When I left for Poland, I had a whole different idea on my Erasmus experience, than it turned out to be. This is because of the obvious reason of course. Classes turned out to be online, and for me it meant less contact with other students, sadly a lot of headaches because of staring at my screen, and so many distractions. The activities of the ESN departments in Warsaw are, I think, different as well, there are some digital activities and some are in real-life outside, but before you can join, you have to fill in a form stating that you do not have COVID-symptoms. Now, I hear you ask, is it still worth to go on an Erasmus in the coming semester? Yes, I think so it has some disadvantages, but in 50 years you have an amazing story to tell your grandchildren.
Contacts with classmates
One of the biggest disadvantages of digital Erasmus is that you do not meet your classmates in real-life. I see now only names on my screen and sometimes I can see my classmates during lectures where I must turn on my webcam (I mostly have it off, because of an older laptop and not the best connection to the internet in my room). During my school life, I met most people in class or afterwards and have conversations on the class themes and other stuff. I think, I only know one person who is taking a class with me. I think that I met the most people now at parties, but mostly I saw them once or twice. I met my classmate in person during a walk. I think I got most of my friends from walking, I am not a party animal, so that does not surprise me. A good tip for you when you are about to start
your Erasmus or almost at the end and want to meet some other people, just ask in one the group chats if there are people interested in a walk, mostly there are some people who want to join you.
I already mentioned distractions to you, I think I am not the only one who has that problem. It can happen during class or when you are supposed to do your homework. I had one class that was a way too boring to keep your attention to it. I played from the first lecture games on my phone and disturbed other people on WhatsApp. There was zero interaction during the lecture, and it took like 2.5 hours before it was over, okay there was a break. Please, professor, try to make these classes more interactive with small questions to keep the focus of your students. I learned from this class, that it is a good idea to keep your attention to the class, it would have made my life so much easier when I had to write my essay. Please do not be as stupid as me. Not only during class I distract myself, but also during homework. I always want to check my social media or play games. Or I am just simply procrastinating.
I think I can say my daily life is a little boring. The biggest part of the day is taking a class or working on my school assignments. I am too lazy to go to the library. Once a week, I play badminton with some people, exercising is still important and afterwards, we are just talking on our daily life. I also go for a walk on a daily base, to clear my head and a little relaxing exercise. I sometimes ask people to join me and then we go to a park where we do not have to wear a mask and can talk freely. I even had a picnic with a group of friends in December in the Łazienki park in Warsaw, it was fun and in the end it was a little cold.
A good idea is to join ESN activities as well because you meet new people or can go there with your friends. During these activities I did some new things, I had my first electric scooter drive, it scared me out bikes and cars are less scary. I also did Nordic walking, and that was fun. I even had a digital graduation ceremony from an extracurricular course. It was nice that it was organised digital for the students that were abroad. It made also miss the environment at school with such graduation. Hopefully can I
have my next ceremony in real life because that is the best thing.
To be honest I have not done that much travelling. I only went to Gdańsk in September and that is all. I tried to make plans for new travels, but they did not happen, because of the strict measures, hotels and museums are closed, so the groups of people I was planning to go with decided not to go. I think
I could have done some more travelling inside Poland. I think that let me stop me by the CORONA measures. When you go next semester please do not let you stop by the measures. I think I will catch up travelling later on.
The pandemic made my Erasmus different than I expected when I applied a year ago and when I arrived in Poland. I was especially hoping for more travels, but it did not happen and maybe the biggest cause of that was me. I do have some plans for the future, like visiting my friend who will go on Erasmus to Sweden. I did tell you that these digital classes are not that nice, but at our home universities, we will have them too, so that would not make any difference. I would say, even things are way more different than expected, just come to Poland, and enjoy your time here. It will take a
little more effort to make things awesome, but it will be cool. Or like we in the Netherlands say: ‘’Het leven is een feest, maar je moet wel zelf de slingers ophangen’’, is means roughly “life is a party, but you have to put up the decorations by yourself”