How did you benefit from the Erasmus program?

I benefited from the Erasmus+internship program. I was in Dusseldorf Germany between the dates of July-September 2022.

How did you decide to apply to the Erasmus + Internship program?

Thanks to the orientation program done by the Erasmus office, I've wanted to take part since my first year. Due to the pandemic I was able to do it in my third year. 

Which part of the application process was most challenging for you?

I think the hardest part is receiving an invitation letter from somewhere.

How was the process picking where you wanted to do your internship ?

I used the side a lot. In addition, I learned about the places where the students of other universities had already went and contacted them. Germany was more attractive due to its proximity to other countries.

What advice would you give to people who want to benefit from the Erasmus internship program about receiving an invitation letter?

If they want to gain a good academic experience, I would rather recommend that they do an Erasmus internship with a teacher at a university. Moving from more specific to general, first go as a country and city, and then expand their range of research. I also recommend that they start researching and applying early. The sooner the better. 

How many places did you send an application to and from how many did you receive a positive answer ?

I applied to around 50 places, I received a positive response from only 2, but I started researching very early, So after the acceptance letter came, I started looking for a different place.I think it's so good to apply to as many places as possible and it's important to never give up.

What did you do during your internship? Can you walk us through your normal day?

I used to go to the company on weekdays and do the tasks that they gave me. The fact that the company I work for is a Turkish company and there are many trainee friends like me provided comfort. I didn't feel a lot of intensity, obviously I got used to it after a while. I was making time to travel on weekends. I didn't feel like I was too tired because it made me happy to travel around, go on little adventures.

Can you talk about the features of the city that you went to? 

I was in Düsseldorf. It provided comfort for me, as it is one of the great cities of Germany. I could often find social events. The attitude towards strangers of people there was also very pleasant and polite . They were already used to people like us because the immigrant population was large. 

Can you evaluate your Erasmus experience in the country that you went to?

I am happy to have had my Erasmus experience in Germany. Because Germany is already a country with a large Turkish population, so we have met a lot of people who would help us during all our trips. In addition, due to the city structure of Germany, many cities and attractions that can be visited were very close to our location, I had the chance to go to many different places with small trips in 1-2 hours. In addition, the city of Düsseldorf, where I was located, gave me a great opportunity in terms of sightseeing due to the fact that it is a city close to many other countries. 

How was the profile of erasmus students where you were?

Since the company where I did my internship was a Turkish company, it accepts a lot of Turkish students every year. For this reason, I have made a lot of Turkish friends who did internships like me. Everyone came from different cities in Turkey.

Can you tell us about the friend environment you created during your stay? 

In general, we got along very well with all the interns working at the company.Together, we went on many trips, and countries as a group. It was very nice in that sense, but at the same time, I had the opportunity to meet people from many different cultures during my travels.

What was the hardest part of living in a foreign country?

To be honest, living in a country where you don't know the language was one of the biggest aspects that challenged me. To give a simple example, an announcement is made on any train journey, but it is made in a language I never understood, it was sometimes difficult to understand it and act accordingly. I had to ask people around me for help in general and ask them to translate. 

What was the best part of living in a foreign country?

I think the best thing about living in a foreign country was getting to learn a whole new culture that you didn’t know before, and being able to adapt to it even for a little bit.

What have you done during this process that you've never done before?

To be honest, this was not my first trip to Europe, but it was my first time staying abroad for a long time, and changing countries on my own was a really big adventure. I was very happy to talk to people I didn't know, to ask for help and to see warm-hearted tolerant attitudes from them. I was not used to asking for help in general, as I know a lot of things in my own country, but thanks to this adventure, I learned not to hesitate to ask for help even for small things, and fortunately, I always met good people, and they were all very helpful. I really am very happy for this. 

Was the grant that was given enough? Did you spend any extra money?

I did spend extra money. Especially when I stayed in different places, such as a hostel-hotel, the cost of accommodation was high when I looked at the total.

Did you have any information about ESN in the country that you went to?

Unfortunately, no.

Finally, are there any messages that you would like to convey to those who read this interview and/or to the ESN AYBU family?

Frankly, I thank you very much for your efforts. Because every time I talk to people around me, they always say that they haven't heard much about Erasmus opportunities and that they didn't know that they had such a chance. But you are trying to further inform people about it. From this point of view, I think you are doing something very nice, because I think the Erasmus experience is something that absolutely, and I mean absolutely everyone should experience. On this path, we bring together those who want to put their experience into actions. It's great that you let them know about their opportunities.