Aleksandr Burlak, a doctoral student in Law from Omsk State University in Russia spent the spring semester of 2017 at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in 2017.
“I was very lucky to be part of Erasmus+ program which started for me in winter 2017. The experience I received can be described as enormous and very unusual. First of all, living for 5 months abroad was new for me, as I have never participated in such a kind of program before. I came across new activities, such as studying in a different language and communicating in different language. Honestly speaking, it was not easy at first, and like every person, I went through adaptation period and I think it is normal to cope with some difficulties. I found it very nice that all people around me, at the university, in my hosting family and even on the streets were willing to help me. I enjoyed the time in Madrid.
I gained very useful professional and personal experience. I have upgraded my knowledge and applied it in my work. I have finished my dissertation using what I have learned owing to the program. Since then I have graduated from my PhD and became a university lecturer.
My experience at the university:
Back in Russia I was a PhD student at the Law School, and the school I joined in Madrid was also the School of Law. I was working on my dissertation and received full access to the library, therefore I spent most of my time reading books in library. I was allocated to professor and she helped me with the basis of Spanish Law and advised me on related literature. Most of the literature at the library was in Spanish and I had to get acquainted with the Spanish terminology, which it was very exciting. The professor was very kind to me and replied to all the emails I sent her regarding my studies. She was a great advisor. Administration was also very helpful, as I was introduced to all Ersamus+ rules and was given a nice tour on campus.
It was quite challenging to find a room in Madrid that would meet my budget. At first I tried to search for central locations, but all places were either busy or expensive. Then I looked for flatmates on Facebook and that was a good idea as I was able to find some people who were also at the same positions as me, but then we found out we have different dates of departure, the difference was in months. I was not happy with this obviously. Then I made some more search and found a woman who was renting rooms for students at her house. I liked the place and the price was ok. The place was not in central Madrid, but the city infrastructure allows you to travel with no problem almost in every part of the city. So I stayed there. I was not the first student at her place, so she was also happy to help me with everything.
Madrid is very beautiful. There are dozens of places to see. Architectural masterpieces are situated in the center. The best part about them all is that museums have days or hours of free visits. Madrid cares a lot about young and old people. All people under 25 can get a youth travel card that can be used limitlessly in every transport in Madrid. Using this travel card you can even get to mountains by taking a train from center. I was enjoying going to mountains to have a walk on a nice sunny day.
I suggest all students take a chance to travel and learn using the great opportunity Erasmus+ offers to you!”