Interview with an erasmus student in Greece (Συνέντευξη από έναν Ερασμίτη)

Ο J.Goosen είναι από την Ολλανδία και ήταν για ένα χρονο φοιτητής με το πρόγραμμα εράσμους στο Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο ως φοιτητής πληροφορικής. Παρακάτω ακολουθεί μια συνέντευξη που αποτυπώνει τις κυριότερες εντυπώσεις του. 

J.Goosen is an erasmus student from Holland who chose Aristoteles Univeristy of Thessaloniki for his erasmus studies in the field of Informatics. He talks about his experiences with erasmous and specifically erasmus in Thessaloniki, Greece.

so why did you go to erasmus for in the first place?

Because I hang out a lot with people that are on erasmus in Holland and they always seemed to have a nice time. And I have always been thinking to move abroad and this was a nice way to test-drive this.

ok and why did you choose greece as destination?

First of all, the nice weather, second of all because it's in a corner of Europe I have never really been. And we are close to places like Athens, Istanbul and of course lots and lots of ruins, which I enjoy seeing.

so your reasons for erasmus had to do more with experience than education?

yes...
Also, not to be mean about it, but if education would have been my main goal, the destination would probably not have been Greece..

so you almost finished your time here, how would you describe the experience?

Very nice and interesting in two words.

was the one year you were here too much or not?

nope, I would have liked to stay for summer as well to be honest.

would you suggest it to your friends back in holland?

It depends what they want to do.
if they want to have a good and interesting time, or if they want to see that our news reports are full of bullshit, then yes I would totally tell them to go here. But if they want to study superhard and stuff like that.. I would discourage them.

so your news report misleading information about the situations here?in what way?

They are telling stuff like the general strike from 2 days ago is "crippling the country" which is bullshit of course. Or that there are now riots in Athens! And yeah sure they might be a bit worse than before but it's not like they just started rioting in Greece or something. And then of course there are politicians telling nonsense like Greeks being to lazy and it all being their own fault, while in reality its all a bit more subtle than that.

if you could go back in time would you change your erasmus destination?

nope
But then again, I dont know how nice the  other places  are/were ;)

what was the best thing you liked here?

Uhm, the nightlife

and the worse?

Well I can think of  some  small things that I wasn't particulary happy about, but nothing really bad.
Let me put it like this: Organization
Not knowing when your exams are until a week or two beforehand. If its sunday and you need a pharmacy even though the whole city is filled with them it's still hard to find one
Just finding out which hospital to go to on a specific day is all not that easy if you don't speak greek either. But that would be it,  but maybe that's just because I'm used to Holland where it is quite the opposite, as far as scheduling and planning and that stuff is like.

yeah...talking about that, did you find the welcoming and helpfulness of our university to erasmus students satisfying?

well, from what I  heard from other students it wasn't even that bad at Informatics. But it was sometimes  a bit frustrating to just understand what was going on. But at least my lecturers responded to email usually. I heard from my housemate in the first semester that he had appointments made and they just didn't show up. So compared to that it was wonderful for me :)

would you suggest something to change?

Well, yeah, but I guess this problem is a bit bigger than just the  university. And besides saying, stop doing what you've always been doing, I wouldn't know how you could change this.. I don't know what's the problem..

so what tips would you give to a future erasmus student in greece?

try to learn at least the greek alphabet before you leave and don't be stressed but relax, because otherwise you are going to make yourself way more frustrated than is necessary. And visit lot's of taverna's ;)

What's your favorite area in thessaloniki?

Probably, around rotunda. Or otherwise maybe between suggrou and plateia aristotelous or the university campus

did you find the prices affordable?

It depends, the rents here are a lot better than back home. But the prices in shops and supermarkets are roughly the same as in Holland.. And in most bars the drinks are way more expensive. But if you know where to go the price level is ok

did you find easily people to hang out?

Well, finding erasmus people to hang out with was easy as breathing but trying to meet greek people was not so easy. Of course I know some now ;)

why was it not so easy to meet locals? 

Well I guess it's the difference, the locals already have circles of friends and  I would be the one stranger that nobody knows yet. While for the erasmus we basically all start from the same position, knowing no one, and we're all in the same situation, so it's easier to connect with eachother. But I guess if I had actually been able to speak greek it would've been easier ;)

other than that, did you find locals behaviour friendly?

Yeah sure, most people I talked to were friendly enough :)

did you find the difference in culture intriguing or annoying?

Hmm, it was mostly interesting, but then again most people I was hanging out with weren't really that different from me to be honest.. I guess there you have some unconscious selection going on. But on the whole it was definitely more intriguing! Not annoying at all *laughing*

or maybe if you hanged out with more locals you would understand more difference and learning the culture better, right?

for instance yeah

was the first period of adapting difficult?

Hmm, not really. The only thing I had to, for my feeling, adapt to was the alphabet :p And trying to find out where everything is

but did you learn it in the end?

the alphabet I learned in a few weeks, from the bus!

So, you found something useful in our buses! *sarcasm*

Don't complain about the buses! Even with the raising of the prices and limiting of the number of lines you can take with one, they are still cheaper than back home. And they go more often

ok then..so did you miss back home?

Not really, the only thing that I missed was some friends and the forests and parks.

was it difficult to say goodbye to friends and family and maybe girlfriend when you left?

maybe if  I had a girlfriend it would have been difficult but for the rest.. Not really no.. I knew I would see everyone again and I was more preoccupied with going to another country then being sad about leaving the one I was in.

do you have any regrets from your time here?

That I didn't do as many courses as I could have.. Academically this year has not been what I would call effective.

Would you like to do some more activities you didn't have the time/opportunity?

Oh yeah, I would have loved to see more islands and ruins.

and what was the reason you didn't?

Noone togo with or lack of money/time

would you consider greece as a place to live your whole live?

no. maybe a summer home...

and why not?

I think that things  that don't bother me now would slowly get too annoying. And also, for work this is not a  particulary good place.. And I would miss good bread to much.. and other food and drink items actually... *laughing*

takling about food, how did you find greek food?

depends what kind of food we're talking about! The food in taverna's and other more traditional dishes: Delicious! Food from snackbars... Not so good. And then for the pastries (Bougatsa?), I like the one's with cheese, spinach and that kind of stuff but the sweet one's are just a bit too much for me

would you like to come back here some day?

yeah for sure! Not wanting to live here does not mean I don't like it here ;)

Well, thank you J. Hope to see you again! 
Thank you! Bye!

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Ταξιδιάρα Ψυχή - Travelling Soul: Interview with an erasmus student in Greece (Συνέντευξη από έναν Ερασμίτη)

Παρασκευή, 1 Ιουλίου 2011

Interview with an erasmus student in Greece (Συνέντευξη από έναν Ερασμίτη)

Ο J.Goosen είναι από την Ολλανδία και ήταν για ένα χρονο φοιτητής με το πρόγραμμα εράσμους στο Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο ως φοιτητής πληροφορικής. Παρακάτω ακολουθεί μια συνέντευξη που αποτυπώνει τις κυριότερες εντυπώσεις του. 

J.Goosen is an erasmus student from Holland who chose Aristoteles Univeristy of Thessaloniki for his erasmus studies in the field of Informatics. He talks about his experiences with erasmous and specifically erasmus in Thessaloniki, Greece.

so why did you go to erasmus for in the first place?

Because I hang out a lot with people that are on erasmus in Holland and they always seemed to have a nice time. And I have always been thinking to move abroad and this was a nice way to test-drive this.

ok and why did you choose greece as destination?

First of all, the nice weather, second of all because it's in a corner of Europe I have never really been. And we are close to places like Athens, Istanbul and of course lots and lots of ruins, which I enjoy seeing.

so your reasons for erasmus had to do more with experience than education?

yes...
Also, not to be mean about it, but if education would have been my main goal, the destination would probably not have been Greece..

so you almost finished your time here, how would you describe the experience?

Very nice and interesting in two words.

was the one year you were here too much or not?

nope, I would have liked to stay for summer as well to be honest.

would you suggest it to your friends back in holland?

It depends what they want to do.
if they want to have a good and interesting time, or if they want to see that our news reports are full of bullshit, then yes I would totally tell them to go here. But if they want to study superhard and stuff like that.. I would discourage them.

so your news report misleading information about the situations here?in what way?

They are telling stuff like the general strike from 2 days ago is "crippling the country" which is bullshit of course. Or that there are now riots in Athens! And yeah sure they might be a bit worse than before but it's not like they just started rioting in Greece or something. And then of course there are politicians telling nonsense like Greeks being to lazy and it all being their own fault, while in reality its all a bit more subtle than that.

if you could go back in time would you change your erasmus destination?

nope
But then again, I dont know how nice the  other places  are/were ;)

what was the best thing you liked here?

Uhm, the nightlife

and the worse?

Well I can think of  some  small things that I wasn't particulary happy about, but nothing really bad.
Let me put it like this: Organization
Not knowing when your exams are until a week or two beforehand. If its sunday and you need a pharmacy even though the whole city is filled with them it's still hard to find one
Just finding out which hospital to go to on a specific day is all not that easy if you don't speak greek either. But that would be it,  but maybe that's just because I'm used to Holland where it is quite the opposite, as far as scheduling and planning and that stuff is like.

yeah...talking about that, did you find the welcoming and helpfulness of our university to erasmus students satisfying?

well, from what I  heard from other students it wasn't even that bad at Informatics. But it was sometimes  a bit frustrating to just understand what was going on. But at least my lecturers responded to email usually. I heard from my housemate in the first semester that he had appointments made and they just didn't show up. So compared to that it was wonderful for me :)

would you suggest something to change?

Well, yeah, but I guess this problem is a bit bigger than just the  university. And besides saying, stop doing what you've always been doing, I wouldn't know how you could change this.. I don't know what's the problem..

so what tips would you give to a future erasmus student in greece?

try to learn at least the greek alphabet before you leave and don't be stressed but relax, because otherwise you are going to make yourself way more frustrated than is necessary. And visit lot's of taverna's ;)

What's your favorite area in thessaloniki?

Probably, around rotunda. Or otherwise maybe between suggrou and plateia aristotelous or the university campus

did you find the prices affordable?

It depends, the rents here are a lot better than back home. But the prices in shops and supermarkets are roughly the same as in Holland.. And in most bars the drinks are way more expensive. But if you know where to go the price level is ok

did you find easily people to hang out?

Well, finding erasmus people to hang out with was easy as breathing but trying to meet greek people was not so easy. Of course I know some now ;)

why was it not so easy to meet locals? 

Well I guess it's the difference, the locals already have circles of friends and  I would be the one stranger that nobody knows yet. While for the erasmus we basically all start from the same position, knowing no one, and we're all in the same situation, so it's easier to connect with eachother. But I guess if I had actually been able to speak greek it would've been easier ;)

other than that, did you find locals behaviour friendly?

Yeah sure, most people I talked to were friendly enough :)

did you find the difference in culture intriguing or annoying?

Hmm, it was mostly interesting, but then again most people I was hanging out with weren't really that different from me to be honest.. I guess there you have some unconscious selection going on. But on the whole it was definitely more intriguing! Not annoying at all *laughing*

or maybe if you hanged out with more locals you would understand more difference and learning the culture better, right?

for instance yeah

was the first period of adapting difficult?

Hmm, not really. The only thing I had to, for my feeling, adapt to was the alphabet :p And trying to find out where everything is

but did you learn it in the end?

the alphabet I learned in a few weeks, from the bus!

So, you found something useful in our buses! *sarcasm*

Don't complain about the buses! Even with the raising of the prices and limiting of the number of lines you can take with one, they are still cheaper than back home. And they go more often

ok then..so did you miss back home?

Not really, the only thing that I missed was some friends and the forests and parks.

was it difficult to say goodbye to friends and family and maybe girlfriend when you left?

maybe if  I had a girlfriend it would have been difficult but for the rest.. Not really no.. I knew I would see everyone again and I was more preoccupied with going to another country then being sad about leaving the one I was in.

do you have any regrets from your time here?

That I didn't do as many courses as I could have.. Academically this year has not been what I would call effective.

Would you like to do some more activities you didn't have the time/opportunity?

Oh yeah, I would have loved to see more islands and ruins.

and what was the reason you didn't?

Noone togo with or lack of money/time

would you consider greece as a place to live your whole live?

no. maybe a summer home...

and why not?

I think that things  that don't bother me now would slowly get too annoying. And also, for work this is not a  particulary good place.. And I would miss good bread to much.. and other food and drink items actually... *laughing*

takling about food, how did you find greek food?

depends what kind of food we're talking about! The food in taverna's and other more traditional dishes: Delicious! Food from snackbars... Not so good. And then for the pastries (Bougatsa?), I like the one's with cheese, spinach and that kind of stuff but the sweet one's are just a bit too much for me

would you like to come back here some day?

yeah for sure! Not wanting to live here does not mean I don't like it here ;)

Well, thank you J. Hope to see you again! 
Thank you! Bye!

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