Studying abroad in Corona times – new level of experience

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Wie ist es eigentlich, in diesen Zeiten Erasmus-Studierende:r zu sein? Das fragte Gea Gračner drei französische Austauschstudentinnen in Graz. Diese Sendung ist in englischer Sprache.

Gea Gračner hosted three young ladies who came for an Erasmus exchange to Graz in Corona times. Léa, Léa and Alison are openly talking about challenges such as lack of opportunities to connect and meet local communities, and ways of dealing with preoccupation with online activities.

“It’s quite intimidating to go to somewhere, where you know nobody, and you don’t even see their faces”

Is what Léa says about the welcoming “events” for Erasmus students, where she felt a stressed and intimidated atmosphere. The welcoming meetings were organized in huge rooms with a lot of distance and of course everyone was masked. Connecting with people while staying distant at the same time is a challenge every of the three interviewees has experienced. Also an introducing campus tour was not offered.

Erasmus as an “alone-retreat” in another country rather than being a “social animal”

Interviewer Gea, who enjoyed the Erasmus experience herself a few years ago, asks about how they deal with loneliness under these distant circumstances. Long meditative walks, drinking tea and dedicating to vegetarian cuisine are some of the creative alternatives Léa developed to cope with the being-mostly-alone-situation. At least in their shared flats they can enjoy some community life. Summing up, all three agree that in those times Erasmus exchange is way more about meeting yourself abroad then having a stereotypical Erasmus exchange experience.

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Fotocredits: Lale Rodgarkia-Dara
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