We are Carla and Silvia Costa, two sisters from Italy, to be exact from the city Agrigenta.
We came to Zadar for an internship at the department of Italian studies. The end of our experience is drawing closer and we can only speak in superlatives about it.
Thanks to the teachers, students and staff, we feel like we are at home at the university. The teachers we are working with are cheerful and friendly every day and that is very important! The premises of the university are really comfortable, tidy, clean and warm. The view from the building of the university window is a special one: onto the sea, which looks breathtaking and different every day. We have to admit that the location of the university, next to the sea and in the centre of the city, is unique and invaluable.
Everything that could be of interest is situated near the university and the city is beautiful. These days in particular one can feel the Christmas atmosphere: decorations, fairs, music and much more... Here in Zadar everything is wonderful!
In other words, Slivia and I would repeat this experience a 100 times!
Carla and Silvia Costa, Erasmus+ interns at Department of Italian Studies 2016/2017, Croatia
I'm studying Croatian philology in Wrocław and from the very beginning I knew that my Erasmus destination will be Croatia.
Erasmus programme has given me a lot of new experiences, opportunities to meet new friends from all over the world and to get to know more about tradition and customs of other cultures. I've got a chance to experience new and different situations. In my opinion, Erasmus can be the greatest experience. When I chose Zadar, I didn't expect anything. Zadar is a beautiful small city with a soul. Now after 3 weeks being here, I'm glad that I've chosen it as my exchange destination. It can surprise me anytime.
Wioletta Turek, University of Wroclaw, Poland
Several groups of students have made short videos about their experiences at the University of Zadar during the academic year 2015/16. The students who participated in the videos participated in various programmes and had unique and different perspectives, and all the videos were entered in the Erasmus+ best video contest.
The videos of students who were at the University of Zadar as part of their studies are available here:
1. Filip Lebiedzinski University of Szczecin, Poland
2. Klaudia Sikorska University of Warsaw, Poland
3. Lucie Holoušková University of Ostrava, Chech Republic
The video made by trainees Agnese Cipriano and Jessica Gangemi (University of Messina, Italy) is available here.
Donata Telišauskaitė, Social Policy, Lithuania
Am I the right person for Erasmus? Do you want to study abroad? Sounds scary? Keep reading.
I was in the same situation half a year ago. I was thinking that I really want to be in touch with another culture, but it was a bit scary for me. I had no idea what I should expect. I was a bit nervous, because before my Erasmus I had spent almost 4 months in USA. I thought that 5 more months would be too much for me. But I can honestly say that I wasn’t right. I am really happy that I had an opportunity to spend a few months in an amazing place called Croatia – the land of paradise. What is the best thing about Croatia? I lived in Zadar, Dalmatia region (Actually, I still live here, my Erasmus is not over). It is the region where the sun shines every day and you can see the best sunset in the world (see the first picture)! I thought that here is no winter, just summer. Really. You can swim in the sea in the end of October. You can pick tangerines from the trees and eat them. And do other amazing things! You can upload beautiful pictures of you and your friends travelling around the world on social networks every day, and make your friends jealous (kidding, actually it is only a promotion of Erasmus). Also I knew that I can improve my English skills and I can learn new language (Croatian) which would be really useful for my future. So I decided to go to Zadar!
OK, I made the first step, was accepted and...I was still not sure if I would go. Of course there are always some downsides. You probably do not want to travel alone. But the most important thing that keeps you where you are is just one word...home. Everybody has people around who are important enough that it makes you not want to leave them... However, you should think about your future in these times when young, educated people have a hard time finding a job. You have to make the most of your time at university and try to take advantage of all opportunities offered, including Erasmus. To gain new knowledge, improve your language skills, meet new people, have new experiences, visit beautiful places and to be a better, mature, self-sustained person after you get back home. Just to stand out from the crowd! Everybody who really cares for you will encourage you.
So what happened next? I came to Zadar. I met really nice people, I have fallen in love with everything. I love the climate, the nature, the sea, and the sunset. Everything was really cool. I have no words to describe how amazing everything is here. The studies are not so easy. Everybody thinks that Erasmus people just party, but do not study. I say that is a stereotype. I studied really hard; actually I have never studied harder. I really liked the system, because the professors give you assigned reading and you have to read it. Afterwards you discuss it, you ask some questions. Also you can compare your country with the country where you are studying now. But I think the most important thing are your friends here. I can say that I became really good friends with a couple of Croatian girls. They showed me the best side of Croatian culture and I am really happy that I had them here. I believe we will be in touch and we will meet up somewhere in the middle of the world.
Well, I can say, if you are still thinking to go on Erasmus or not - do not think, just go! It is the best experience of your life and you will never forget it. Enjoy your student life – you will not regret it.
Giedrė Burbaitė, Trainee, Lithuania
The internship in the International Relations Office at the University of Zadar was my last opportunity to go on Erasmus. However, it was not the first. After my Erasmus experiences in Norway (2011) and Finland (2014), I wanted to try something different – the Mediterranean coast. Croatia was definitely the best choice. Since I come from Lithuania, the weather here (even during the winter semester) was very pleasant. Palm trees, sand, sea, tourists – it was more like a holiday than work. Even in November we still had temperatures of +20 degrees. It was amazing. Also, the prices in Croatia are not too high – it depends on which country you compare it with. Of course, if you are from Lithuania or Poland then the prices will be a bit higher than they normally are in your own country. But for people from countries like Italy, Spain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Belgium(etc), it is very cheap. It makes Erasmus even greater as you can travel more, go out and just enjoy your exchange apart from your studies/ internship.
Working in the International Relations Office was pretty interesting, especially at the beginning of the semester, when I met new exchange students every day. The colleagues in the office were always nice and supportive with any kind of tasks or personal issues. The internship in the office was a really great and different (compared with Erasmus studies) experience. I realized that I would really like to work in a place like this the future. And who knows, maybe this internship will give me some credit in getting that kind of job in my own country or even somewhere abroad.
Erasmus programme totally changed my life. I saw different cultures, traditions, travelled, met great people, made lifelong friends. I think it's the best opportunity that a student can get while studying at University. I would like to recommend to all the students to not be afraid and just try this new life experience. Believe me, you will not regret it!
Claudia Bombardo, Trainee, Spain
I think I made a really good decision. It was an opportunity to escape from my country and my routine. Escaping from ones comfort zone is always a little difficult to do, but every change starts by changing your behaviour: the effort you make to adapt to a new place, to know different ways of doing things and meet new people. If I had to give and advice to those people who are hesitating about doing an internship, I would tell them to not be shy and just try it. You won’t lose anything, otherwise you will win the opportunity to know and learn more about new things, which make one to grow up. Going to another country makes you be more flexible and nowadays to have this skill is very important.
Companies also look at personal skills and how you manage in several daily challenges.
Why I choose to make an internship especially in Croatia?
When I finished the university, I wanted to apply for an international job. One colleague from University told me that the university had published in the "job offers" and advertising about internship in Croatia for 3 months. Due to my previous Erasmus in Zagreb, which I had a great time and I have nice memories, I was really interested to come again to Croatia. Through this experience in Zagreb, I experienced Croatian culture and the Croatian way of life and I wanted to experience it more and get to know the country better. So, I applied and got the internship and thanks to the scholarship, which I got from Erasmus+, it helped me to live this wonderful experience, which I consider very enriching for my future.
The International Relations Office was very nice to me, anything I needed they helped me and were always trying to make me to understand every task which I was working on.
Zadar is a nice city: calm, relax, wonderful sunsets and people have an easygoing personality. One particular thing which I perceived and was funny is the way of Dalmatian people do and live… let me define with one Croatian word: POMALO!
Jana Vytásková, Psychology, Czech Republic
My Erasmus in Zadar has changed my view on Croatia and its culture completely. I had an opportunity to find out that Croatia is a beautiful country that has gorgeous national parks that are worth visiting even in winter, amazing cities along the coast with historical old-city centre and unforgettable sunsets. Moreover in all these places you can find good-hearted people.
After my arrival, ESN Zadar was a huge help in meeting new friends and exploring the city. Their programme prepared for Erasmus students was awesome and because of them I could soon feel like being at home. It definitely wasn’t just about partying, nearly no one from my Czech friends can say that he was diving in 8 metres or that he was in the Game of Thrones city Dubrovnik. I can! Thank you ESN!
University of Zadar surprised me with high-quality studies and friendly attitude towards international students. Nothing was a problem and everything could be discussed and solved. Apart from my psychology subjects, I had also an opportunity to sign up for other foreign languages. The beginner’s course of Croatian was obvious choice that helped me in my everyday life. Majority of people can speak English. However, it is good to be able to shop or ask on the basic things in Croatian just not to feel like a tourist all the time. Even though, locals always acted the same no matter in which language I was speaking.
Some people say that there is no reason for going to Croatia in winter. But I personally feel the opposite. The city is not crowded with tourists, the weather is very good with many sunny days (compared to Czech Republic) and also the prices for visiting other touristic places are cheaper. When Bura (cold wind) comes, you can always find a warm place to have coffee or a glass of good wine.
The final question is what will I miss the most? The entire city - it`s atmosphere, people, sunny weather, coffee breaks, sea and sunset. So, if you have a chance, definitely go to Zadar!!!
Sabine Grill, Business Administration, Austria
Hi, my name is Sabine and I’m from Austria. I’m in my master studies of business administration at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. For me it was an adventure to take the chance of being an Erasmus student. In the beginning I wasn’t sure if my English knowledge will be enough for going half a year abroad in a country which language I am not able to speak. Before going to Zadar I attended a basic Croatian language course at my university in Austria, but of course that was much too less to be able to speak in this language. So, as I thought this chance of going abroad will never come again in this way, I was brave and decided just to “go and see”.
As I found out while staying in Zadar, my English knowledge was enough. Moreover I found out that many people are able to speak English. Almost all younger people will be able to speak in English with you. And some are even able to speak German what surprised me a lot. They told me it is because they have many tourists from Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Beside this adventure of communication it was also a very interesting experience to get to know another culture. Well, Croatia is not so far away from Austria and I thought it has almost the same culture. But as I found out Dalmatia is a special region with lovely people. For me it looks like everything in Dalmatia is slower. This mentality reminds me a lot of Italian people. You will always find time to go for a coffee. People like to speak to you even if you are not understanding their language. If you will just listen to them and try to understand they will be more than satisfied and become your best friend. What is more, if you have the possibility to stay in an apartment with other Erasmus people I can just recommend that to you. It is even more interesting to get to know other people from other European countries. You will get to know not just the culture of your “Erasmus country” but also other European countries. At the University of Zadar everything went well. All courses were as I thought they will be. There were no complications with learning agreement. I also had enough time off University so that I could spend time on trips through Croatia, enjoy beautiful sunsets in Zadar and of course go for coffee! So all in all I can just recommend everyone to take part of Erasmus – don’t hesitate and take this unique opportunity!