Antonina Belimova, a PhD-student at the Department of Medieval History at Lomonosov Moscow State University, spent 5 months at UAB in autumn-winter 2017 doing research for her doctoral thesis.

“Taking part in Erasmus was truly a move out of my comfort zone. During this experience, I learned how Spanish (and Catalan) people are different from Russians in expressing emotions, in handling difficult issues and in presenting themselves to the world. I became more open-minded after my stay in Barcelona.

Concerning my development as an academic, communication with local specialists in my field helped me see the gaps in my PhD-project and understand the answers to some questions I had before I came here. I also advanced a lot in Spanish and Catalan.

I was in Barcelona from the end of September 2017, that is to say, I saw the Catalan independence referendum and the Declaration of Independence by ex-president Carles Puigdemont myself. I witnessed these historical events, and it was scary and interesting at the same time. I shared a flat with a guy who is a zealous independentist and had a chance to discuss all current political themes with someone who was very well-informed. I experienced a lot of insights realizing how people with different political positions analyze the same situation and how they find appropriate to react. I was motivated by student’s enthusiasm in expressing their political position and charmed of their compassion and common consciousness. 

I would recommend going on mobility to people who want to experience life in another culture and are ready to take risks and responsibility”.