Erasmus in three words? “Walk, challenge, opportunity.

Kristýna Schönová, a 25-year-old journalism student at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences, is currently on Erasmus in southern Portugal – she has traveled this European program for the fourth time. She founded a podcast, promotes slow travel, and publishes various travel guides and tips on her Travel Souvenir site.

“When I first learned that there was an Erasmus, that you get money to study in a foreign country, it sounded like a fairy tale. For example, university in Australia, where I studied, it’s very expensive. The semester costs maybe half a million, I normally couldn’t afford it. And thanks to this study exchange, I was able. It’s an incredible opportunity. “ said in an interview with Refresher.

Týnko, you know a poem by Klement Bochořák: “If you don’t have a stall at home, no distance and the most seductive roses will help you. Who doesn’t have a stand at home, is afraid of themselves and wants to go far? » Are you running away from something or do you just enjoy and thrive on traveling with Erasmus?It’s a good start. I don’t know the poem, but it’s beautiful. I must say that I often wonder if I am running from something or not. I probably don’t have a clear answer to that. I think in part. In part, it’s an escape from stereotypes and boredom. I love that you always start over – with a clean shield. You can leave behind all worries and overspending. No one knows you there. So it’s a bit of an escape, but on the other hand, it’s the passion of my life, something that fills me. And I don’t think it will be an escape for life. It’s a phase of life, discovering, trying new things and sometimes running away.

How many Erasmus have you attended? And or?

I went abroad for the first time right after graduation. I was accepted into an Indonesian government scholarship program in Bali, where I studied Indonesian for six months. My first Erasmus was then in the student city of Lille in northern France, then I went to Australia thanks to an inter-university agreement, which works in a similar way. However, I had to cancel this study exchange, it was in 2020 that a pandemic started and Australia closed its borders, so I had to return home after a month. Then I traveled to Cyprus for my masters and now I left for my fourth Erasmus in Portugal. And I found out that I will get another one because we can go out for up to 12 months in a study cycle. And since the semester usually lasts four months, I have four more left. This time I will try an Erasmus internship.

So you’ve spent quite a bit of time around the world. Where do you feel most at home?

I feel at home everywhere. Home is something you take with you, what you create where you come from. Of course, I have roots in the Czech Republic, but even though I was small, we moved around a lot. I was born in Moravia in Strážnice. When I was three we moved to Hodonín, and when I was seven we moved to Prague. I always felt like I lived on the road, somewhere in between. I had a family in Moravia, friends and a school in Prague. Home is not just a place for me, but rather a feeling that I create. This is probably why I love traveling so much and why I have no problem creating a background and making friends all over the world.

How would you describe Erasmus+ in three words?

Conduct. Because it’s terribly intense. It’s only been four months, that’s a short time. And I still feel like a year or two has passed. Because knowing that time is short, we try to make it useful every day. You always discover something, go to events, meet new people.

Call. Because it’s not always easy. Now I know what I’m going to do, but when I first went there, and it’s so crowded, I was dealing with culture shock, I had to get used to everything works differently than at home. And when people leave alone, they are thrown into a new environment and have to take care of themselves.

The third word is opportunity. When I first learned that there was Erasmus to get money to study in a foreign country, it seemed like a fairy tale to me. I didn’t realize that was really possible. Even so, it strikes me as one of the best opportunities of our generation. For example, the university in Australia, where I studied, is very expensive. The semester costs maybe half a million, I normally couldn’t afford it. And thanks to this study exchange, I was able to. It’s an incredible opportunity.

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Image preview: courtesy of Kristýna Schönová

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