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Tatiana Felicia Ruth Dieudonne is a student at the University of Mauritius, currently attending VSŠ Academia as an exchange student for Project Work in Web Production and practical training in collaboration with the International Office.
When I first came to Maribor as part of the Erasmus+ exchange programme at VSŠ Academio, I was overwhelmed by a combination of emotions: excitement, anticipation and a little bit of fear. The idea of being in an unfamiliar country and culture was both exciting and terrifying for me as a Mauritian, but today I can say that it has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life so far.
I was welcomed by friendly locals and impressed by the stunning architecture and lively atmosphere of Maribor. Despite the initial culture shock, I soon adapted to my new surroundings and started to accept the differences. I attended a workshop on mental health organised by the ESN group at the University of Maribor, which was very helpful.
Tatiana is currently on an exchange to undertake practical training at the Academia’s international office, which she says is giving her valuable insights and skills that will benefit her career. Her main task is to create and design websites and images for several Erasmus+ projects, which aim to provide information and resources for students and university teachers, while she has also joined an online Slovenian language course, which will help her to communicate better with locals and further improve her daily life in Slovenia.
I had the opportunity to travel to a city that offers a different view of Central Europe – Prague in the Czech Republic. I was struck by the stunning architecture and rich history of Prague, where I attended two Costabex workshops on financial management and mental health and had the opportunity to meet new people. I learnt different techniques to help manage stress, promote relaxation and how to take care of my mental well-being, which was a great refresher for me.
Prague was not the only major European city I went to. On a day trip, I also visited Austria’s capital, Graz – a city known for its beautiful architecture, cultural heritage and cuisine. I explored the city’s main sights, such as the Schlossberg hill, the eponymous Graz Museum, the clock tower and the Graz Cathedral. Although I struggled with the cultural differences at first, I soon immersed myself in a vibrant and welcoming community that challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. I became the best version of myself.
From trying new foods to exploring neighbouring cities and taking part in events, every day in Maribor was a new adventure. I met lifelong friends from all over the world, practised a new language and learned about a fascinating culture I might not have discovered otherwise.
“I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store for me, but I’m sure they will be just as fulfilling and enriching as the first two. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and excited to continue this journey in the beautiful city of Maribor.”