Erasmus, 30 years of success

Article by
Thomas Chirossel

The Erasmus program is one of the things created by the European Union that students adore. Erasmus has largely contributed to the construction of the European university system (Bachelor-Master-Doctorate), which has been implemented since the Bologna Agreement in 1999. The aim was also to counterbalance existing spontaneous mobilities which, without organization, led to a brain drain in Europe.

In this article I will focus on Erasmus people in Pori, Finland in the autumn 2017 and see how they feel about this experience and how it could help them in the future.

Erasmus and employment

Since its creation in 1987, the Erasmus program has aimed at attracting 10% of the students in Europe. However, they didn’t expect to see this number increased by a 25%.

Erasmus is well-known for its capacity to employ people who have used this program. It’s also a huge asset to those who have experienced that because they can have a better adaptation capacity in the professional world, especially if they would like to work abroad.

According to National Statistic Institute, the Erasmus program increases the employment of the  students, decreasing the unemployment risk in the European Union by 2,5.

Erasmus, a kind duck in a controversial program?

Since the Brexit, an increasing number nationalists think that the European Union is not strong enough to support all our countries and that it’s ruining the economies.

In fact, all European treaties are based on Liberalism which means that everyone can compete against the others (economically). Every contractor wants to be the cheapest on the market and tries to reduce the production costs. For that, there is a big solution: relocation. This process causes unemployment in some countries.

This example is one of the reasons why some people want their countries to get out of the European Union. However, the European Union brings with it also a lot of good things, such free mobility, a stable currency and different kinds of programs, Erasmus as an example.

In fact, without the European Union, these types of programs wouldn’t have been created. Today, more than 5 million people have been lucky enough to study abroad and discover different cultures thanks to this program.

Let’s see how exchange students in SAMK have experienced their adventure in Pori.

Interviews of exchange students

A couple of these lucky people studying on the Erasmus program in SAMK, Pori were willing to answer some questions about the Erasmus program and their time spent in Finland in autumn 2017.

Elsa Cuirassier, a 19-year-old student in SAMK Business
Tours FRANCE

Erasmus program is a huge opportunity to secure a job after our studies because it allows us to increase our professional network and to be more open-minded than other people. Moreover, improving one’s skills in another language contributes to opening ourselves to the world and that is what recruiters love.

We’re lucky to be in Europe and to get the opportunity to leave our home country so easily and spend a year in another one. For example, the funds we can get from the state are very useful compared those received by students not coming from a European country. Besides, partnerships created between universities are various and well-founded.

Why did you choose Finland?

In fact I didn’t have the choice (laughs) because there was only this country where English was well-spoken. The other option would have been Spain, but I wanted to improve my English. However, I don’t regret at all because I wouldn’t be here without the Erasmus program.

What do you think about your life here in Pori and in SAMK?

First of all, it was very easy to get settled because the International office managed well this thing and took care of the accommodation and administration. Besides, the tutors were so nice with us and helped us when needed, so that was awesome. Here in Pori, the university is crazy, because everything is new and we have a lot of materials and facilities such as screens in rooms, a gym, a canteen, and so on. However, I don’t like the courses here in Finland, because they are not interesting and I have a feeling that I am not learning anything.  But the relationships with teachers are very nice compared with France.

Some people are scared of leaving their home and going to another country like  you have done. What would you say to them?

Get away from your comfort zone because yes, we might be scared but the best things will happen in the future and we have to dare knowing how good it could be.

What will you miss from this adventure?

Kindness of the Finnish people, they are helpful and respectful. I will miss the landscape because it’s a very nice part of Europe. But the thing I’ll miss the most is friends I’ve meet here.

Now, let’s have a different point of view and tips about this life. Wu Zemin, a student from China will give us his remarks about it.

Wu Zemin a 21-year-old student in SAMK Business
Hong-Kong CHINA

As for me, I didn’t come here with the Erasmus program, because I’m not  European. However, my home university has a partnership with this university (SAMK), and this is another program between our two schools. When I saw this, I applied for it so that’s why I’m here. However, compared to you we don’t have funds from the state, we have to handle it on our own.

Was Finland  your only choice?

Of course not, we have got several choices and it was up to me, I chose what I wanted. I chose Finland because there were big countries, famous countries which are quite the same as my home country so I wanted to discover something else. Finland, in my opinion, is totally different from other countries so I wanted to experience a different lifestyle.

What were your main difficulties here in Finland?

The weather is really different but for me it wasn’t a difficulty. Yes, the winter is cold but not as much as I expected, maybe because we are not too deep in the winter so I can manage it, but I wish luck to the people who’ll stay for a year (laughs). The language isn’t a barrier  to me because everybody speaks English. Maybe the worst thing is the night. We only see the sun for 4-5 hours, that’s crazy. This is a new way of life.

Some people are scared of leaving their home and going to another country like you have done. What would you say to them?

I think it is important for everyone, that if you want to learn another language, master it better, you should go abroad. If you are afraid, it proves that you need to practice. You can enjoy your life only discovering new things, otherwise it’s just routine.  For me, going abroad has been the best experience I’ve ever had.

What will you miss from this adventure?

I think I experienced everything I wanted but I will miss the friends I met here. Everybody was so nice with me, they are all my brothers now.

To finish the interviews, Alejandra Moya, a nursing student from Spain answered some questions.

Alejandra Moya a 20-year-old student in SAMK Nursing
Malaga SPAIN

The Erasmus program is a very good experience to meet people from every part of the world and try to survive alone without your parents and  without help, on your own.

Do you thing it will bring something to you in the future?

Open-mindedness,  the improved language skills and the ability to see how people work in different countries. It gives us a global idea of  the different markets in the world, so that you can adapt easier to other cultures.

Besides, it’s very easy to travel with the Erasmus program because the state gives us funds. I have a general grant, just like everyone from the Erasmus program, and then my district, Andalousia, gives us an additional payment.

What do you thing about Finland and SAMK, your university here?

I think people here are respectful and treat exchange students really well, they take care of you, they help you withi everything especially in the beginning.

What were your main difficulties here in Finland?

There were difficulties in the hospital when I was doing my placement because of the language barrier with patients. Everyone speaks Finnish and I couldn’t understand anybody else except for my tutoring nurse. Luckily, as said before, to facilitate the situation, the teachers and tutors were very involved with us.

Some people are scared of leaving their home and going to another country like you have done. What would you say to them?

To go abroad,  you need to know yourself and know that you can survive alone without your parents, your friends, your home but if you think you’re able to do that, it’s the best experience you could ever have.”

What will you miss from this adventure?

Of course the people I met here and the way of living which is totally different from what I am used to. But we are adults now, we have to live on our own, it’s really useful.

 

 

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