Category Archives: EILC

Breaking a puzzle

When you’re working to build a puzzle — no matter how big or complex — you would never want to stop. However the moment arrives when you have to unmake it. It can be because it’s finished, or simply because you have no more time to continue.

The puzzle I was making this morning with Tana (but actually it was already started by many people)
The puzzle I was making this morning with Tana (but actually it was already started by many people)

Today is the last day of the EILC in Aabenraa. In the afternoon I’ll take the train and I’ll move to Copenhagen with four friends and in one day everybody is going to take their own path. During this course I didn’t have much time to write in the blog, or for using the PC in general. I would have liked to post more, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I’ve lived with a fantastic group of students: Silja, Henrik and Johanna from Finland, Róisín from Ireland, Sergio from Spain (my roommate), Rosanne and Nanouk from The Netherlands, Wojtek from Poland, Bettina from Austria, Eva, Lada and Jakub from Czech Republic, Winnie from Hong Kong, Tana from Belgium and Justina from Lithuania.

It’s been a good surprise to know that I’m not the only one to have a blog for the Erasmus. You can also read those written by Nanouk, Tana (both in Dutch) and Bettina (in German). They’ve worked on them and written more than me on this experience, it’s worth reading! 🙂

Awesome people with whom I felt very well and we did a lot of things, including: organizing an Italian evening — with the help of almost everybody and my supervision for the pasta and a great Tiramisù made by Bettina (nominated Chief Executive Officer of Tiramisù), Nanouk, Tana and Silja; making the Finnish buns all together coordinated by Silja; organizing a lot of pool matches changing the rules every time; trying to dress like Danes with very few and bizarre costumes at our disposal; etc. 😛

Sure, There have also been some less funny moments. I’m sad in some ways because in a bunch of occasions I’ve not been friendly as I wanted to, sometimes finding myself in trouble with Danish or embarassed during the “amusement moments” I’ve closed myself a bit and I felt very bad for offending a person without intention, even if this person understood.

I would have had a bit more time, I’m a bit afraid I’ve shown a not exactly nice picture of me, but I hope that at the end the other students have enjoyed this very busy days spent together as much as I enjoyed them. I believe we’ve truly felt the Danish concept of hygge, a very nice word but it’s hard to translate. 🙂

The puzzle is complete by now, maybe I can consider this post as the last tile. The photos I’ve inserted as gallery at the bottom of the post are other tiles, but there are a lot more.

In a few hours I’ll have to put back everything in the box. But the good side is that when you put away a puzzle the table frees up… and you can start a new one without forgetting the previous. 😉

What I wrote

Note: this is the transcription of a short page we were asked to write in the first days of the EILC at Højskolen Østersøen. It was not required to let other people read it but I like to put it here in order to being able to make a final analysis after and find the differences on how I see this experience.

I left for the Erasmus two days ago, without knowing what to expect until the last moment. Actually the only thing I really expected was to find myself out of place in new situations that I would have to handle without knowing how. At the airport I started to feel that something “was not working” in the opposite sense of the word.

What I mean is that I’m living — in some ways — all the “first impact” aspect in a quiet way, nearly passive. The fact of having to spend all the time speaking in English in a place still new for me, with “new” home responsibilities, doesn’t particularly worry me. I would have never expected this type of reaction.

About the life in the Folk High School, it’s not bad. Sure, it’s a bit strange to find your self at morning and at evening singing (a tradition of the school that reminds me the scouts a little bit, but it’s OK anyways) however it’s a very exciting environment.

We are allowed to use the dining room for meeting, and also other rooms. We have some free machines for fruit juice, milk and coffee at our disposal: it’s not Italian coffee, but the juice is good.

Our group is very unite: we are 5 boys and 11 girls. May be the fact that we talk in English, may be living all together in the same place, or whatever else, but breaking the ice required less time than what I expected. Although not very accustomed to be with “many” new people at the same time, it all goes well.

I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but it simply feels natural. And honestly I don’t want to really ask myself for the reason: it’s enough to know that it’s OK this way.

EILC in Aabenraa

Two days ago I arrived in Aabenraa and I started the EILC. Days are actually full, and I still haven’t written a “big” post to tell you everything. However I want to post a thing that was told by a girl studying with me. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was more or less like this:

Do you know what I noticed? I didn’t check much my Facebook profile here because there is no time. It’s a bit like being able of “truly control” your own life.

What you need to know about the EILC (Erasmus Intensive Language Courses)

Abreast the classic Erasmus project — which consists in spending some months in another European university — for the destinations in countries with less spoken languages (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey) there is the possibility to follow a specific language course which lasts a month and is (almost) entirely financed by the European Community.

The information you find on the net are sometimes a bit messy, so I will try to summarize them here. First of all, we must say that the EILC is not completely tightened to the Erasmus, and it requires a separate application. It can happen that the application is not accepted but the Erasmus is. The application must be done through your home university: ask information at the international relations office or check on their website. If after a lot of time after the application you don’t receive a confirmation, send them an email to ask what happened.

Regarding the place, it’s not necessary that it is the same university of your Erasmus. In fact, when I went to read the list of EILC in Denmark for the second semester I had to choose the UCSYD one, because the DTU organizes them only for the first semester.

A very important thing is the credits recognition. Does an EILC give you ECTS points? The answer is: it depends. First of all you must check the information sheet and verify what it says about that. Secondly, in order to recognize it as a course (with the Learning Agreement) it is necessary that the EILC is done in the same university as the Erasmus. This is not my case so I will follow the course just to learn. It’s true that the lessons at the DTU will be in English, but I believe it’s useful to learn the language of the country in which I will live for six months.

Finally, it’s fundamental to clarify the matter of the cost. Probably you will be surprised by the fact that you will be asked a payment for the course, but actually after it will be refunded. Also, you pay for the room and board (so for the month of the course finding accommodation is not needed) while the lessons are completely free. In my case I was asked to pay about 670 euros.

How does the refund work? It’s simple: the EILC grant is worth exactly 500 euros and will be accredited only after the return in your country, at the condition of showing the course participation certificate. So as you can see the course, the food and the accommodation for a month are (almost) free: in my case about 170 euros, all inclusive. But you have to advance the money.

At this point I hope to have clarified the functioning of EILC, giving you the most important information. If you have any doubt write them in the comments.