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Erasmus in times of a pandemic: Laura and Lilla and their unique journey in the UK

Today, Corvinus International Blog would like to present two of our students and their fascinating story about the experiences they've had in the UK through the Erasmus+ program. Being abroad in such times is not easy at all, but Corvinus students are allways up for a challenge - so read about it first hand from Laura and Lilla!

Hi there, we are Laura and Lilla. We spent the semester at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. We hope this short story about our experience of studying abroad during a pandemic will be informative and enjoyable.

Before your journey in Nottingham began you had to quarantine. How did you cope with those 2 weeks of isolation?

The first day, when we arrived, started out pretty scary. We weren’t prepared for staying in a dorm room by ourselves for two weeks in a foreign country. Settling into our new home was challenging at first, since we could not do shopping for essentials, but luckily, we could rely on the help of the accommodation management, who supported us during the isolation. For instance, they went to the store for us, and brought up deliveries as well. In a few days we got used to it, and the rest of the quarantine went rather peacefully.

For the first two weeks, we obviously could not go to school in person, but the University held online classes, where we could get to know our professors.

It was good to have each other’s company, as we have been friends before, so that we could help each other through the tougher situations. Eventually, the quarantine seemed to have passed way quicker than we had expected.

Could you tell us a bit about your first week of “freedom” in the UK?

As soon as we got out of the isolation, we visited pretty much every single tourist attraction of Nottingham, as well as got to know the city itself and explore it. And we could finally eat out in a restaurant!

What was your biggest culture shock once you could explore a bit more?

There were quite a lot of small thing we had to get used to, such as the cars going on the wrong side of the street, or the weird taps in the bathroom, or the fire doors that always had to be kept closed. One of the biggest positive experiences was seeing how welcoming and kind everybody was, regardless of whether we were in a shop, restaurant or in the university management.

What did you miss from the university experience and what was great about Nottingham Trent?

We don’t feel like we saw the full picture, so we could not really make an overall judgement on the university. Most of our classes were held online but were generally satisfied with our teachers and courses. What we missed the most was community events, where we could have met local or international students. However, the university did everything very professionally to provide the best for its students.

Tell us a bit about the most interesting experiences you’ve had!

The best thing about the Erasmus program was by far the travelling. We visited lots of places in England. In the autumn break at Corvinus we went to a 5-day trip to London where we organized amazing programs. We also visited many castles, national parks, and cities, we had a trip planned for nearly every weekend. Unfortunately, the strict regulations in the UK limited our opportunities, as travelling was restricted, staying in hotels was not allowed, restaurants, shops, museums and basically all establishments had to be closed, so we missed a lot of interesting programs that would have been nice. We needed careful planning to see which areas were allowed to travel to. But looking back, we think we managed to bring out the maximum of our stay.

Sometimes the troubles made our trips the most memorable, for instance when we got caught in a huge icy storm on the White Cliffs of Dover, and then sat on the train on the way back soaking wet and covered in mud (laughing)

Did you manage to make new friends?

Even though we met a few people, most of the time we just hung out with each other, as we focused more on school and travelling, and COVID-19 didn’t allow much socializing either.

What would you say to anyone who wishes to do a semester abroad? Why is this opportunity something that shouldn’t be missed out on?

Don’t do it while a global pandemic! Haha, just kidding. Over the summer we had long discussions, whether it was worth going on Erasmus during this situation, however, we decided to step out of our comfort zone, and go on this adventure. Even though we had our ups and downs, it was definitely worth it.

So, anyone, who is interested in Erasmus or has a dream destination, we can only encourage you to do it. Being in a different culture, speaking a foreign language and adapting to such a new situation is absolutely beneficial in the long run. You will probably have amazing experiences and make unforgettable memories.

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  - Janice Maeditere


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