blog2A picture I took from Buda Castle ft. The Danube and the Hungarian Parliament

Disclaimer: I know how to spell Budapest…

To begin on my reflection of my third year in the University of Limerick, I’ll go back to the beginning.

My third year in college began with a semester abroad in Budapest as part of the Erasmus program. Looking back on Erasmus almost two months later I realise how much it benefited me. Despite the disappointment of failed expectations, I generally look back on the whole experience fondly.

I’m glad Erasmus was a mandatory part of my New Media & English course because I don’t know if I would have gone for it otherwise. Living in a country where a vast majority of the people I came into contact with had little to no English meant I paid more attention to the other ways I communicate. It’s funny how a mixture of hand gestures and facial expressions can say so much. It was frustrating at times and especially at the beginning when I was unfamiliar with my surroundings but it created a lot of funny situations.

The relaxed atmosphere made college more enjoyable. I had few hours each week, so I was never under a lot of stress when it came to my workload. I took a Communicating Across Cultures seminar that was full of other Erasmus students. I learnt in more depth about cultural differences and how the way we communicate means different things in other cultures. It was interesting to talk to others about Ireland and the differences between our cultures.

The class mirrored the changes I was experiencing whilst living in Hungary and helped me to understand them. I had never heard of the term acculturation before, but I learnt it refers to the stages you go through when you move to a new country or enter into a new culture. I think I remained in the tourist phase of excitement for most of my stay because there was so much to see but I definitely entered into the culture shock phase more than a few times.

bloggErasmus was a multitude of things but overall a positive experience. I think it’s important to note that it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be and every day wasn’t a good one, but I look back now and see how much I gained from it. It would be hard to put into one blog post everything that Erasmus was.

I think whether the experience was a good or a bad one for you that you can take something from it, even if that something is that you never want to do anything like it ever again. Being able to travel to countries such as Slovakia, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic is something I don’t think I could have achieved at this point in my life without Erasmus.  I feel an attachment to Hungary and I definitely want to visit again soon.

(All images are my own)