Soeliah Hellwig comes from Amsterdam, where she finishes her degree in European Studies. With 20 years old, she decided to start the adventure of spending one semester in Erasmus. She chose Valencia, a decision she will never regret. Back home after this amazing experience, she looks back and tells us about her last semester in this beutiful city.
Why did you decide to come to Valencia ?
Because my first Spanish teacher always told stories about it and because I liked the classes I could take.
Which was your first impression of the city?
I almost immediately felt at home, I never felt bored, there were always so many things I wanted to do and to see!
Which is your favourite place in Valencia that you would recommend to other Erasmus students?
I love the Turia, all kinds of people are always walking around there and it's a good place to work out or play with a frisbee.
Which other cities in Spain have you visited?
Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid (and Utiel :D)
What was the hardest difficulty you found during your Erasmus? First, I felt as if I was on a vacation, but at some point I had to find a routine and I found that quite hard. It took me a few weeks, but when I started doing things regularly, like working out on set days, I finally found my way around.
Where and how did you meet most of your friends?
At the intensive Spanish course at the Centre d' Idiomes of the University of Valencia I did the first weeks of September. Because the university hadn't started yet, I was able to hang out with my classmates after the lessons.
Did you find a difference between your university in your country and in Spain?
Yes, I had to figure out which courses to follow and fit them into a schedule by my own. This was very hard for me. Also, we didn't have any seminars. At my university we usually have one lecture and one seminar per class. This allowed us to ask specific questions you couldn't ask in a big group.
What do you think about people from Valencia?
The Valencians keep their arms open to everyone, but they never close them! No, I really liked the people, I enjoyed the fact that there are so many students and I like it that people are used to living actively outside their homes instead of always staying home.
Is Spanish a difficult language?
I had some education in Latin and I really enjoy languages, so I didn't have any difiiculties with learning. I liked doing it. Practicing with my friends made it more fun.
In which way do you think that the Erasmus makes people grow?
They grow more independent and they get to work on their social skills and learn to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings.
Which was the best lesson you learnt during this semester?
You have to actively try to get a routine, it doesn't just happen. But when you have it, it's easier to enjoy yourself and not miss your homecountry too much.
Was your Erasmus in Valencia up to your expectations?
I hadn't expected to feel so much at home, I'm really grateful for the experience.