12 stories from 12 Alumni of the Erasmus+ programme from Kosovo

“At Erasmus+ we all have different beginnings, filled with worries, dreams, and hidden possibilities, that we turn into endless opportunities and entirely new beginnings”.

Kosovo Eramsus+ Office invites you to celebrate the 35 years of Erasmus+ programme. For this occasion, we asked our alumni to share their Erasmus+ experiences with us. Many of you responded and shared stories of fun, friendship, warmth, travels, and of all the new experiences and opportunities that helped you later in life. Let us look at some of your memories from the incredible times you had with Erasmus+ programme.

1.From Erasmus+ exchange to employment

“I gained academically, professionally, and personally from being an Erasmus+ Exchange. The chance to be studying in another country with students from all over the world and to bring up all those different perspectives together was a great benefit itself. I continue to gain from Erasmus+, since I got hired by an International NGO, which is also supported by different Erasmus+ programmes.”

– Erëza Pireva, ICM alumni, University of Salzburg (2019) 

2. A new way of thinking
“My experience as an exchange student in Germany with the Erasmus+ program has made me, in many ways, the person I am today. As a student of English language and literature, in Germany I also attended German and Spanish courses that were offered free of charge at the University of Vechta where I studied. Those two languages and everything else that I have learned there have proved useful to me all along. There, for the first time, I also acquainted myself with the cultures and traditions of different countries that I didn’t know or about which I had negative stereotypes about. For the first time, for example, I celebrated the Hispanic holiday “Dia de los difuntos” (“Day of the Dead”) with my friends from Ecuador, which opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about life and death. While I was there, moreover, with my international friends I traveled around Germany, but also in countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, and other European countries. In Germany, I also learned how to cook, how to purchase a train and plane ticket, how to talk about topics that may be sensitive to other people, how to conduct serious scientific research, etc. Today, six years later, I am pursuing my master’s studies in the USA with the “Fulbright” program, which I would not have recognized as a study opportunity, nor would I have been able to get it, if I had not been in Germany during my Bachelor studies. Erasmus+ is one of the most beautiful experiences that have happened to me and I am very happy that my friends and I have moved on but never moved out on each other. At any airport, friends from my years in Germany are there for me, and that makes me a really rich person.”
Arlind Fazliu, ICM alumni, University of Vechta (2016/2017)

3. Drink wine and learn about it
“Just like every other student my dream was also to go on an exchange and I got to fulfill this dream thanks to Erasmus+ programme and my University. I did 2 semesters abroad at the Hochschule University of Geisenheim and it was one of the best decisions I made and the best opportunity that was given to me. At Hochschule Geisenheim University I had the chance to study wine, which made this journey way more interesting since I didn’t even know that such Universities existed. Did many groups works with students and got to learn a lot of new stuff. I am so happy and thankful for this opportunity and I encourage all young students to apply for Erasmus opportunities and don’t miss them! The Erasmus Experience is one of the best experiences I have ever had. As the first exchange student from Kosovo, studying International Wine Business at the Hochschule Geisenheim University, I got to learn that there is a Wine University where you can drink wine and learn about it (yay). Not only I did learn new stuff, but I also got to know people from so many different countries and cultures and had the opportunity to share experiences and traditional foods with them. It was an eye-opening experience that made me realize just how different we all are, but also that we’re not so different after all. Thanks to Erasmus I am here today to encourage you to dream big and try new things and to not be scared, because only beginnings are difficult!”
– Fitore Fetahi,  ICM alumni, Geisenheim University (2019)


4. Erasmus+ programme offers networking opportunities
“Under the framework of ERASMUS+ International Credit Mobility Projects, during the last few years, I had the privilege of participating in exchanges of administrative staff while visiting several countries: Denmark, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. Those mobility visits were an excellent opportunity for my professional development because I gained great international experience, became more motivated and independent in performing my tasks and I improved my language and communication skills. In addition, there are many benefits that came out as a result of ERASMUS+ mobilities but I would like to highlight that the contacts made and staying in another country really bring completely new experience and expand your horizon. ERASMUS+ exchanges are really unforgettable experiences because they offer an opportunity to explore and get to know another country, its culture and tradition, and check how different systems and institutions function in a way that you would never succeed to explore as a tourist or in any other type of visit. New contacts and friendships are made, all expenses are covered through the ERASMUS+ grant and participants had the opportunity to participate in all activities and social events held during the mobility period in the partner institution you are visiting.”
Mirjana Krsmanovic, ICM alumni administrative staff, Denmark, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece (2019)


5. Empowering career in University research

“My participation, and being part of the Erasmus Mundus Program were particularly valuable for my progress as a student in many different ways. Indeed, it was a dream come true. Erasmus Mundus Master in Quality in Analytical Laboratories Program (2010-2012) is a unique experience that I have had. Firstly, it provided me with valuable feedback on the research and helped with adjusting the research plans revolving around researcher carrier. Secondly, it enriched my theoretical and practical perspectives with ‘first-hand’ experience by established researchers in the field. Finally, there were excellent network opportunities at the University of Barcelona (Spain) and University of Bergen (Norway), and my successful representation and work helped me to continue to act proactively back home. Overall, this experience has helped me to chart my path and share useful experiences at the forefront of research for my career especially for my PhD studies. More specifically, after returning to my home University I tried to practice the knowledge achieved during my experience in those well-known universities. I can say that participation in the Erasmus Mundus Program has helped me to empower my career in university.”
Dardan Hetemi, Joint Master’s Degree Alumni, University of Barcelona (Spain) and University of Bergen (Norway), (2010-2012) 


6. Erasmus+, a career guide

“In 2018, during the February-June spring semester, I started my first study experience abroad, where I had the opportunity to challenge myself in an international academic area with students of different cultures and histories from different countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. My 4-month study experience in Turkey, through the Erasmus program, in addition to the academic side, has also enriched my cultural capital, where in the framework of the Erasmus office in Metu, many tourist trips were organized to the most beautiful places in Turkey, without forgetting to mention the great hospitality. After completing the exchange program, returning home and graduating, this experience made me reach many opportunities like employment and career guidance, varied from the labor market in Kosovo, from internships in various industries to being employed in executive position at the BONEVET Foundation, as a non-formal educational institution where learning takes place through games and technology and in the position, as Managing Director I manage and am responsible for strategic and financial planning of the Organization. Erasmus+ is a program that every student should be part of, it helps you try your own sense of management, independence; to create the most beautiful memories of youth and above all a more prosperous future.”
Diana Luzha – ICM Alumni, Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, (2018)

8. Opportunity for new experiences – personal and professional

“Completing a double Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Public Administration at the Central European University (CEU) and University of York was one of the major highlights of my life. Studying and living abroad for me was a big step at the time. For two years (2009 – 2011), Budapest and York became my home away from home. The program offered me the opportunity to have new experiences, learn about Hungarian and UK culture, and boost my personal and professional skills. During my studies at CEU and University of York, with a full scholarship from the Erasmus Mundus Program, I became part of a dynamic and multi-cultural community, with invaluable access to a wide range of cultures, languages, and perspectives. I still keep in touch with my former professors and classmates and look forward to meeting them whenever we have a chance anywhere around the world!”
-Shqipe Neziri Vela – Erasmus Mundus MAPP, Central European University (CEU) and University of York (2009-2011)


9. Erasmus+ is a real eye-opening and unforgettable experience

“Thanks to the various experiences of my friends, I decided to apply for the Erasmus + program, at the same time I was afraid of how I would manage with the paperwork and the whole process, there was also the fear of the unknown, which from this distance I can say it was absolutely unjustified. A thousand questions in my head (how to find accommodation, how to manage in a new city, how to arrange all the papers), but no answers. In the end, that was the least of my problems, no matter how stressful and scary it seemed at the beginning.
Life in another country, among people who come from different parts of the world, is really eye-opening.
I did my study exchange in Maribor, one of the most beautiful cities in Slovenia, which became one of the most beautiful cities for me personally, as I spent a very nice period of my student life there. An exceptional culture, a high level of hygiene in all public places, respect for the code of conduct and treatment of foreigners is noteworthy.
All the beautiful memories, acquaintances, all the beautiful and new places I had the opportunity to visit are unforgettable. Traveling, as well as living independently in another, better country for me, is priceless and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The exchange experience is wonderful. Believe me, you won’t miss anything at home for those 4-5 months, everything stays the same, and you have a lot to gain by leaving. Such programs are always an opportunity to meet new people, even from those countries that are hard to find on the globe. My Erasmus+ experience was, in one word, UNFORGETTABLE. The possibility of going on an Erasmus+ study is something that every student should take advantage of during their education.”-
-Milanka Radusinovic, ICM alumni, Maribor Slovenia (2021/2022)

11. Opportunity to study in the most prestigious EU Universities

“Staying in Rome is the dream of many people and doing mobility there was an experience filled with beautiful memories. It was a vibrant place where, in the course of quality education at the prestigious university “La Sapienza” I had the opportunity to observe many wonderful monuments. Benefits for student exchanges are numerous, including international education, learning a new language, socialization, independence, the joy of living alone, and it does not end there. People were gentle and wholehearted. This experience has left many impressions on my heart and is categorized as my most memorable experience. I encourage all students to take advantage of the countless opportunities offered by the Erasmus program. Ciao!”
Dion Bardhi, ICM Alumni, Universita La Sapienza-Rome (2021/2022)


12. A life-changing experience

“I went on a student exchange in 2020. I am extremely grateful because I had the opportunity to gain that experience. I went to Poland, the city of Lublin. When I was officially accepted and all the administrative procedures were completed, the journey could begin. I got my guide, a girl from Lublin who met me late in the evening and drove me to the student dormitory where I was accommodated. In the dormitory, I could choose a room, but I agreed to the first one that was assigned to me. That’s where I meet my new friends. Soon I get to know all the students who came through the Erasmus+ program from various countries. With the help of the mentor assigned to us, Mrs. Julia Michalska, we quickly found our way and fit at the university. We received a project that we worked on with the help of professor Iwona Rybicka. People from the organization organized events, meetings, parties where we would all hang out. In our free time, we could tour the city. If we were lucky, we would have visited the surrounding countries, but the corona virus did not allow us to do that. Regardless, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be there. It is good for knowledge, language, new people and much more. It was definitely a life-changing experience. It changed me as a person in every way, for the better. A wonderful experience that I would recommend to everyone.”
Jovana Zivic, ICM Alumni, Lublin University of Technology, Poland (2020)