My Experience of Studying Abroad

My name is Samra Hodžić, and I am a student of Economics at the International University of Sarajevo. I spent past six months on Erasmus+ exchange at İstanbul Şehir University. That has also been best time of my student life.

Istanbul is among the most important economic, cultural and historical centers of the world, and is the world's fifth most popular tourist destination. Before this exchange, I felt confident and more than ready to live abroad, to meet new people, to get to know another country, and at the same time build my personal and professional network. I quickly realized that to be an Erasmus student is one of the best things a student can experience in their life. This is also the best way to learn about new cultures, customs, languages, and meet people from all over the world.

Before I went on this exchange, I was told that life would not be the same after ERASMUS+. That was completely true! I did not believe that I could be more open-minded than I had already been, but after 4 months of diversity around you, you just start to accept and enjoy every single thing you find around by just being part of it. You find new friends, people similar to you, coming from many different parts of the world with the same aim, which is to study and explore the place to which they have come. Then, your adventure begins. After a while you realize that you actually enjoy the traditional food of your host country, which at the beginning seemed strange or  you were indifferent about it.

You stop feeling as a foreigner and that place becomes your home. You cannot believe how fast you adapt to your new environment. You are happy when you are able to share your knowledge with the others, to talk to them about your country and culture, and look at their curious faces while answering to their questions. The quality of teaching methods, and the support to the learning process that we have received at İstanbul Şehir University was at a very high level. Thanks to very demanding projects that we have worked on, we learned how to cooperate in teams, plan and organize tasks and activities, and how to express ourselves more creatively.

After taking part in student mobility, I became more confident and convinced of my potentials, I got to know better my strengths and weaknesses, and became able to adapt and act in new situations. Time went by so fast, and before I realized what was happening the exchange was coming to an end. I was not ready to leave the dream that I was in.

I was also not ready to leave Istanbul, so I made a lot of effort to search for new opportunities to extend my stay there. An internship in Istanbul looked like a perfect opportunity to gather more experience similar to Erasmus. Thanks to the organization IAESTE, I applied and got accepted by an Istanbul based company called Parkyeri, which works in the field of software development, operations and consultancy. Since its foundation in 2001, it has been considered to be among the leaders with its solutions in mobile technology, Internet and database systems.

Together with interns from all over the world, I worked for a project called “Smart House”. The project is about smart homes, where you control everything by one touch. I was responsible for the marketing part of the project such as promotional materials, presentations, and flyers, but tasks related to the research were also part of my job. Together with other interns, and thanks to the employees of the company, we have learned a lot by working on this project. I believe that my chances to get a new or better job have increased now, and I also have a clearer idea about my professional aspirations and goals. For sure I would like to work in an international context.

Studying and working abroad is enjoyable and useful, and also a perfect opportunity to gain international friends and knowledge. I would recommend everyone to be brave and to grab opportunities like this. Believe or not, such experiences have a potential to change your life.