The Erasmus Experience at the University of Pécs Faculty of Health Sciences

1 Erasmus Exchange

The Erasmus+ program is an amazing opportunity funded by the European Union (EU), through which students attending any participating university in the EU can embark on an exchange program to another country, whether for study or traineeship mobility. The University of Pécs (PTE) provides many chances for students to participate in an exchange. Every semester, the Faculty of Health Sciences (ETK) sends outgoing students to partner institutions, while, at the same time, welcomes incoming students from all across the continent. During the second semester of the school year ‘23-’24, two students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens have decided to spend three months in Pécs, Niki Liantziri and Rafaila Papaioannou. They are currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, taking courses and partaking in clinical rotations as part of their exchange program. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Niki and Rafaila to learn more about their experience in the Erasmus program so far.

What made you both decide to come to Pécs?

Here’s the thing, we didn’t have many options. Out of all the countries that were offered by our university, Hungary was the most ideal to us due to the location. Since it’s in Central Europe, we knew it was going to be great for travel. We also heard that there were going to be lots of international students, which made it even more appealing.

Have you heard about Pécs before?

Our best friend’s sister came here two years ago. We knew about Pécs through her, so we had an idea on what it was like. She highly recommended it. She even found the love of her life here while doing the Erasmus.

What were the biggest challenges that you faced moving to a different country?

The lifestyle here is very different from home. We’re from Athens, which is the capital. Pécs is a lot quieter and less busy than what we are used to. In Athens, we had unlimited options when it comes to nightlife and restaurants compared to Pécs. It was a big transition for us, but we still managed to do fun things. ESN has a lot of events for us. Another thing we love is being able to travel to neighboring countries since Hungary is very accessible. Also, the weather is a lot colder and gloomier, but I think that’s because we arrived here in January, which was the peak of winter.

How was it like meeting the locals and the other students in PTE?

We had a harder time interacting with Hungarians, as there aren’t many opportunities for us to mingle with them at events. We met many international and exchange students, usually during ESN events and while attending classes at the university. We really want to meet people and make friends, especially with the locals, but it’s more difficult than we thought. It requires a lot of effort. Additionally, three months is too short to build many meaningful connections, which is something to consider when deciding the duration of your exchange.

What do you think about Pécs?

Personally, I like the architecture and the vibe of the city, especially the center. There are a lot of coffee shops and restaurants in the area. Overall, we’ve had a good experience.We did find it challenging to adapt to the Hungarian culture, which tends to be more aloof compared to Greek culture, where people are much more welcoming to newcomers.

Do you recommend the exchange program?

For me (Niki), it is a great opportunity to practice independence. Back home, I lived with my parents, but here in Pécs, I have to do a lot of things on my own. It is a life-changing experience that we recommend to everyone, at least once in a lifetime. It’s also a great way to practice English. We learned many new things that were not taught in the same way in Greece, such as different techniques during practicals. Since we study in Greek back home, we find it challenging to attend the English lectures because the terminology, like anatomy, differs from what we’re used to. However, during practical classes, they’re very similar in many ways, so we did not find difficulty in that.

Roselle Torres

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