Hello! My name is Eleonora, I am an Italian young woman aged 26. I got a Bachelor Degree in Political Sciences and now I am almost done with the Master in International Relations.
Where did you do your Erasmus?
I did my Erasmus Traineeship in Ciudad Real, Spain with Mille Cunti.
What steps did you take in order to get a grant?
In order to get the scholarship, I applied for the program Erasmus Traineeship as a student at the University of Cagliari, in Sardinia. Erasmus Traineeship gives almost 100 students the chance to intern for 2-6 months in Europe. But only 3 months could be financed in my case. Anyway, once I knew I was selected, I started to look for the host organization.
This was the hardest part I can say. For me it was not that hard because I was flexible about the kind of activities I would have like to do during my traineeship, but for example I was not planning to go to Spain… Once I found Mille Cunti, I had to make them fill the acceptance letter with which they said they accepted to host me for an internship. I uploaded all the documents required from my Uni and waited for the final results. Once I got selected, I had to prepare some papers before leaving: the learning agreement (between the Uni, the student and the host organization), sign the contract and give my bank account details in order to get the scholarship. Once every paper was filled, I could finally start packing my bag and getting ready for what was in the end an unforgettable experience…
What kind of problems are Erasmus interns facing?
Before leaving, I think that the problem most of the students face, is looking for the host organization. Sometimes University helps, giving contacts of companies where previous students interned, but sometimes it does not. So, I think it is a good thing to have contacts already or to know how and where to look for it.
Once the intern starts, students can find hard to adapt in the new environment, especially if they chose a country completely different from theirs. But it is all part of the experience. It can take some time… It is important to be and stay open…
Why did you decide to go on Erasmus intern?
I remember that during my Bachelor, although I could apply for an Erasmus stay, I did not because I thought I could lose time and I wanted to graduate without any delay. Then, once I started the Master, I realised that I had many skills but I did not know how to use them in practice so I needed to challenge myself somehow before graduating and entering the labour market. That’s why I decided to apply for the Erasmus Traineeship and now, after 2 years I think I could not have done a better choice!!!
Which city have you chosen? How did you decide to go to CR?
As said above, I was not planning to go to Spain so today I like saying that Ciudad Real and especially Mille Cunti chose me. Before my arrival to the city, I knew a little information about Castilla La Mancha, because I had studied Spanish language and literature at the high school… I was happy to live in a small city that was at the same time close to the capital, Madrid.
What did your Internship exchange bring you?
My experience with Mille Cunti brought me lots of beautiful things… It enriched me both from a professional and especially from a personal point of view. Thanks to the internship with Mille Cunti I had the chance to do things I would have never done otherwise… It brought me self-confidence, courage, power, experience and beautiful people I felt home with…
Did your expectations meet the reality there?
Reality went far beyond my expectations! Seriously!
What about the culture of the country you stayed in? Difference and adaptation process?
Coming from Italy, staying in Ciudad Real was like going to another city in the same country. I mean that culturally talking, we are really similar so I did not pass through the adaptation process.
Can you tell us something very interesting about your experience?
I can tell you something that it is still today interesting to myself. I will never forget how I felt the first day I was told I would have been volunteering at the hospital. I was not ready for that and I think I did not even want to get ready for that since until that day I had always avoided hospitals. But, what could I do? I smiled at Miriana and said “vale”, but of course she could notice how unready I was. I was then surprised by myself when, day after day, I was more and more confident opening the door of the hospital ward and carrying out activities and workshops with my colleagues that, I did not realise when, almost at the end of my stay, I was able to lead the activities and eventually guide new volunteers. It was for me a big step ahead and it changed me a lot.
Do you have any unforgettable challenging memories that changed you or your life somehow? or have strong impact on you?
What I just said above it changed me somehow in the way I approach things I do not know and in the way I push myself to do things I would have never done otherwise because I was stuck in the idea I had of them in my mind.
What change in your life after this experience? Characteristically I mean
I became much more self-confident and braver.
What about the people you met there?
Starting from Miriana and Raul, the person I shared the flat with, the colleagues and all the people I met during all the activities, I can just be thankful for meeting them. Each one taught me something and I am so grateful for that!
What is important know about CR before starting your Erasmus intern experience?
The only thing that may be important to know it is that Ciudad Real is a small city but everyday there is something to do.
What do you think about the weather?
The experience was that good that in the end I did not really care about the fact it rained 50/70 days I was there ahahahah I have never bought so many umbrellas as during my stay in Ciudad Real 😀
What about the food?
I usually cooked at home so I could buy whatever I liked. When we went out, the only challenge was to find dishes without pork but I could manage it in the end eheheh Food in general is delicious!
Do you think that knowledge of local language is necessary?
I frankly think that knowing Spanish is better. It helped me a lot especially when relating to locals.
What could be improved while doing an Erasmus intern abroad?
One of the things I really appreciated about Mille Cunti was the weekly evaluation. This should be done in every organisation! It really helped me a not in analysing the just passed work week, focusing on good things and things to be improved (especially in me) and I am sure it also helped Miriana and Raul in understanding the volunteers’ feedbacks and eventually their needs.
What is the most important thing you have learned during your erasmus intern period?
In one word? EMPATHY
How about budget was it enough to live?
The budget of my scholarship was enough for me not only for living but even for exploring Spain during my stay. It was 600€ per month.
What advice would you give to any future students?
Anything we do not know scares us but life starts at the end of our comfort zone! Give yourself a chance and get involved!
Do you recommend Erasmus to other people?
I absolutely do recommend Erasmus to everyone!!!
Written by Nahibe Acar to Eleonora Cambedda