Out-going Exchange




STUDENT TESTIMONIALS

My ERASMUS experience at La Salle, Barcelona in 2016/2017 - Chiaraluna Giontella, BA(Hons) Marketing

 During my third year of university at the University of the West of Scotland I took part in the Erasmus + program where I got the chance to live and study for one year in Barcelona, Spain.  As mentioned I choose to study abroad for both trimesters of my third year because I wanted to immerge myself in the Spanish culture and I don’t think that one trimester would have been enough.

The host university is La Salle University in Barcelona, it’s an international university where all the classes are taught in English, however there are also first and second year classes that are taught in Spanish.  To match the number of credits that students do at UWS, I had to take 6 classes each semester compared to 3 classes at UWS. At first the idea of doubling the number of classes that I had to take was scary but as soon as I got to choose my classes I saw the big benefit because I could also take classes that I am interested in and I wouldn’t get the chance to take at UWS.


At UWS I am in class about 9h each week, and there is a lot of independent studying. At La Salle I was at university an average of 16 to 20 hours each week.  While at UWS each day is dedicated to one module, the university in Barcelona was working more like an high school where in one day I had 3 or 4 different classes and each class lasted 1.20h.

I am a Marketing student, but at La Salle there wasn’t a specific marketing degree; the university degree was a “Management in Business and Technology” degree with minors in Marketing, Sports Media, Finance and Economics.  I found the university overall more demanding than UWS, probably due to the fact that I was at university more hours and I was taking double the classes. However, I loved the fact that I got to take part in many live projects where real companies were coming to university to talk us through the project.

My favourite project was the one for the Euroleague of Basketball where the Digital Marketing Manager of the Euroleague came to University to talk to us about the company and what it expected us to do. We had one month to analyse the engagement of fans on social media and collect qualitative data to analyse what the league could do to improve the engagement. At the end of the project my group got chosen to present the findings to the manager of the Euroleague.

Talking about the classes I took, I matched almost all the classes that other students took at UWS; the only class that wasn’t offered in Barcelona is a Digital Marketing class.  However, I got the chance to take a few classes of sports marketing and PR, which I am very interested in and is something that UWS doesn’t offer.  To still acquire the knowledge in Digital Marketing I got an internship in Digital Marketing for 9 months which I think gave me more knowledge than any class could have given me.  The internship was fully in English as it was for a UK company with the offices in Barcelona.

Housing wise, I had a few problems finding a place I could call home.  When I was still in Scotland I researched the university and areas of the city and being the university a bit far away from the city centre I decided not to live in the university accommodations.  I decided to arrive one week before the beginning of classes in Barcelona, taking a hotel and in the meantime looking for a place while I was there.  One week was not nearly enough to find a place because rent is absurdly high compared to other cities in Europe. For a small room where there was space only for the bed and a closet I paid €450 plus bills.  I was sub-renting the room – which is illegal in Barcelona – and paying an absurd price.  I then decided to leave that house because it was way too expensive and during the second semester I moved with 3 people I met at university. This second flat was not in the city centre ( but it was just 5 metro stops from Placa Catalunya) for for a room equally as small I was paying €350 each month plus bills.  I found the rent situation very difficult in Barcelona because as said before the rent is very very high and the Erasmus money cover barely half of the average rent.  Many people try to rent out crazy small rooms for absurd prices, they advertise the room online and make you sign the contract online without giving you the chance to see the room until you move in.

If there is a suggestion I can give to people looking to go to Barcelona is to be very careful when looking for a room, is better to invest some money to take a hotel room for 1-2 weeks and look at the room you will end up renting. Don’t trust ads online that don’t let you see the place.  Overall my experience in Barcelona has been very positive and I would absolutely recommend it. The university is amazing and is a really good start to build the CV with projects.  Being Barcelona a start-up hub (it’s called the Silicon Valley of Europe) is easy to find internships to build up the CV and kick off the career.


 

My Year Abroad (2016/2017), by Stuart Parker, BA(Hons) Business

If you find yourself reading this there is a high possibility that you are pondering over whether an ERASMUS term abroad is the right thing for you. Well ponder no more because the answer is most definitely YES!

My interest in living in Europe was actually born long before my time at UWS began. When I was 15 and in high school I took part in a week-long exchange trip in a small town in the South of Germany. This short week opened my eyes to huge difference in the lives that our fellow Europeans live, ranging from the rich cultural attractions to the efficient infrastructure of the country. Up until I began my studies at the University the hope of living there was only a hope that I thought was unlikely to materialise. This was until I learned about the ERASMUS+ program, the opportunity to live in an amazing country while continuing with your studies and makes friends from all over the world? Sign me up!

I swiftly searched for further information on the UWS website and this prompted me to get into contact with my school coordinator- Nondas Pitticas who was very helpful and guided me through the paperwork and helped me choose a University that was suited towards my program of study. This city was Dortmund, this was great for me as the appeal of the huge football team alone was enough to drive me crazy with excitement. I was being sent to a well renowned German business school called the ‘International School of Management’ which this year received an award for being the best private business school in the whole country. Not only was I going to live in an amazing city I was being sent to an amazing institution which will now look great on my CV and I was lucky enough to study for free in a school that normally has high fees for students.

Along with all of these amazing factors mentioned it is also important to note that for doing all this we were receiving financial help to boot. This came in the form of a grant that allowed me some financial security and aid. It is also important to note that the University were very helpful in guiding you through the paperwork process that can seem daunting at first.

Anyway, enough about the process, let’s talk about the experience itself. I arrived in Germany mid-March, this would be the first time I would be away from my family for any length of time and the first time I would be living on my own (without my mum to do my washing). I was anxious and full of excitement at the same time. I went to my new accommodation which was superbly located near the modern and sleek university campus (which had a monorail running around it) and great transport links into the city such as bus and subway. My induction was like a dream come true, we were shown around the lovely campus and I was introduced to all of my new class mates, of which none of them were British. As part of our welcome to the ISM we were given free match tickets to the Borussia Dortmund (BVB) game that evening, this was amazing for me as it is one of the most famous teams in the world with their famous support. This evening gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other in a more casual and sociable setting. To add to this the Uni also provided us with a VIP area in the local night club with lots of alcohol to increase the social atmosphere. All of this was crazy to me but it just intensified my love for the Germans.

Our class which was made up of all international students were very close from the outset as we were all in a similar position. From the start, it was clear friendships that would last a lifetime were beginning to form. We did everything together from eating to class and most importantly drinking the local beer. This was something that was maintained until the very last day when we all struggled to hold back tears. I still speak to my ERASMUS friends every day and consider them my best friends. The bonds that we created on the dance floors of Germany's vast array of techno clubs will never be broken. It is crazy how close you can become with people when you don’t speak in a common tongue.

My experiences included watching BVB lift the German cup, spending king’s day in Amsterdam, walking the cobbled streets of Croatia, being in Madrid the night they won the Champions League and even finding love which came in the form of an amazing and very impressive Spanish girl who I now have plans to move to Germany with next year and continue the amazing Erasmus journey.

My life is now going on the path that I have always dreamed that it would and I can honestly say without UWS and the opportunity they have given me none of this would be possible. I now have amazing plans and am so excited for what the future holds. If I hadn’t taken part in the Erasmus exchange I would have most likely stayed in Paisley for the rest of my life and wondered what could have been.

I will forever be grateful and if this article has convinced you that ERASMUS+ is the right thing to do then I’m sure you will be too!


My Year Abroad (2014/2015), by Claire Simpson, BA(Hons) Business

My Year abroad was spent in Dortmund, Germany at the International School of Business. On this exchange year I studied International Business. 

It is relatively straight forward to organise. The main thing to think about is where do you want to go? (this depends if you want to study in English or in the language of the country you are choosing to study in, the more North you go in Europe, the more likely you are to find courses taught in English) and ensure that either your 2nd or 3rd year mandatory modules are going to be covered in the university you are visiting. Usually there will be at least 3 and max 6 modules in any given year you must cover to be accredited with you degree. My advice is set up a meeting with your course co-ordinator and ERASMUS co-ordinator and discuss this and ensure you are all in agreement as to what modules need to be covered and then you can go off and find out what universities match up. One piece of advice to remember is: In Europe they call it ECTS instead of Credits and they are also worth half the amount i.e. to be able to complete 20 ‘UWS credits’ you must complete 10 ECTS within Europe and most modules in Europe are only worth 5 ECTS. I would say that the modules worth 5 ECTS, there is less coursework required, usually only a coursework/presentation or exam.

When you are doing your research for the university you want to study in, don’t be afraid to call or email. They can provide a lot more information than is on their website.

Once it was been accepted that you are going to study abroad in Europe, you can apply for the ERASMUS grant, which for myself was €370/month which was enough to cover my rent (which included bills, internet, etc) and travel and some extra for food. In addition to this, when you apply for the ERASMUS grant, you do get slightly more of a standard student loan to help. In all, I had about €1000/month which was more than enough to live on and travel about the country and have a great social life, with no need to work while I was there.

My study was in English as I chose to go to Germany and then to an International university. They did offer an intensive Germany course at the beginning to help with living in Germany. For me, I didn’t speak much German however it was easy to pick up the basics for surviving the shops etc. I found that sometimes when I tried to speak German, a lot of people just spoke back to me in English as they are at a very high proficiency across the country.

I made lots of friends even in the first few days; those people that I met are still friends to this day. In fact we are having a reunion at New Year back in Dortmund, Germany were we studied. When studying in Europe, there is a thing called the Erasmus Network who organise a lot of parties and trips away for you at reasonable prices. It’s a great way to meet people and have fun.

I wholeheartedly believe that the internship I had during the summer with Scottish Power and now my grad job with Royal Mail was helped so much with using my experience from going abroad. Not only does going abroad on your own given you that inner confidence but also opens you up to other ways of thinking about things and approaching things. By going abroad, it shows a lot of key behaviours are traits employers are looking for in the employees, especially graduates: Resilience, Team working, determination, problem solving, etc. It also is a talking point in interviews for jobs and stands out for recruiters when reviewing your applications; remember when you are applying for jobs, hundreds of other people are applying for the same role, you need to stand out! I know work for Royal Mail in London on the HR Grad scheme and we were told on our induction the over 9000 people applied for all the Graduate Scheme and only 90 people were chosen across HR, Finance, Technology, Commercial and Operations.

I would thoroughly recommend anyone to go abroad if they can to study, even if it is only for one semester (September – December) or the full year (September – June, remember you will get loads of time to relax and enjoy the country and come home if you like for a bit).

Claire Simpson, BA(Hons) Business – 16th October 2015


Malgorzata Kuleta, BA(Hons) Business - Level 9 (2016/2017)

Thank you so much, I absolutely love it here (European University at Madrid). I will be forever grateful to you and UWS for giving me such an opportunity.
Gosia, 29th September 2016


Research has shown the following interesting statistics on those achieving either a first class or a 2:1 degree, depending on their engagement or not on international mobility.

  Mobile students Non-mobile students
 All students 88% 69%
 Students from disadvantaged backgrounds 82% 65%
 Non-language students

 87% 69%

When it comes to employment and career development, research has shown that:

  • 92% of employers are looking for transversal skills such as curiosity, problem-solving skills, tolerance and confidence when recruiting
  • 64% of employers think international experience is important for recruitment (this figure was just 37% ten years ago)
  • 64% of employers say graduates with an international background are given greater professional responsibility

ERASMUS+ increases all these skills!  Studying abroad will give you: a different cultural experience, a new perspective to student studies, additional value to your CV, developed great skills in at least one language and an international network of friends.  Last, but not least, it is great fun!  More than 3M students have participated in the programme and the UWS School of Business & Enterprise has more than 70 partners across Europe.  Students can either study or work elsewhere in Europe and, as you can read in one of the testimonials above, funding is available too.

When should you go?  The best time for your intended mobility is during your level 9 study year.  You can choose either one or two semesters study placement and/or 2-12 months of work placement.  All academic credit  earned while studying abroad, will be fully recognised upon your return to UWS.

What does it cost to study in Europe?  Eligible students receive an ERASMUS+ grant which, of course, differs from country to country.  You will not be asked to pay any tuition fees at the host university and you will still be eligible for student loans and SAAS where applicable, as you are still a UWS student (studying, for all intends and purposes, at an external campus).  Although opportunities do exist for studying in institutions not covered by the ERASMUS+ programme (i.e. not in Europe), funding is not available.  If you are still interested, you should speak to me to learn more.