The Privilege of Being Part of the Erasmus Experience
If there was a world, where you could meet, talk, care and live with anybody for just 5 months, would you do it? Well, These guys made the choice and live in this world called Erasmus (European exchange program for one semester or possibly a year in a foreign country). We enter this world imagining a fun haven away from home and once we are in this foreign world we embrace new cultures, meet new people, learn new things everyday and party like kings, while counting the days back home. We also call this the Erasmus Experience.
Another Erasmus goodbye night.
One such period of many semesters went by yesterday again, and It was not an easy night to say goodbye not just because of the amazing city or the amazing people. But missing everything that we did over the period of 5 months, Every person who has been a part of the program would probably agree that the time here passed like a breeze but also carries very detailed moments that is rich with emotions, happiness, laughter, sadness and life. The time here was filled with so many crazy and awesome moments that it gets completely normal at a point (which is not easy for a person from outside to easily comprehend). We ended the era with a final dinner cooked by one of my turkish friend, Devrim (Happy? Haha!). The food was delicious, we started talking about our experiences and we felt that this goodbye was probably going to get emotional. It was difficult for me to understand this because i had told goodbyes to quite a lot of them already (Many of them started leaving gent since June) but it was not so bad before, But, this time it was hitting me finally.
There was a T-shirt party a few months back, where we had to sign each others shirt and write something. We decided to bring those shirts and write something more, It was gearing up for an emotional night. Meanwhile another friend of ours, Iasonas (who is already in Greece) wanted to Skype with us and we made him this awesome video :D.
There was a champagne bottle bought for celebration but it was never opened, and while everyone was busy talking, i just opened the bottle to everyone’s disappointment (They wanted the fizz and foam all over the place) But, I ruined it (damn!). As they were skyping with our friend, me and couple of other friends couldn’t help but try to put the cork back into the champagne, it was stupid but we tried and actually succeeded pushing it partially inside, just enough for the pressure to make a loud thumping sound as the cork flew with the champagne coating all over the ceiling. Well, let’s say I saved myself (haha!).
Shoe throwing tradition at Overpoortstraat.
Before we went anywhere, the people who were leaving decided to complete the Gent tradition by throwing their shoes over a cable near the dorms, where you can see a lot of shoes already hanging. ( I don’t know why, but it felt right, Haha!)
We took more pictures and decided to visit the Geuzenhuis (A really cozy bar near Overpoort) to say goodbye to few other friends and we headed off to Boat pub (De plank), The place was really cozy as well and before we knew there was a log of hugging and onion cutting. It was almost like this feeling you get when you stand in this huge line to get on a deadly roller coaster and you know your turn is coming (Just that the ones who leave are not really happy). I started thinking about all the things I felt and experienced differently in the past six month and I could feel that I owe a lot to the people I met in the last five or six months. I randomly asked everyone present to give me something they had (Anything that they were carrying with them ) as a memory. I received everything from a hair band to a train ticket, It is something I have never done before and I think I will treasure them for a long time.
Which also reminds me of “The Stone”, which is an actual floor tile from the city of Gent, my friend Masa decided to take it with her a few of months back on our way back to the dorms, I got to help her carry it along the way. We decided to keep this stone and pass on the legacy and make this stone an actual legend. I love legends and this stone is going to be something that we will treasure (Isn’t the poem lovely?).
I believe that these people are truly brave to embrace the time they had in a way which is very mature and accept new people in their lives with open arms. We have promised to meet next year in the same month right in time for Gent Festival 2016. I have more friends around the globe to visit now and a lot more stories to share. But I can never forget how the people made me feel, here are a few things that come right to the top of my mind as I think of my past six months.
The Croatian gang along with Rui at my birthday, they actually cleaned my room and surprised me because they knew that I was homesick. The endless coffee conversations with Helena on a saturday afternoon after a long friday night
All those kebabs, fries and food talk with Rui (you can see the love of food glowing on his face!) By the way, he still regrets not going to a sushi bar here. The crazy times with Petar and Lenard (Anyone hurts me, you are in trouble! :D)
Endless Table tennis and Ableton classes with Dries and of course a lot of partying :D. When i told that I want to go volunteering in Brussels, Me and three other friends (Masa, Helena and Matea) decided to do it just like that, we registered for the event at 5 in the morning and woke up at 8 am (Sleeping couple of hours) to make it to the event (Yay!). Going to Brussels with my friend (Tereza) at 10 in the morning, clicking pictures at the Brussels centre alone (We were literally the only people in the square!) and coming back to gent around 9 in the morning the next day. Helena banging at Elena’s wall asking her to come as if the house was on fire, But, just to see how handsome I was looking in my blazer ( She also fixed my shirt with safety pins as I did not have my cuff link), She looked really proud (Haha! I feel extremely lucky!)
Check this out to know how I feel about Ghent.
More than anything, These guys let me express myself the way I could never before, Whether it was dancing, crazy deep conversations or the evergreen inappropriate jokes. I loved myself when I was around these guys and it was a privilege and I would like to thank everyone who I met throughout these 5 months from the bottom of my heart for being a part of who I am today.
With Lots of Love
If you want to know more about Ghent, click here or if you want to know about my best memories in Ghent, click here. If you want to know more about the Annual Gent festival, click here.
What was your Erasmus experience like?