For the academic year 2018/2019 we had a total of 35 mobilities for our outgoing students, out of which 12 took part in the Erasmus+ program in the fall semester, while the remaining 23 used this opportunity in the spring semester. Our students visited a variety of institutions in the following countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, and Turkey. Since they all had different experience throughout their semesters, their testimonials speak for themselves about their extraordinary stories.
Erasmus+ provided me an amazing experience to participate in a study program in Porto, Portugal for a semester. It was such a great experience. I met with a lot of people around the whole world from different cultures, gained lot of knowledge. Porto was one of the best and beautiful cities that I have ever been to. In University Institute of Maia we had very qualified and friendly professors and colleagues that helped us for adapting and learning from the first day. This experience was one of the best things that I have ever done and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Hatice Muci, Study Program: Psychology
Erasmus+ Student at University Institute of Maia, Portugal
Erasmus+ gives a great opportunity to meet new cultures, travel, make a lot of memories and also keep studies on track. My exchange program was in Kaunas, Lithuania at Vytautas Magnus University. This university offers a lot of study programs and has a great collaboration with IBU. The city and the people were welcoming. I had no problems adjust to courses. There are also a lot of exchange students from all over the world. I had a great time and made a lot of memories.
Do not hesitate to knock on door of IBU International Relations Office and make a whole new chapter in life!
Zinaida Hadzic, Study Program: Public Relations
Erasmus+ Student at Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
At first it was all about my possible professional development in the educational domain. Upon arrival in Poznan, Poland, city and country where I got accepted, at the very beginning I was confused and it took time for me to adapt on the new area, people and all the diversity I was surrounded with. It did not take much of the time, since the new conditions I was in circle with, were only one more plus in all plans I had for my future, as all we do. It was not only educational system that helps you to evolve on the higher level, but accompanying factors as well, that is to say new professors, new way of studying, learning and schooling, meeting plenty of new people with different backgrounds, cultures and customs you can learn a lot from. In my opinion Erasmus program is great chance taking into account every possible aspect, without any minus, at least not in my experience. Using this one lifetime opportunity can expand our standards on every possible level. Living in another country for a certain period of time sounds quite exciting, as it really is.
Zelda Alomerovic, Study Program: Legal Studies
Erasmus+ Student at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland
I chose Erasmus exchange for couple of reasons such as the chance to experience different studying and learning methods, the chance to meet new people and experience different cultures, a thing that the city of Ventspils and its University and its staff and students took care of this in the best way and of course traveling and visiting different countries. I have been in the state of Latvia, in the city of Ventspils. I chose Latvia mainly because I am in love with cold places such as Baltic and northern countries, I do like their weather, their calm and very clean cities, soft and welcoming people and mainly it’s a place that I thought I would never visit in my life. I benefited from Erasmus exchange in couple of ways such as intellectually, in cultural way, financial and travelling.
Gentrit Mehmeti, Study Program: Computer Engineering
Erasmus+ Student at Ventspils University College, Latvia
Unforgettable four months in Akademia Stzuki Wojennej, Warsaw, Poland. Amazing experience, teaching methods, programs and events for Erasmus students, many new friendships and fun moments that will be remembered. Definitely recommended University for your Erasmus semester and meanwhile to explore this beautiful city.
Aleksandra Krstevska & Ana Mihajlovska, Study Program: Management
Erasmus+ Students at War Studies University, Poland
Participating in the Erasmus program was a very good thing for me. The experience that I gained here, added many things in my life, for example it helped me to be even more outspoken, expanded my thinking, expanded my horizons. The university I studied at, was excellent and helped me to know many cultures. It was an international university and there were about 3000 international students from almost around all over the world, everyone’s language, religion, and culture were different which increased my knowledge of culture in general. I would recommend Erasmus program to all the students around the world.
Onur Ali, Study Program: International Economic Relations
Erasmus+ Student at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, Turkey
My name is Edin and I was part of Erasmus+ programme. When my friends first told me about this programme I wasn’t really sure if I should go or not, but later I decided to do it, and it is a decision I will never regret. I did my Erasmus in Turkey and it was beyond expectations; good and very important experience. What I experienced there I don’t think I would have somewhere else. I personally thank whoever created this project and it helped me a lot, and I really recommend this to any student and also looking forward to joining other Erasmus projects myself.
Edin Jakupi, Study Program: International Economic Relations
Erasmus+ Student at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, Turkey
Being part of Erasmus+ is a huge thing to me and helped me in countless ways. When I was in Erasmus in Turkey my Erasmus host friends were so helpful and kind to me, so I was determined that when I come back I will definitely help others as they have helped me. Being a mentor is good and challenging sometimes, but after I help foreign students I feel so good that I regret not a single second being a mentor. The biggest benefits I get is the interaction with other cultures and seeing that there are other beautiful and unique cultures and I am truly thankful to IBU giving me this chance.
Suat Abdulla, Study Program: English Language Teaching
Erasmus+ Student at Gazi University, Turkey
“I came to International Balkan University to meet new culture and to study with a new education system. Professors of IBU treated me as if I were their regular student and they gave me important information for my education. Thanks to the synthesis of the characteristics of many countries in Skopje, I was able to see many cultures together. And also when I come to Skopje, I didn’t feel like I’m away from my family and friends, because I had a new family and friends thanks to IBU. So my Erasmus program has achieved its goal with amazing memories”
Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Turkey
Student Mobility for Studies
“Why I chose IBU? My college only sends Erasmus student to 3 schools in Europe. The other 2 options were selected so I came to Macedonia. I haven’t expected a lot, but thanks to my friends and mentors my Erasmus adventure went well. City (Skopje) is small but beautiful and the Vardar River’s scenery was great. Macedonian center and square are great places for meetings. People in Macedonia are very nice and warm. I recommend to see this city and find friends also have fun when doing these.”
Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Turkey
“Firstly, studying at an international university, meeting with students which came from different countries and cultures, see different places, all of these, sounded good. As a result, I think that I experienced a good Erasmus process. I have my friends in other countries because of Erasmus study. You, international Erasmus office staff in IBU, helped us. And also, I liked Skopje and some other cities such as Bitola. People are friendly.”
Akdeniz University, Turkey
“Bonjour, I am a French student who was in Macedonia for 4 months to studying. I had the luck to be in IBU, an amazing school with really nice teachers and educators. Macedonia is so different from France. Food, architecture, way of living, are different. This Erasmus trip was a perfect exchange, I learned a lot about the country, about others (Macedonian, Turkish, Polish, …) and by the same way about myself. I am sure, one day to come back to this country to see how it’s changed. I would like to thank everyone who helped me during this exchange! Merci beaucoup et a bientot (thanks a lot and see you soon).“
Catholic Institute for Higher Studies, France
“I chose the International Balkan University, because I wanted to visit Macedonia. I wanted to go where Alexander the Great was, and to visit the Balkan countries. International Balkan University’s English education system is very nice. My English was not so good when I went to Macedonia. I developed my English with my friends I met there. Erasmus coordinator professor and assistant of the university took care of us and always tried to help. The other teachers were very good at teaching and always helped me. I was very pleased with my teachers and assistant friends there. I would like to tell you at the end of the university Rectorate and our Erasmus coordinator teachers, thank you very much for everything and for your help. I love you IBU.”
Ardahan University, Turkey
Student Mobility for Traineeships
Apart from the Erasmus+ Student Mobility for Studies, IRO also hosted 2 Erasmus+ Incoming Students for Traineeships during March and April 2019. The students Monika Szarek and Krzysztof Mlyczyński, who came from Pontifical University of John Paul II, Poland, were helping with the activities in the International Relations Office, they were helping Erasmus+ Incoming Students, and their main project was to conduct the concept and collect all materials for this particular IRO Newsletter.
“When I started this field of study my main goal was to go for Erasmus. Now I may say I am an old stager as Macedonia is my third project abroad. My first try was Slovenia, second, which was a different project, was Greece, and I still felt this deep longing for more. I wanted to learn and experience more so I decided to go for an internship. I chose Macedonia because I once fell in love with the Balkans and wanted to get to know it better. My first impression here in Skopje was a bit of a shock as I expected something slightly different, but the longer I lived here, the more I felt settled.
I met wonderful people, friends I hope, I made my dream come true and, what is most important, learned a lot about myself. I again gained a place that I will never forget and will always be willing to come back to.
Erasmus+ Trainee at IBU International Relations Office
The first question I heard before leaving my country was: why Macedonia? I wasn’t able to explain it in simple words. Today, I would simply say: Macedonia, that’s obvious! A place where the history meets the present, and different cultures exist side by side. A country of wonderful and helpful people. Coming for Erasmus was the best choice, and working in IRO with a great team gives, what is most important, satisfaction and certainty that the time spent in Skopje will not be wasted.
Erasmus+ Trainee at IBU International Relations Office
Katarzyna Pyniaha, was an Erasmus+ Student for Studies to IBU throughout the academic year 2017/2018 and also an Erasmus+ Traineeship Student at the IBU International Relations Office in the Summer/Autumn period in 2018. She is one of the students that have unique story: Spending two semester at IBU, doing traineeship at the IBU International Relations Office while working for the Polish Embassy in North Macedonia taking part in various volunteering activities at IBU as well as graduating at War Studies University in between. As she still lives in Skopje, her story and experience are truly breathtaking!
“The first impression is that it is a country of coffee, cigarettes and peppers.” After a while, there is also something more – it is also a country full of contrasts, openness, helpful people and differences that do not prevent people from respecting one another.”
For some people, Erasmus is an adventure for one semester. Valuable, but for a short moment. However, among many stories like this there are also more developed ones like the Erasmus+ Success Story of Katarzyna Pyniaha from War Studies University, Poland, who lived the opportunity offered by foreign exchange to the fullest.
The story of Katarzyna’s Macedonian adventure begins in the line to the office of one of her professors. After a failed exam, a dozen or so people stood at the door of the lecturer. But there was no line at the Erasmus office, so Katarzyna went there – “I worked in a cafe for half a year, I got bored of it because I had already achieved everything that could be achieved there, I had learned how to do the job and thought it would be enough. It was March, some kind of difficult time for me and I decided that I needed to do something with my life.” At the beginning, the plan was completely different. Katarzyna wanted to do an internship at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland in Warsaw. This plan did not really work out, but a new one appeared – why not combine the Erasmus exchange with the traineeship in a diplomatic establishment in some Ministry of Foreign Affairs? “At that time I was choosing between Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Macedonia. I knew that I would not be able to do it in Spain or France, because there are plenty of volunteers, so I had to go to a country that is less popular. That’s how I chose Macedonia.”
Katarzyna quickly felt the time spent in Skopje was too short. Like most students, initially she went to Macedonia only for one semester, but already in November she felt that this is not the end of this adventure, that she wants to experience more. From the beginning, she tried to implement a plan to combine studies with an internship at a diplomatic mission. From September, she regularly kept sending emails to the embassy, but without any success. The Christmas period, however, brought an unexpected shift. Katarzyna went to a restaurant with a friend, where they heard people speaking Polish. It turned out that was an ambassador with his wife. Katarzyna later stayed for the next semester to get to know Macedonia better. At that time, she met with the wife of the ambassador, who, when she learned what Katarzyna’s field of studies was, told her to send the application to the embassy again. This time it was different – “Around March, Miss Consul called me. She said that she has a job for me, because there was a girl who was about to quit the job, like in next two months and they need someone who will be trained at this time and will be here, knows the culture and language a bit.” She had three days to decide. At the same time, she volunteered at the International Relations Office at IBU to take full advantage of the opportunity. It was not easy to work in two places at the same time, spend half a day in one office, then the other half in the next, but it paid off – “I just wanted to do the practice and go home, and it turned out that I got a job right away! Erasmus gives you lots of opportunities. ”
Studying at IBU was a nice change for the Polish girl – “I was surprised how you can experience education in a different way. When I came here that was a shock for me that the lecturer speaks just for a moment and then ¾ the lecture is a discussion.” Katarzyna also appreciated the possibility of expressing her own opinion during the classes and sharing the perspectives of various countries. Also important was the experience of lecturers who are practitioners and share knowledge gained at work in a given field.
How Katarzyna perceives Macedonia? – “The first impression is that it is a country of coffee, cigarettes and peppers.” After a while, there is also something more – it is also a country full of contrasts, openness, helpful people and differences that do not prevent people from respecting one another.” Katarzyna also liked this kind of easiness and chill in the Balkans, which is often difficult to notice in Poland that is still in a rush for something. Here people are less in a hurry, have more time for themselves and each other. Katarzyna appreciated Macedonia for a solid lesson of tolerance – “Traveling and living in another place, even for a month, is an amazingly mind-opening experience. I recommend this trip to everyone.”