Sarah Woywood. FFEEBB undergraduate scholar from Graz University, Austria, to Fayoum University, Egypt.
After finishing the taught modules and courses for my BA in Translation and Interpreting for English, Arabic and German at Graz University in Austria in July 2010, I planned to spend six months in an Arab speaking country, in order to improve my language skills but also my cultural understanding of the Arabic world. The FFEEBB scholarship was a perfect opportunity, as it made financial and organisational obstacles redundant. At the end of August 2010, I flew to Cairo and then travelled by car to Fayoum about an hour away from Cairo.
The faculty's hospitality and helpfulness to improve my Arabic, the High Standard Modern Arabic as well as the Egyptian Dialect, and to enhance my knowledge about Arabic literature and Islam made my stay at the faculty a very fruitful one. Outside of university I was able to join the local female Volleyball team of Fayoum.
I gained a deep insight into the Egyptian culture and its lifestyle outside of Cairo and the touristic places mostly attended by Western visitors, which, I am sure, will help me to become not only a translator of words but also a translator of cultural differences and understanding.'
Aya Ahmed Shahaat Salem. FFEEBB2 undergraduate scholar mobility from Alexandria University, Egypt, to La Sapienza University, Italy.
'I searched a lot about La Sapienza and everyone was saying that it's a very famous university in Italy. When I arrived there I still can't forget the first day at the welcome orientation party and the very nice people helping. My first lecture at the main campus was impressive. If you aren't able to buy the book you find great libraries everywhere in the city. The professors are really nice, whenever I send an e-mail concerning the subject they reply immediately, and also the welcome office as well, they were great.
Living in Europe is fun, but as I'm from a middle eastern country it was very exciting, in everything, way of living, daily life stuff etc. This was my first time to travel alone abroad; it wasn't scary at all, instead I was feeling so curious.
Some of the Italian way of living was catchy like the morning café or the after lunch espresso, I'm a big fan of coffee! Italians are so friendly, they don't mind at all to get to know new people, I was wearing veil and they were very curious about Middle East life, so we both shared culture and lifestyle.
This scholarship made my life. I became more open-minded than before, I met people from different cultures and religions, and I lived with them so I knew a lot about almost everything about these cultures and how they are different even if they are from the same country. The key to know everything is to be social, friendly, and fun. And always say YES!
I can't stop writing about Erasmus Mundus, the exchange of life and the experience.'
Amal Dib. ELEMENT doctorate scholar mobility from University of Balamand, Lebanon, to Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
'In the summer of 2010, I visited Berlin for a 2 week conference. I fell in love with the city at the first glance. After finishing my MA in Mass Media and Communication at the University of Balamand, I came across the ELEMENT scholarship, and to my surprise, a PhD in Media and Communication Studies at Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) was on the list. After only two months of the famous "Congratulations, you are accepted" e-mail, I found myself in Berlin.
I was welcomed by the extremely helpful Erasmus Mundus tutoring team at FUB who answered all my queries and helped me settle in. I took an intensive German language course at FUB and started the beautiful journey of learning my fourth language. Despite the challenges I face on a daily basis, it is a great learning experience and is all part of the journey, one that inspires you. Berlin is a very international city that welcomes students from all over the world; it is a city with a rich history and promising future. There is a lot to see and more to experience, from art, music, museums, green parks, chats with locals, great food, and much more. Berlin has definitely opened a new chapter in my life, a chapter that could not have been otherwise written without the ELEMENT scholarship.'
Paul Barrett. EPIC post-doctorate scholar mobility from Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK, to University of Saint Joseph, Lebanon.
'I came to Lebanon to carry out post-doctoral research into cultural tourism in the country. Personally, I have found this to be an incredibly rewarding experience and the EPIC Erasmus Mundus programme must have had the same effect on a large percentage of the people who have been able to take advantage of it. It allows you to meet people who you may never have thought of interacting with before on a professional and social basis and to visit places you might only have dreamt of. I can't recommend it highly enough.'
Mohamed Rezeka. EU-METALIC undergraduate scholar mobility from Alexandria University, Egypt, to Bologna University, Italy.
'It was a great period in my life and it was like a turning point in my life. I can say that those five months were the greatest period I lived because I discovered new places, I had a lot of fun, I met many people from all over the world so I found new cultures and I discovered awesome things. I can say that Erasmus Mundus is the best way to improve your skills and gain experience especially as an exchange student.'
Kaoutar Kadiri. EU-METALIC II master scholar mobility from Superior Institution of Science and Technology (SIST), Morocco, to Bologna University, Italy.
'Thanks to Erasmus mundus mobility, I have been able to discover my personality more concerning the ability to achieve many challenges. For future Erasmus applicants, this is the best exchange experience that you can have with high quality monitoring. So far in this experience it has been the best for many reasons such as: money wise, I do not have to worry about financial matter but only to focus on studies and have fun. Also, I have met a lot of people from different cultures and this opportunity made me break many stereotypes I had in the past. In addition to that, I have been able to learn a new language which can be added to my portfolio and I attended many conferences and seminars that were inspiring and enriching. I could also travel inside the country of my mobility and outside and it is amazing. Another point concerning the quality of the project EU-METALIC II is that they have loyal monitoring system, I could share any worries either with my coordinator (Viviana) or coordinator in my host university (Livia) and they would help me right away. I am very satisfied and excited for future applicants to try this amazing program.'