Diary of an Erasmus Student

Sociology, Criminology and Deviance student, Jessica Silva Freitas, studied at Karlova University in Prague on an Erasmus Exchange this year and has shared her experiences with us.

I would 100% recommend students to go on an Erasmus exchange. When I was given this opportunity, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for it. I asked my partner what his opinion was and my best friends and they all told me to go for it as it is an amazing opportunity[: …] you might not get it again. So I decided to go through with applying to see if they accepted me and they did. I was over the moon, I was so excited to go to another country, learn their culture, just being able to live somewhere else! It was hard leaving family, friends and my partner behind but it was all worth it! I still managed to go visit them during the weekends which wasn’t too bad.

During my time in Prague as Erasmus student, I have learnt so much about myself: I learnt to be more independent (not having to depend on anybody), I learnt to live in another country alone not knowing their language and […tried] my hardest to learn the basics. Believe it or not, I managed to keep on top of my tasks (assignments) and not stressing. The most important thing I learnt while away is loving myself. I found myself again while being away from everyone.

Prague is a beautiful place, it was my first time coming here and I loved it! The buildings, the history behind Prague is incredible. When you first come here, you can struggle as the money currency, transport, the culture is all different, but you get the hang of it. The best parts of Prague is meeting new people all over the world (Spain, Portugal, Italy, America, Poland, Germany etc..). I know I have made friends for life.

Studying in Prague, you have so many opportunities that the university provides. The student union even manages for students to go abroad; how crazy is that! They create events such as going abroad in Croatia, Poland, Germany and even the towns in Czech Republic.[There are a mixture of courses in Prague] where you can decide which [ones] you [want to] pick. At the beginning it’s confusing because you [have] to enroll again […] and there might be the possibility where the course may be packed and you have to go on the waiting list. But the best part is that they give you a week to ‘try out’ the course and if you don’t like it, you can drop out. I found [this] really useful and I picked over seven modules to try out and ended up with four at the end.

The student life around here is so good! It is up to you if you want to go out or not; there are many nightclubs around Prague [and] I have only experienced a few. They are all good! My favourite is Roxy (depends on the day you go, there are a mixture of genres). It is really cheap in Prague, just make sure you don’t buy something straight away before you see other stores as some might be cheaper and the same value.


There are many beautiful sightseeing places, lots of museums, many shopping centres (who doesn’t love a good shopping spree and food afterwards!)


I would advise students to prepare themselves for the changes: you may get home sick for a couple of weeks (depending on who you are). Also, be prepare to be independent it is not a scary thing, it is actually a really good thing! Travel as much as you can wherever you are! Be confident and believe in yourselves.
Wishing everyone luck if you go studying abroad. Best wishes X



Erasmus+: Proud to Promote Student Mobility

Understand another way of life ~ more independent and improved English Language Skills ~ Teaching and Learning style is very different but easy to adapt to ~ was able to integrate well and joined the musical theatre society” 

In 2014, Staffordshire University was awarded an Erasmus Standard University Charter in order to participate in the Erasmus+ programme.

The Erasmus+ is a programme that promotes student mobility, by providing opportunities for Higher Education students to work or study abroad at one of our partner institutions in Europe (for a minimum of two months and a maximum of twelve months). A grant is available to assist with the extra costs.

Students must be registered on a full time degree, study for a minimum of three months and the study time must count for credit towards their degree. Work placements can be credit bearing (compulsory) or non-credit bearing (voluntary).

The first Erasmus newsletter was published in February and introduced Wendy Pollard, Erasmus Co-ordinator.

The first students from the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, will be beginning their Erasmus+ programme in January in Prague. However, we also have students from our partner institutions studying here at Staffordshire University. A student from France, studying on one of our Sociology courses, said the experience has made her ‘more culturally aware’, enhanced her future career skills and made her ‘more open minded’; she ‘learned more about [the varying] social environment[s] more deeply involved in different areas of sociology’. Whilst studying here, she ‘went on a trip to Manchester for Research Methods’ and had ‘the opportunity to travel around the country – Scotland to London’.

~ Not just for Students ~

Erasmus is not just for students; there are opportunities available in training or teaching mobility. Staff are able to teach at our partner institutions for a minimum of five days and a maximum of six weeks. Training opportunities are available to all staff as long as it meets the criteria of the European Union.

‘The training enables members of staff to acquire knowledge or specific know how from experience and good practices abroad, as well as develop practical skills that are relevant for their current role or as part of their professional development. So examples would be job-shadowing, study visits or relevant conferences or training.’

There was a huge uptake of around 50 teaching and attending training events last year. Sue Lee, E-Learning Manager at Staffordshire University, said “taking part in a Staff Training week in Sweden was a great experience. I learned a lot and enjoyed it. I met lots of interesting people from all over Europe; Spain, Hungary, France, Germany, Romania and more. Our Swedish hosts made us very welcome with activities that ranged from discussions in small groups to “A crash course in Swedish”, and more importantly, an introduction to “Swedish Fika” – Coffee and cake at every opportunity! I’d recommend taking part in the Erasmus program to everyone, I wish I’d known about it before.”

To find out more about opportunities available under Erasmus, contact Wendy Pollard at erasmus@staffs.ac.uk or on 01785 353404.

Why Study or Work Abroad?

Students (eligible to claim for 12 months’ support per study cycle, i.e. degree level, masters, etc.):
• 12 month sandwich placements – this would sit as part of the student’s degree programme (we currently only have Computing doing this)
• Summer placement (minimum 2 month) – this would be work experience and does not have to link to the student’s degree; see www.erasmusintern.org
• Study abroad (minimum 3 months but could be up to 1 year) – this would be with a partner university and Wendy Pollard would work with the Staffordshire University course leader and the partner organisation to facilitate this. This would involve setting up an inter-institutional agreement if there is not one already in place
• Recent Graduate Scheme – if the student secures a work opportunity overseas (fixed term or permanent) prior to graduation they are able to claim up to 12 months funding – this is assuming they haven’t already used their allocation of Erasmus funding during their study

Staff (academic and professional support):
• Training weeks at any educational institution or organisation which could involve job shadowing or organised international weeks; minimum 2 day visit and minimum of 8 hours of activity per week – see www.staffmobility.eu/staff-week-search
• Teaching (minimum 2 day visit and minimum of 8 hours per week) at a partner institution where we have an interinstitutional agreement in place
• Scoping visits to establish partnerships (educational or commercial)
• Staff placement visits for those students on 12 month placemen