Jose A Gómez
How would you describe your Erasmus experience at UGD?
The experiences for me are like bricks that build our brain, mind, and soul. They are a combination of moments, relationships, misfortunes, happy and awkward instants as well as creative responses to adversities. All of these may serve as adjectives that describe my experience in UGD. No sooner had I step for the first time in UGD International office than I fell welcome with an excellent Turkish coffee. At that moment, in that instant, with the fantastic coffee smell and the after-taste of it in my mouth, I started my real-life experience.
Days pass on, more Erasmus+ students showed up filling the city of Stip with a multicultural rainbow of features that enriched my experience. UGD held activities and events were all of us — Erasmus+ students and Erasmus+ buddies from UGD — discovered the university, Stip city, and each other. Classes started, and my feelings were growing up in great expectancy — new class styles, new classmates, other languages, different pulses, and activities. Life experiences taught me that outlooks are enemies of the reason, though, as a human being I could not help to create in my mind how classes, exams, projects, and assignments will be.
After the two first weeks of classes, I realised that UGC is in Macedonia, meaning that the population culture and lifestyle is embedded in the UGC activities too like ways of working and program structure. For example, I learnt to be patient when waiting for an email response from a professor. I discovered that classmates’ connections are essential and that the due of assignments are relative.
These experiences taught me and helped me to see the culture as it is, a bunch of characteristics that build a community, generation after generation. It does not mean there are good or bad cultures. For me, it says that cultures create a fantastic word in which I understand diversity and variety as the most influential tool to learn from each other, empowering personal growing. And, learning to be a citizen of the word.
Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
As a student teacher for elementary education — primary education in my country — I consider the exchange experience as an essential part of a student teacher program. It is necessary for current educational centres to have professional educators. Formed with an excellent multicultural background. Classes nowadays are filled with children from unique cultures and countries since we are living in a globalised world. Concretely, in my city — Murcia in Spain — there are classes with 4 to 14 different students nationalities. In my opinion, educators must know how to deal with different cultures. Have a lot of tools to create activities, and various approaches to address lessons and learning experiences in a multicultural context.
Similarly, dealing with tutoring practices in such contexts require being aware as well as had had personal experiences to sympathise with students, either from other cultures or backgrounds. Obviously, families leave their countries because of desirable and undesirable reasons. Therefore, educators could benefit from international experiences, like mine in UGC, to open their minds and better understand the current-globalised-world.
Not only do I think teachers can be much more creative when devising activities, I also believe that teachers would be aware of the benefits of having a multicultural classroom from where student-centred activities may be the pinnacle to develop lessons and activities that may guarantee the learning to happen.
I will use these outstanding tools in my present and future life; personal and professional career. The personal growing never stops, if one never stop of living significant experiences like exchange programs like Erasmus+. I firmly believe that nourishing the educational field with educators with relevant international experiences like mine, would help the future world’s citizens — current students — to understand each other and be more sympathetic with different cultures as well as learn from others to create a more comprehensive and peaceful world.