The information we received either from UoC or from our home universities were scarce and often chaotic or delayed. It was also very uncomfortable to be in a country which language I do not speak fluently because I felt strongly the necessity to rely on second-handed information and the inability to read newspapers, keep myself up to date, etc. On the other hand, I highly doubt that the situation would be much better in my own country. I naturally regretted the lost opportunity to immerse more in the local culture, especially regarding the practice of the Greek language as I believe that languages need to be put to use while learning, especially in the early stages. However, altogether I do not regret staying in Crete, on the contrary - even though the situation was tough, I made some deep connections, discovered beautiful Cretan nature and lovely towns, and gained knowledge I believe I would not in my own country. It was intense, stressful, but enriching and it is certainly an experience that I will deeply cherish and remember for the rest of my life. 

 

Marianna Fierro

Sending Institution: University of Salerno, Italy

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Dept. of Philology

Acad. Year 2019-2020, spring semester

 

I was in Rethymno from February to June.

I chose this destination because I have a strong passion for ancient Greek and the professor in Italy responsible for Erasmus immediately recommended this destination.

I started to find home, together with my colleague, on the facebook group but it was not very easy. Fortunately after several attempts, we succeeded and the house was comfortable and beautiful.

Reaching Rethymno was not very easy: I had to make several stops and finally, of course, the bus.

My stay in Rethymno was very pleasant. From the beginning I met a lot of people, many Italian guys and the city offers a lot of fun and comfort.  With my friends we preferred to go to characteristic Cretan places, like the taverns and there we made friends with many owners who told us some curiosities and a bit of history about Rethymno and all Crete.

Even with the university, I had a very good time. The professors were all very helpful, if I needed help and contacted the secretariat the answer was immediate.

The university system is very different from the one in Italy and for this reason, I am happy to have experienced this way of studying because I think it made me grow a lot.

I am very happy to have chosen this destination, I am very satisfied with my stay in Rethymno and I would immediately recommend it to some students who are preparing to do the erasmus.

 

Leonardo Capezzali

Sending Institution: University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Italy

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Department of Philology

Period: Spring Semester 2017-2018

 

My Erasmus experience in Rethymno

Why I choose Rethymno

My name is Leonardo and I come from Rome, Italy, where I study archaeology. I did my Erasmus in Rethymno in the spring semester of the academic year 2017-2018. The reason why I choose Rethymno as my destination are several: first of all I wanted to go to Greece because it is a country full of history, culture and archaeological sites, so absolutely perfect for my studies; then I found out that the University of Crete is one of the best in Greece, and this is another factor that induced me in choosing this destination; last, the possibility of living in little town for some months, among the natural beauties of Crete, escaping from the busy life of a big city such as Rome, definitively drove me in choosing Rethymno as my Erasmus destination. 

 Living in Rethymno

Despite my pessimistic thoughts, finding an accommodation in Rethymno was really easy: I found a good apartment right in the middle of the city thanks to an announcement posted on the Erasmus Accommodation group on FB; generally the quality/prize rate of the flats are really convenient (at least compared to those ones of my home city) and Erasmus students are really good welcomed. The social life in Rethymno is absolutely great! People are really open minded and very welcoming towards strangers: I had the possibility to experiment the warmth of the local people from the beginning thanks to the ESN members who helped me in coming in contact with the Greek culture and introduced me to the local lifestyle; thanks to the activities they organized (trips, parties, international dinners) they managed to make the Erasmus experience one of the best I have ever done.  Studying in UoC Campus was a great experience: the professors are really helpful and local students are always disposal to help a foreign student and to share their culture with him. Then, the location of the Campus is simply breath-taking: located on the top of a hill it gives an amazing view on the Aegean Sea. A view that you can also enjoy from the big library of the Campus: very well supplied and architectonically impressive. Rethymno is a student town so it is full of young people who animate the streets and the places every time. If you like to party you will not get bored here: the town is full of pubs and bars; discos and clubs are open almost every day and the entrance is free! During the day there is nothing better than going to the beach to chill or playing volleyball under the warm Cretan sun. After my Erasmus I can say that this experience has absolutely overpassed my earlier expectations; I am really enthusiastic to the time I passed in Rethymno and I am looking forward to doing it again.

Suggestions to other students

Personally I made a lot of trips in the island, with ESN or by my own and I can say that this is probably the best thing I could do during my stay: the beauties of the islands are simply outstanding and they deserve to be seen. From the most famous or the most hidden beaches, to the hiking in the mountains, to the several archaeological sites, to the local villages, you will be plenty of activities to do and places to see. So I suggest you not to miss these opportunities thanks to which you will be able to see some of the best places in the Mediterranean. So take part to the ESN trips or travel by your own: there are not as many wonderful places as Crete! I have been really enthusiastic of having passed some months in Rethymno; life here is completely different from the one I am used to in Rome: having the possibility to reach every place on foot instead of passing hours on public transports or in the car made my life there much easier and less stressful, considering that in Rethymno you have the same all the commodities and comforts you can find in a big city. So I suggest especially the students who use to live in big cities to experiment the life of Rethymno: you will be really pleasant of your decision!

What is Erasmus for me: Erasmus is…having the chance of becoming an international citizen.

Sanya's Erasmus Experience

sanya1


Sanya Raeva

Sending Institution: St. Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria

Hosting Institution: University of Crete, Department of Philosophical & Social Studies

Period: Spring Semester 2017-2018

My Erasmus Experience 




My Erasmus was once in a lifetime experience, it was like living in a parallel universe. One of the greatest things about doing an Erasmus is that there most probably nobody knows you and you are free from fulfilling any expectations. Another thing is that you meet a lot of different people and you interfere with them. This experience was super useful for me also in professional field because it helped me improve both my English and Greek as well as my communication skills. Currently, I am working as an event coordinator and I believe Erasmus had an impact on me taking this decision.

 

About University of Crete.

Lefteris is a great coordinator, super helpful and calm even with stressed out people like me. Maria Poulopoulou– the greatest language teacher I have ever had… and I’ve had a few. For 2 years in Bulgaria I didn’t manage to learn as much Greek as I did in Rethymno. Prof. Panos Theodorou made me read a book which I am still thinking of. Dr. Vafeas gave me an assignment thanks to which now I know a lot more about the Bulgarian sport achievements. I use the possibility to thank them all!

About the place.

First of all I felt home since the very first moment there. Thank you ESN people for this! I come from Bulgaria and I study in Sofia University, Balkan studies. In Bulgaria I was used to live in a dormitory – small room, in Crete – I lived in a big apartment with balcony twice as big as my room in Sofia, with beach and palm trees right in front of the building.

In Rethymno I felt the very Greek spirit and hospitality everyone in the videos and movies is telling you about. We were singing and drinking in taverns almost every night and it was never ever boring. In Crete I was brave enough to hitchhike without any fear and I definitely don’t regret it.

Crete is the only place where I have seen more beautiful views than in my dreams.

There are at least 3 more things that I have never done before going there but I would like to keep them for myself. Go there and discover yours! 

sanya2

 

About the people.

Rethymno was the place where I managed to found a girl gang. It was the first time in my life when I was able to communicate with the same girls during more than one week not because I was obliged to but because I wanted to. This feeling, guys, I cannot explain. Other Erasmus people found “The one” there, who knows… So many different people, so many experience, so much fun… I strongly advise you to take this opportunity. These 5 months were the best time of my life.