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Muhamed Halkić- his experience of being an exchange student

1.Can you introduce yourself? (Name, age, faculty/university)

I’m Muhamed Halkić, 25 years old (26 in June). I study software development at the Faculty of information technologies in Mostar, Dzemal Bijedic University of Mostar.

2. If you’d have to use one word to describe your Erasmus experience, which word would it be (and why)?

Foreigner. You experience how it’s like to be a foreigner in a country you don’t know the language and the customs of the locals. Some people welcome you and try to help you as much as possible (mostly because they had the same problems somewhere else or in the same town), some just like to make fun of the fact you don’t understand their mother tongue. It can be fun and challenging both ways.

3. What was your first impression of your host country/city? Would you choose it again?

People didn’t really care if I understood them or not. Most of them can’t understand nor speak English at all. If you don’t mention “google translate” they continue to be stubborn and talk to you in Turkish even though they notice you can’t understand them. Turkey is an awesome place to visit, especially if you are an exchange student, but I would not recommend Erzurum.  It’s cold and far away from the most attractive places, but it’s an experience on its own, which I don’t regret.

4. What did you learn?

Not to be shy asking for a favor or help.

5. What do you tell people when they ask you how was your Erasmus experience? Would you do it again?

It was an experience that I will always remember. I would do it as many times as possible.

6. What was the most memorable experience that you had during your stay?

It was the first time we decided to visit another city which was far away.  We met a lot of people and one of them asked us to visit him in Kars (Sarikamiš) to ski with him. I suddenly remembered how far I am actually from home, from the life I was living in Bosnia. It gave me a feeling that is very hard to explain. I got the same feeling tomorrow morning during my trip to Kars. I was alone because they stayed in Sarikamiš to ski which I couldn’t because of my knee injury. It was, maybe, the first time to experience and feel how it is to travel far away from home, far away from yourself.

7. What would you have wanted to know before going on Erasmus?

To know how to travel. For example, to book a hotel before the trip. I had to stay in Istanbul before my flight to Erzurum. I didn’t book a hotel so they charged me more. Happens. I guess.

8. Do you have any advice for other students?

Sometimes it’s not good to be yourself. You have to be stronger. Learn English. It’s going to be hard if you don’t know any foreign language. It might break you, but you got to be strong and live with hardships. It’s what life is.

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