ERASMUS in Spain taught me to be patient and deal with everything personally, says Katka from FME

International Study Students

Kateřina Čančíková has completed her first year of advanced studies in the field of Construction of Power Engineering Machines and Equipment. She spent the summer semester at the University of Vigo in Spain, where she travelled as part of the ERASMUS+ . What did she take away from her stay?

By studying abroad, students have the opportunity to experience a different style of teaching. For example, in Vigo I encountered the so-called "continuous assessment", which meant that in order to pass the course you had to attend classes honestly and write continuous subtests. There was then no big exam at the end of the semester to cover all the content. From my point of view, this is certainly an interesting alternative to the classical examination system we have here. 

The biggest challenge for me was communicating with my Spanish colleagues, where I encountered not only a language barrier and a different mentality, but also a different perception of time. For example, did you know that when the Spanish say we will meet after lunch, it means at 4:00 PM? And when they invite you to dinner, it means 10:00 PM? 

As far as the language aspect is concerned, I received the - for me personally quite important - reassurance that I am able to communicate with people from practically all over the world and that I therefore do not have to worry about communicating with foreigners. I am glad that I have brushed up on my Spanish and had the opportunity to experience the language in everyday situations. In Galicia, you don't tend to get much use out of English (not even at university). Although I studied Spanish as a second foreign language for seven years in high school, I haven't used it since graduating. I think my knowledge of grammar and vocabulary may have been greater back then, but I didn't learn the skills to communicate with native speakers until ERASMUS, and that's what it's all about in the end. Then we communicated with other foreign students mainly in English.  

I also learned to be more patient. I no longer get annoyed when I miss a tram and have to wait ten minutes for the next one, because for most of the time in Spain it was perfectly normal to sit at the bus stop for an hour and wait to see whether or not the university bus was coming. 

I would recommend going on a study placement to all my colleagues. It's an ideal way to network with international students and learn about the culture of a foreign country, as well as a great opportunity for personal growth and improving language skills.


Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Kateřina Čančíková

28. 06. 2024