10 July 2021, 5.46 am: clothes, shoes, toothbrush – did I pack everything? The feeling, that I forgot something, just won’t let go of me. Do I need another jacket? Probably not, nah whatever, one item more or less makes no difference now either – my suitcase is and will be heavy anyways. Oh man, I’m running late, 10 minutes to go and I still need to get dressed, do my hair and brush my teeth. Now, hurry Lena, otherwise you’ll miss your flight.
7 August 2021, 7.59 am: paranoidly checking each and every drawer of my wardrobe and closet – I must not leave anything in the apartment. I got everything, I think but I’m definitely not 100 % sure. When finally throwing the last pieces of clothes in my suitcase, I realise that the weekly shopping trips haven’t been the most brilliant idea. Again, panicking and imagining myself in the worst scenarios ever – I’ll definitely pay hundreds of euros for my excess luggage! Oh lord, please let the check-in person turn a blind eye to the extra kilograms :)
You see, same situations, but four weeks apart. Four weeks, what are just four silly weeks? For some, this may be a short time, but during these weeks we have built an independent life in a foreign city. Thanks to ERASMUS+ we got to experience what living abroad is like. Furthermore, we were given the opportunity to get insights into the international world of work. Therefore, we developed our language skills, made experiences in various fields of business applying our theoretical basic knowledge of economics and gained understanding of different work procedures, behaviours and attitudes.
ERASMUS+ enables placements for students to study or work abroad. But to me, this program stands for so much more than this. While experiencing the Spanish working life and focusing on extending your knowledge you subconsciously go through some sort of personal development. Literally you are thrown into cold water – overnight, you suddenly have to organise your life all by yourself, there’s no mum or dad who kindly asks you what you want for dinner (unless you find a person like that, thanks Mama-Anita :)). From then on you are responsible for cooking, running errands, managing the household – or in other words– you are responsible for surviving :)
This program also lets you experience what sharing a flat with your friends is like. Life then can be quite chaotic when all of a sudden you can’t find anything to eat, there is not a single clean fork, knife or spoon or the whole flat is covered in sand, dust and hairs (Anita, you are everywhere).
But honestly – I wouldn’t want to change anything. It always says “friends are family” and really, I haven’t felt this quote as I do now. I’m very happy that ERASMUS+ brought this great "modern family" into my life – Mama-Anita, Brother-Paul, Dog-Dani and Adoptive-Brother-David! We had the best time exploring Barcelona, doing sightseeing, going shopping and simply celebrating life. I wouldn’t like to miss any of these moments and I swear, there couldn’t have been a greater way to end five years of HAK I Salzburg than with an adventure of ERASMUS+!
So all in all, nothing changed physically (except for my suitcase that now feels about 10 kg heavier :)), but I feel like we all go home with different mindsets – grateful for what we got to experience in the last month and enthusiastic about what the future holds for us :)