Hi. I am Emilija, I am from Lithuania. Currently I am living and working in London. Today I would like to share my Erasmus story with everyone who has ever considered to take an opportunity in Erasmus+. 

Back in 2014, I had started my Erasmus+ journey to Italy. My best friend and I went there for 5-month long studies in Milan. We were super excited to leave our home for the first time and for such a long period too. We could experience independence, the taste of being on your own, which was enjoyable but a little scary at the beginning. The first step in our journey was “TO STEP OUTSIDE OF OUR COMFORT ZONE” – we had to fill in documents and prepare for our journey. This step was the hardest one because we did not know what was waiting for us there. 

Our adventures started when we arrived in Milan. We were attending Italian lectures without speaking or understanding the Italian language☺, we were joining many Erasmus Student Network events, travelling across Italy, learning Italian, enjoying culture and hospitality of amazing people who surrounded us. Living in international surroundings gave us priceless opportunities: growing and improving various skills and knowledge related to our study domain, culture, improving our English and Italian speaking skills, increasing self-confidence, tolerance towards other people and cultures, and many many more…

When our first Erasmus studies experience was done, we were very sad to leave Italy and the international life that we have created for ourselves. We were experiencing post-Erasmus depression for a month after coming back because we were missing people and lifestyle that we had back in Italy. We were very grateful for getting this opportunity to study abroad! 

Have you ever heard this phrase: “Once on an Erasmus – always an Erasmus!”? This is exactly how I was feeling 4 years ago and I am still feeling today. My best friend and I could not stop travelling and using other Erasmus+ opportunities that were open for us! Thus, in our 3rd year of university, we chose to go for Eramsus+ studies abroad again! This time I went to Belgium. Once again I had an unforgettable time and experience in Antwerp. I had amazing teachers, practices and very well organized study program for 5 months in Thomas More College. Moreover, this time I have travelled not just inside Belgium, but outside too: in Paris, Amsterdam, the Hague, Germany. 

After 10 months (in total) of Erasmus+ studies, my best friend and I were even more eager to continue discovering the world and collecting more great memories, adventures, experiences… Therefore, we decided to go to Aveiro (Portugal) for a 2-month Erasmus+ internship. We worked in an inclusive school with children with learning disabilities. We were lucky to have a very positive and experienced mentor who was teaching us a lot of practical things about our work in special education. Apart from a great internship experience, we were discovering Portuguese foods, traditions, music, language, amazing beaches and beautiful cities! I would like to mention that during all my Erasmus+ experiences I have been travelling a lot and I did not spend a lot of my own money, all scholarships are given by Erasmus+ were more than enough to live in another country (and I could travel around). 

When I graduated from university, I realized that I do not want to start working right after my graduation and start living “a calm work-life”. Back in Portugal, I have learned about another Erasmus+ opportunity – European Voluntary Service (EVS). Therefore, I have applied for a 10-month project in Turkey. I was teaching English, learning Turkish, horse riding, writing projects, organizing cultural workshops for students, volunteering at a kindergarten, traveling, exploring Turkish foods, music, culture… I made so many new friends in there for life! 

At the end of my EVS project I have started applying for teaching jobs in various schools in Turkey and other countries. I added much value to my CV during all Erasmus+ experiences that I have been participating in. Thus, I found a nice job here in London in Lithuanian kindergarten where I am working right now. 

When I started to work, I thought that I will not be able to attend any Erasmus+ opportunity soon. However, I found a weekend project that EuroPeers UK organized for motivated young people who had something to share about their Erasmus+ experiences. I was so glad to feel the Erasmus+ Spirit again in the EuroPeers UK project! I have learned how important it is to share our stories with others, because we can inspire, encourage young people to take action in their lives.

I am very grateful for Erasmus+ and all the opportunities that it gave me! Without Eramsus+ I would not be where I am today, and I would not become a person that I am today. Erasmus+ is a great treasure chest that is open to everyone, but not everyone is brave enough to take something from it. So, I would like to encourage YOU and each and every young person in the world to take the gifts that Erasmus+ is offering!

Thank You Erasmus+!