When did you enjoy your mobility? And why Almería?
I was on mobility during the second semester of 2019-2020. Sadly Covid-19 was spreading during my stay. I chose Almería because I was dreaming for years about visiting Spain, and I started learning Spanish on my own. Almería was the only Spanish city I could choose from my home university, so I didn’t think it twice.
Have you improved your Spanish skills from before you came?
Definitely, I reached a new level of Spanish faster than expected. After learning it for six months in Ukraine I had some base but I wasn’t really capable of understanding native speakers. Nowadays, with the help of the Spanish course from the Centro de Lenguas (and my local friends) I am more confident. I am sure I will not give up on it and I will try to reach as highest level as I can.
Was it hard for you to get used to it?
In the beginning, I couldn’t understand anything at all. I had to stop everything and think too much before speaking. I was scared of the language honestly, but then it became funny and I got used to the accent. I coped with my fears and made Spanish speaker friends so I could be completely relaxed. It took me about 2 weeks and now I don’t have any inconvenience, I can even read the news in Spanish!
What about English, did you improve your skills?
Yes, it became more fluent, I even started to think in English language. Also my vocabulary became richer because I have some courses in English. Also in informal situations too.
Is there anything unique you remember from your stay in Almería?
I always forgot about siesta, it was something completely new. I wasn’t used to the fact that in the afternoon everything would close. I went to the bus ticket desk five times and four of them was not successful because I visited during siesta time.
Can you tell us a funny story you lived?
Short stupid story: once I bought kitchen paper towels instead of toilet paper, I don’t know why I didn’t translated the name, but it was funny to realize this fluke at home.
How did you cope with the Covid-19 situation during your mobility?
I was trapped in my flat for several weeks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the sea and the sun in the afternoon, it made me crazy…. Also my travel plans were suspended during the semester.
What do you miss the most from Almería?
The UAL campus, coffee on Romera, tapas in Café París, La Clásica and Funcorner… that awesome charm of walking on the street at night, I will miss university life and the lessons, they were different and better than in my home university. I will also miss the ESN, their trips, visiting their office and the Spanglish talks. What will forever be in my heart is reggaeton…
Were you still able to travel anywhere?
I was able to make short trips during the first month, on my own and with the ESN. I went to Madrid, Murcia, Cartagena, Valencia, Alicante and Cabo de Gata. Those were full of emotions, they made me fall in love with Spain. Travelling is one of the most important opportunities given by the exchange program.
Did you meet a lot of people during your stay?
Yes, I was able to discover new stories, cultures, personalities… We are all good friends here, we used to meet mostly every day, even during quarantine we stay in touch through video calls to make this easier. We are planning to visit each other countries already. I also have Spanish friends, mostly ESN volunteers and their friends. They helped me with academic aspects, we hang out together, chatting, meeting for a coffee on Campus, and we keep in touch even keeping social distance too.
What can you tell us about your academic life in the UAL?
Studying in a foreign language in a foreign country wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed it. I don’t have any problem studying in English, especially when the subject is interesting. The teaching methods are way different than in Ukraine too, I was able to discover new skills. This will definitely help me in studying back home.
What should UAL students interested in going as Erasmus+ to National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy now?
Studying in KMA is a chance to discover a completely new culture and type of life, compared to Spanish one. If we are talking about the current situation during quarantine, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy provides all the student life inline, but it is as interesting as before. So if you come to KMA for Erasmus now, you won't be bored in a house.
What are the nice/interesting things about the city and surroundings?
Kyiv is a city where you can enrich yourself culturally: food festivals, fashion fairs, music events - all is here, even during COVID-19 restrictions (maintaining all the safety measures). Also Kyiv is a place with a developed coffee culture, you can buy the best coffee at every corner.
According to the tourism activities, there are a lot of places to visit in the city center (Independence square, Golden Gate, soviet monuments and modern walking bridges). But you can find even more out of the city - the king-ish residence of ex-president Mezhyhiria, natural parks and of course Chernobyl - the most extreme and exciting places in my opinion.
What is your university like?
My university is a place where personality is formed and future leaders of Ukraine are trained - It is like a unique secluded life in the center of the capital.
Our classes are built on practice, and teachers are practitioners who work in international companies or have their own business, and at the same time seek to pass their knowledge to the younger generation. In addition, student life at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is very rich, we have student organizations for all tastes, from dance and television to film clubs and business.
How should they prepare to go to Ukraine and your town in particular?
Be ready for a whole new way of life, culture, and traffic jams in the morning. Other problems will be done for you by international buddies - faithful assistants of Erasmus students. All you need is to enjoy your Erasmus.
And don't forget a warm jacket and a hat if you come in the winter!
What recommendation would you give to future students coming to the UAL?
Fulfill your exchange with local events, people, sports and to leisure time outside your house. Especially the first weeks, that is when everyone meets each other. Join parties, international dinners…. Try to catch all the opportunities because it is not one day more, but a day less.
Do you think you will come back to Almería soon?
I definitely will. I think I need more than a year to completely enjoy this beautiful city. Probably in a year I will be back even for a longer period, and maybe forever… who knows?
Do you think Erasmus+ has changed your life in some way?
It changed my life. People here changed my way of thinking, some of them influenced my life preferences, now I understand where I want to be and why. Also I started to meet new people easier, which I tried to do a lot of years before without success. I became more open-minded, I am happy of it. The circle of my interests has expanded and I believe I grew as a person too. The most important thing is that I realized I want to continue my life in Spain, maybe even in Almería, so see you soon!! Almería nunca se rinde!