The sun enlightens colorful buildings on Eroilor Boulevard. Some of them are a bit old and in ruin, which make the charm of Cluj-Napoca.
Students from all around, mostly from Europe, discover new lights, new landscapes and a new way of living during their Erasmus experience.
Eleonora De Vitis is from Italy; she studies at the faculty of Law. For her, being part of the Erasmus experience is a personal achievement.
“I wanted to go away from my home city. I always have the wish to be independent, to live only with my strength”, she said.
She wanted to discover another culture, another country. De Vitis is always looking to improve herself and to be a better person.
Around 500 students arrive in Cluj Napoca each year, according to Ruxandra-Cristiana Coltea, local representative, PR coordinator and local board member of the Erasmus Student Network, ESN. Students who are counted are mostly from the university of “Babeș-Bolyai”, but also from the university of Art and the Polytechnic University.
The mission of the ESN is to take care of the international students, by planning trips and party and by offering discounts in local businesses.
“We also have the buddy if there are any troubles” Coltea said. Students, who applied for this, have a buddy. It is like a godfather, able to answer any kind of questions, someone who can provide help to resolve any kind of issues the student may have during his stay.
ESN volunteer also get involve in the city. The ESN international project has the goal to integrate the students into the community. Last semester, some students went to volunteer in an animal shelter.
Paula Hoffmeyer is studying at the European studies. She speaks French, English, German and she was learning Romanian before to leave. Hoffmeyer also had a Romanian friend before to go on Erasmus. She did an exchange with him, to get to know more about the place.
“My friend in Germany was initially my “Language Tandem” partner.” She said, “we met once or twice a week, I practiced Romanian and he practices some German”.
They spent much time together. The Romanian friend told about his country that Hoffmeyer wanted to discover it by herself.
Once in Cluj-Napoca, she likes her faculty but she also notices the history Romania keeps on its back.
“It is based on the French pattern, I can see this well”, she said.
She also likes to discover traditional places. One night, she went to show to watch a traditional Hungarian dance.
“I was really impressed, “She said, “I thought I would follow some classes but this year has to be relaxing, without any requirements.”
Nevertheless, Erasmus students have to attend some course to fill in their home’s requirements.
Maud Briard came from France. She is actually following the Erasmus Mundus program. Each semester during the two years of her master, she travels into another country. She studied human migration in France. Now, she is in Romania, and then she plan to go to Senegal.
Briard loves to travel. She was in Brazil for a year. Traveling is for her, a way to discover, to change yourself and to change how your think.
“When you are shy, you have to unshy yourself”, she said.
It is also important for her to integrate into the society. She is taking seriously her Romanian course, and she advices to anyone to do the same. Briard said Romanians are nice and helpful, even if they don’t speak English or French; they always try to help you out.
“What I like about Romania is the traditional food, and it is not so expensive.”
Briard also likes the cheap beers in Romania.
“I love the Ursus.” she said.
For her last semester, Briars has to choose to go back to France or to finalize her thesis in Cluj-Napoca.
“I am thinking of coming back here” , she said.