Going to an Erasmus+ project might seem like a scary thing especially for first-timers or introverts like me. Of course, it is natural to feel a bit worried when you are going far away from your country and you are going to spend a week with complete strangers. However, this is not a reason to not fully enjoy yourself and have a blast once you feel comfortable around the new people.
To begin with, it is vital that you feel self-confident and leave any concerns behind. You might be anxious about your proficiency in English, but trust me, there is a huge number of the people you’ll meet that will barely speak the language.
There is no need to worry about that, as you will have plenty of activities which will prove to you that you don’t need a C2 level of English in order to make friends and have fun with them. Just do your best and try to show your true self to the others without thinking too much about the right grammar and vocabulary, you’re not in your English classes, you’re there to relax and have a good time.
When it comes to self-confidence, try not to fret about the way you look or who you are as person. No one will care if you are not a skinny model with the perfect acne-free face. Usually Erasmus+ manages to gather only open-minded people at one place, after all most of the project are designed to combat discrimination. It is very unlikely that you’ll be judged by your appearance, skin color, gender, race, religion, beliefs, etc.
Personally, this was a very hard concept for me to grasp. I have been on 10 projects and in the beginning, I was constantly wearing make-up, I couldn’t leave my room without getting my hair curled or straightened just because that was the way I was feeling more confident. Luckily, meeting the right people, and spending some time in very humid weather showed me that all this effort is completely useless, and I could easily go without trying my best to look unrealistically good. Feel free to raise your voice on any topic, especially if you have sound evidence to support your claims, people will be there to listen and support you, or if not, you could have some very fruitful discussions out of an argument. Don’t try to hide who you are or what you think just because you are afraid you won’t get accepted.
When you’re getting to know the other people in casual conversations, don’t try to make yourself seem cooler. You don’t have to speak 5 foreign languages, have 10 hobbies, or possess any special talent in order to seem interesting.
Don’t make things up about your life, whether that would be personality traits, memories from the past or life achievements. Instead, live in the moment and try to make the most out of it without being stiff and constantly thinking how you could impress the others. If you meet someone special, with whom you connect on a deeper level, this someone might feel a bit betrayed if he or she later on in your friendship found out that you’ve lied about something. So, in conclusion, stay genuine and don’t try too hard. You’ll manage to attract the right people without thinking too much about it.
By Rosana Petkova