By Khadija Haider
Do you want to experience the most enthralling moment in your life? Do you wish to make friends from across the globe? Have you always dreamt of having a multicultural exposure? Above all, do you dream of studying in a university that is recognized globally?
If your response to the above questions is in affirmative, then, undoubtedly, Erasmus exchange student scholarship is the right choice for you. You should expect an experience of a lifetime, and that may even get better if you’re accompanied by close university friends.
Istanbul, a land on two continents, is where an Erasmus exchange student is going to live for a semester. I was quite unsure about my prospects of making through Erasmus exchange scholarship. Despite the fears of getting rejected I did apply for the scholarship and fortunately made my way into Sabanci University, a famous academic institution of Turkey. For a moment, I could not believe my fate and felt as if I was Alice in my wonderland.
As soon as I landed Istanbul Airport, I could sense the Turkish brotherly love and the warmth. I still feel indebted to Rumi forum for their remarkable hospitality, welcoming dinner, memorable gifts and, above all, historic visit to Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s tomb.
I was in Turkey, clueless on Turkish language, devoid of taste buds for the Turkish food, absence of mobile network, and overly excited yet blank mind. In just few encounters I realized that Turks are a very welcoming nation. Their hospitality for the guests was overwhelming. Soon I began to admire Turkish cuisine and my taste buds feel in love with Künefe, Iskender, Doner Kebab, Gözleme, Lahmacun and Turkish Köfte.
I was really impressed by the quality of education of Sabanci Univeristy. It can easily be compared to other high ranking universities in American and European universities. Teachers were extremely polite towards foreign students who faced language barrier.
Well, let us now discuss some of the perks of an Erasmus student. To tell the truth, it is similar to a paid holiday where you don’t have to worry about the expenses. It seems every day is Sunday, and there is unlimited party without any apprehensions. It provides a once in a lifetime opportunity of networking with fellow students from around the world such as Chinese, Americans, Palestinians and Indians; Potluck dinners, birthday parties, national days celebrations, cultural debates, group tours were some of the countless festivities that are highlights of my exchange trip.
An Erasmus scholarship is a lifetime honour in itself. During the exchange program Istanbul information session, visit to its historical places and chartered ferry trip over Bosphorus Sea were few the most memorable moments of my trip.
In addition to the perks mentioned above, Erasmus exchange program is a vital source of personal and professional improvement. An individual’s personality develops drastically when one is forced to live alone, far from the home; a person attains flexibility by variety of dealings that one has to encounter such as new room, different type of education system, new city with entirely different metro network. It also makes one more independent as one has to manage cooking, grocery shopping, maintaining the budget and other household chores. Above all, it makes one tolerant to the cultural shocks.
I learned a lot from this exchange program. This experience not only made me much more mature as an individual but gave me many memorable moments to cherish. I would recommend every student to at least apply for exchange programs and ignore the risks of being rejected.