As you may read in THIS article, I decided to go on Erasmus mobility program to Heraklion in Crete (Greece). In this article I would like to explain my feelings about all this event so far and also to talk a bit about the question “Is Erasmus for me if I am an introvert person?”
Well, let’s start start with a little confession: I admit that a really big part of me is introverted. My perfect day should contain reading, writing, working on my stuff, learning some new things I am interested in, taking a walk in a forest and taking photos, and watching a film or a documentary in the evening. I am not really into people, I would sometimes say I am afraid of them. If there is someone in the shared kitchen in the students’ housing, I would wait, until he/she goes away, just to avoid meeting him/her and what’s more, having a small chat with him/her. I do not feel good in large groups. I feel uncomfortable when a friend of mine brings his friend to the pub whom I haven’t met before. I like it when there is nothing to be done and I can simply sit on my chair and read through the whole afternoon and don’t have to talk to anyone. I am pretty nervous when I have to present something to a larger group of people… atc.
On the other hand, I like the way I am. I like thinking about the world around me, about the issues I have, about the things I like. And you may be surprised but I have friends! 😀 Not many, but I love each and every one of them and I enjoy spending my time with them. They do not force me to do things I don’t like and I feel relaxed in their company, so usually I am the one in our group who makes the most jokes, and they like it and also make fun of myself, because they know I will not take it seriously. 🙂
So, now you may ask: “How does it come that a person like you went on Erasmus and still haven’t gone crazy?”
That is an accurate question. Well, it was hard for me to decide if to go or not to go. I asked some of my friends who already attended Erasmus and they all told me something like: “It was perfect, I saw a lot of new things, made a lot of friends, went to new places, partied hard atc. You sure have to go, you have to try it, it is a great opportunity for you!” Well… OK, I said, what doesn’t kill me makes me probably stronger (or totally psychicaly damaged), so after few terrible days of thinking about the mobility again and again I decided to say: “Yes, I will go.”
As the time was flowing towards the “leaving-for-Crete” day, sometimes I was looking forward to going and sometimes I wanted to cancel it. I coudn’t imagine myself among the other foreign people I do not know in the country I have never been to. But whenever I was this worried, I recalled the “wise words” one of my good friends once told me:
“Erasmus is all apon you. You can party every night, make tons of friends, travel every weekend and act like socializing is the main purpose of your stay. But you don’t have to. You can attend classes regullary, do your homeworks, do your own stuff, sometimes have a short chat with people in classes or canteen, explore the city on your own, take photos, and do everything you want just perfectly comfortably alone. You don’t have to attend any party, you don’t have to meet others if you don’t want to. You can change it anytime.”
That words “I don’t have to” are pretty good for me to hear, do you believe? 🙂 It means that I can decide, that I have an option, that noone forces me to anything. And this is perfectly what I like.
And I soon realized this is perfectly true on Erasmus: you can do everything you want or like and nobody tells you “you have to go to that party because everybody does”. Nope. The only TO-DOs are the one I have from school itself – some assignments, projects, labs, atc. – but I do not mind doing them, this is OK. 🙂 And if someone asks me if I want to join for lunch/dinner/beach/beer/coffe/whatever I always have a choice between saying “Yes, I would like to!” and “Thanks, but I already have some other plans for today.” and I know that they will be OK with my decision and will respect me. Maybe a day will come when I will go to a party with the others, drink some beer and have fun without worrying “Who are these people? I know them only from the classes, what should I talk with them about?” and so on. Maybe not, I will see, but I am sure I won’t be upset anyway 🙂
So, what was the hardest thing so far on my Erasmus? Well, honestly, leaving my beloved partner in my beloved city. It was not easy to say “We will meet here after 5 months”. However, my boyfriend also went on Erasmus, and he was happy for me that I have the same opportunity as he had few years ago. And, some days ago, he bought a plane ticket, so we will spend Christmas together here in Crete 🙂 So I can say that it is not so horrible as I imagined 😀
If you ask me if I would recommend Erasmus also to introverts, my answer would be: yes. You don’t have to go. Noone forces you, it is optional. However, if you like travellig a bit, there is a big chance you will like it your exchange mobility. You can travell alone, or with people you get to know after some time (and trust me, it is not easy for me to make friends whom I fully trust). You don’t have to go partying and socializing, only if you want to 🙂 There are always the lectures, homeworks, reading, films, and other activities you may do on your own 😉 However, even if staying alone on Erasmus, you will learn new things: basics of local language, taste new foods, see different plants, atc, and this is good, isn’t it? (I am speaking on my own experience.)
Well, this is the first month experience with Erasmus from little-introverted-me. Do you like it? Do you agree or disagree with some parts? What would you add? 🙂
Yours Jitt 🙂