If you want to spice up your life, one method is to become a part of Erasmus life. For this, you should apply to Erasmus+ Exchange program. There are different opportunities created by Erasmus programs, and you can choose one of them. It gives you a chance to study in Europe for one or two (maximum) semester with scholarship. I was selected for Erasmus+ Credit Mobility when I was in my second year at Khazar University. Within the program I got a chance to study in Slovenia, at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics for one semester. I think if you read it, it means you are really interested in studying abroad. So I want to share some of my experiences with you.
How can I apply? As every procedure, you must submit your documents before deadline, about it you can ask for your University’s International Affairs Office. They will give you guidance about the application procedure, required documents, deadlines, etc.
What requirements are needed for being selected? You need a good and required GPA and a document indicating your English language level (you can obtain it from University’s English Language department). For Erasmus program, you need to have GPA of at least 85 and English language level of at least B2. It rises your selection probability. Once you fill and submit your application, only thing you have to do is to wait.
What documents are needed to obtain a visa? As you know, for studying abroad you need a visa. For Slovenia, you have to go to Slovenian embassy, which is located in Ankara, Turkey. Required documents are shown on the web-site of embassy. Do not forget you need D type visa.
How do I choose the subjects to take there if I get accepted? Let’s say you get accepted; you will be sent a list of the subjects available for upcoming semester. Your Dean’s office will help you to choose your subjects and to prepare a learning agreement. I would strongly recommend you to choose one or two additional subjects because, in Slovenia their schedule system is a little bit different, so your lectures can overlap. Do not worry, everything can be solved, so lean back and enjoy your success.
Do I immediately receive my stipend once I arrive there? This is one of the popular questions that everyone seeks the answer of. It might take approximately 8-12 days to get the stipend, because you should get a tax number and open a bank account. Once it’s done, you can receive the scholarship easily. Therefore, I recommend you to take some money with you when you depart for Slovenia to cover your costs for the first couple of weeks there.
Is the given stipend enough for covering the living costs there? Actually, the scholarship of Erasmus+ Credit Mobility program is enough for living in Slovenia, but I have to mention that it depends on individual. Generally, this program gives you a fixed amount of scholarship and all any extraordinary costs are up to you. If you are good at managing your budget, you don’t need any other fund. For me, most of my budget was spent on food shopping. However, if you want, you can activate your Boni card (it is created for students who do not want to cook) and use it for getting cheap meal from selected restaurants. Doing this way you can save money.
Some more about the costs:
- You can choose Hofer or Lidl for shopping instead of Mercator or Spar as they are more budget-friendly.
- If you prefer beef to pork you can go to Turkish shops. In Slovenia, I always used to buy beef from Atlas Market.
- I would recommend you to go to bazaars to buy organic and cheaper fruits and vegetables, rather than buying them from supermarkets. The bazaars are usually set up on the square, but after paying for something, check your remaining money.
- You can buy clothes from many shops, you can go to ZARA, Mango, Benetton and other well-known brands in the city center. But I would recommend you to go to the BTC city, everything is available there.
- If you are going to use transport frequently, buy Urbana card. Slovenia does not have metro. Urbana card has two versions:
- Ordinary- it costs approximately 4 euro, but then you should pay continuously. One fare is 1.20 euro and during the 90 minutes you do not need to pay fare if you change your bus.
- Monthly- it costs 22-24 euro (2-4 euro is for card) and you do not need to top up your balance during a month. Month-by-month you will pay just 20 euro. With this Urbana card you can use bicycles as well. They have a lot of bicycle stations around the city. Most students, even adults use bicycle as a transport.
Can I stay in the University’s dormitory? Yes, of course. After acceptance of the university, dormitory office of university will keep in touch with you as soon as possible before your arrival. They will send you dormitory types, costs, what includes to these costs, what you should do, which documents you need, etc. From my experience, we give 300 euro deposit to dormitory, so if something occurs unexpectedly, they will charge from this money. After your mobility ends, you can take this money.
Is it hard to study there? To me, no. But unlike our country, there are a lot of student activities there, so student life is a bit different. This leads to procrastination and you sometimes start studying just before the exam, which makes it hard.
Is it worth going there? Certainly! Not only from educational perspective, but also from the perspective of personal development, it is a useful and an amazing experience. You live apart from your family there and have to take full responsibility of yourselves. Moreover, you will take part in parties and trips organized for exchange students, you will have a chance not only to travel to touristic places of the country but also neighborhood, you will make friends with students from all over the world, and you’ll practice your English a lot there.
Will I continue receiving stipend when I am back in Azerbaijan? – You will receive a stipend as long as you are in Slovenia. However, you won’t receive a stipend for the next semester when you are back.
You will be contacted by the volunteers responsible for exchange student orientation who will assist introducing you to the university. University of Ljubljana does it, though I am not sure whether all universities do it.
After your arrival you can take a taxi from the airport. I would recommend you to take a Shuttle or GoOpti taxis because they are cheaper than others. Do not worry, you will see them around the airport.
What are my advices to students apart from studying? TRAVEL. If you have a chance, travel all over the Europe. I did it and will never regret.
I hope that I managed to cover all frequent questions and this post will be useful for students who are interested in the program. Good luck!