As a person who loves traveling, changes and learning new languages, studying abroad has always been my dream since a very young age.
My first year in college was in Turkey, where I learned Turkish, became fluent in it and finished one year of studying journalism at a Turkish university.
My second year I have spent it in Lyon after taking one year to learn French in Montpellier. I decided to go for my third year abroad and that is by applying for an Erasmus Exchange program from my university Lyon II to another uni outside of France.
In my Erasmus file that I have prepared after the abroad meeting, I chose 5 universities to go to (2 in Belgium, 1 in Ireland, 1 in Slovakia and 1 in Poland) I made these choices based on my personal preferences and I got accepted in Belgium to continue my studies at Ghent University.
The Erasmus meeting helped me a lot to sort out my university preferences, my CV, a motivation letter, English tests, and other helpful necessary documents to apply for an Erasmus Exchange Program.
Here is a small guide I’ve made that will help you in your application for the Erasmus Exchange Program: (As I know that the steps could be very complicated)
After sending my file, I waited for my university’s acceptance email then for the host university’s email on how to enroll and what papers I should be sending in order to receive my final acceptance letter from them.
The administration at the university abroad (UGent) was very responsive to all of the questions and queries and I was able to successfully enroll at UGent before moving to the next step, the financial scholarships application.
The good thing about the Erasmus exchange program is that it doesn’t only allow the student to go and study abroad but also provides a specific monthly amount of money that varies depending on the chosen destination. My university Lyon II provided me with all the required documents to send and they took care of our applications after we had sent out the papers for the scholarships.
There are four different scholarships an exchange student could apply for (CROUS, Erasmus, BRMI, and AMI) they all offer full coverage for the student’s expenses based on the prices at the abroad city and country. The ability of the student to apply for these scholarships differ from one host country and university to another and the student’s situation and academic year.
After I finished all of my applications, received my two acceptance letters from both universities and found an accommodation in Ghent I was thrilled to find out more about the city, the students life and what the university offers in Ghent. And that was when I discovered the ESN Ghent (The Erasmus Student Network) and joined a Whatsapp group for all of the incoming students in 2019-2020.
This group with 250 participants helped me a lot to get to know more about Ghent and about what the university offers from Dutch courses to Sauna classes (Amazing, right?) I also (virtually) met many people and decided to meet up when we all arrive in Ghent.
The ESN is offered in almost every city, there is an ESN in Lyon but too bad I wasn’t aware of it during my one year stay there… They also offer an ESN buddy system that will help you to find a local friend who will guide and help you throughout your one year/semester abroad.
In conclusion, I’m very excited and grateful to be going on a year abroad and to be able to learn a new language, meet new people and to live abroad and different experience in Ghent.
And if you’re planning to go abroad, I’d recommend you to go for one year because going for a semester probably won’t give you the experience that you’re looking for. Also, try to talk to the prof who’s in charge of the international relations at your faculty and get their advice on which university to choose according to your field of study and language preference. My professor at Lyon II encouraged me a lot to choose UGent and I’m very grateful for her advice and instructions.
So to all the students who are coming to France, leaving for an exchange program from France or continuing their studies in France, I hope you all a beautiful academic year full of new adventures and to be continued with part two of my Exchange application blog from Ghent!