My name is Alicia Martinez and I am from Spain, a student from the University of Almeria.
The choice of my Erasmus city was totally accidental. I had been thinking for some time about the Erasmus experience, to do it during the third year of my studies, in 2021. So, me being a well-organized person, I decided to first visit the International relations office at my university. They proposed me to do the exchange for the second semester of this same year. It's not what I had in mind but... Why not?
They showed me destinations I could go to. And there I saw it... That enchanting place, with an antique style that made you transport yourself instantly to the old Yugoslavia, a long river crossing the city, the famous Old Bridge, and a lot of nature around (and I love nature!) So, without thinking about it for a second, I said: I WILL DO IT AND THIS IS MY DESTINATION! I started to investigate more about the city, its past, its most emblematic places, and its culture. I knew I was getting into a completely different adventure than what I am used to.
As it was a spontaneous and last-minute decision, I didn't have much time for the preparations as usual but, the UNMO buddies and some Erasmus students who were there years before helped me with EVERYTHING I needed and even more (accommodation, better connections to get there, mobile internet, banks, etc). I'm using this opportunity here, again, to thank you and ask for forgiveness for being so annoying with so many questions.
When I arrived in Mostar, I was lucky to have Erasmus students who were there the first semester and still had not returned to their countries, so they helped me with the adaptation to the city. I also had the opportunity to meet the great ESN team.
As it is not a very famous destination among the Erasmus community, there were very few Erasmus people, so that helped us to interact more with the locals (a really great idea). The residents of the city of Mostar are the nicest people I know. They are all friendly and helpful. They taught me their culture, their traditions, and their past. Getting to know all this has been one of the things I value most about my stay in Mostar. I've learned a lot.
But a few weeks after my arrival... COVID-19 arrived. I received a lot of support from "Dzemal Bijedic" University of Mostar; all the professors made sure I was fine and offered me their help for anything I needed. But without a doubt, the International relations office was a great support in this situation. 10/10
I was not able to take all subjects I wanted online, because some were offered in Bosnian, but the ones I was able to attend were really well organized so that there was not much difference from not being able to attend them in the classroom, due to the quarantine. So, with respect to the professor of my career (tourism), the level of my subject, and especially what I learned I am super satisfied. 10/10
During the confinement, the situation was not as bad as in Spain so here in Mostar I could go for a walk (with gloves and mask of course) and this is what made me fall in love with the city. Every day at 7 pm I went out for a walk in the empty streets, I would have never thought to see something like that but, at the same time, it was something special. I was able to see every corner of the city and on my way home I was always accompanied by the incredible pink sunset.
When the quarantine was over, and the city was slowly returning to a normal situation, it was spring (my favorite season) and Mostar seemed like a fairy tale. The mountains dressed in green, the Old t+Town full of colorful flowers, around the river abundant of trees.
I was able to make plans again with my friends, swim in the cold river, spend the afternoons drinking the delicious Bosnian coffee, visit the small villages around, spend the night close to the river, enjoy the live Bosnian music, visit the stunning waterfalls, climb to the hill and admire the magic of the night and thousands of other wonderful escapades.
Without a doubt, my Erasmus at the UNMO was a great decision and even though COVID-19 happened, I came back to Spain with special people in my heart, magical landscapes, and incredible experiences.
I know that my story in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not over yet, so...
See you soon!