Outgoing: Yoan at the Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Poland
Yoan Kersulec is a third-year Bachelor student studying International and European Law. Between October 2020 and June 2021, he carried out an Erasmus exchange at the Jagiellonian University of Krakow (Poland).
Why did you choose the Jagiellonian University of Krakow?
Dzień dobry! I chose Poland as my Erasmus destination for several reasons. The first reason was purely technical. Other popular destinations require students to master Spanish, Italian or German as part of the application process but this was not the case for the Jagiellonian University of Krakow. The second reason was the geographical location. The city of Krakow is located in southern Poland in Central Europe, the ideal place to set off on excursions abroad. Thirdly, I was convinced that this destination, often second-rated and little known, would allow me to think outside the box and thus, make this exchange an even more unique experience. Finally, because life in Poland is relatively cheap. Krakow is slightly more expensive than the rest of the country but remains much more affordable compared to other European cities.
What were your objectives for this mobility experience?
When I was applying for Erasmus, my main goal was to find out more about myself, to prove that I could be independent and to force me outside my comfort zone. I had already travelled quite a bit previously but never alone. I really wanted to see how I could learn and develop in terms of autonomy and maturity. I also wanted to open my mind and experience something new.
What are the main differences you have identified between studying in France and Poland?
Although Poland was not completely paralyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the educational system was transformed. All my course were delivered via remote teaching but despite this format, I found the lectures to be accessible and interesting. I also noticed that Polish lecturers favor closer contact with students than French lecturers. Oral teaching and learning is preferred even though the majority of exams are written with a few exceptions.
What have you learned from this international experience?
Thanks to this Erasmus experience, I have become more outgoing and have discovered a lot about myself. In terms of language learning, Polish is an extremely complicated language and I still only know a few words after more than 9 months spent in the country! The University proposed some language courses and I would strongly advise other students to follow these as outside of Krakow, few Polish people speak English. As a result, it can be quite a struggle to communicate with locals and this creates a distance.
To conclude, I would strongly advise my fellow students to embark on the Erasmus adventure in Krakow or elsewhere in Poland. If you want a total change of scenery, in a country with a wealth of heritage and where the natural environment is very important, this will be the perfect exchange for you. Do widzenia !