Monthly Archives: April 2008

How not to look for student accommodations in London

[Ed’s note: Indi is the Sagada backpack-toting traveler on the header (top). EM students, we’d like to find out if Indi’s case is representative of your room/flat/house-hunting experiences. Please leave a comment.]

1. Do it at the last minute
I was supposed to be headed for Denmark in the fall of 2006. The Aarhus University International Secretariat had found me a nice summer house to move into with other CoMundus students before we transfer to a proper residence hall. It was near the beach and the forest, and just a few minutes by bike away from the Uni. It was going to be good. But then there was the matter of my Danish visa. And the long, long wait. June turned to July and then to August. The semester in Denmark had already begun in September. Making endless phonecalls to the visa section only to get disappointed were part of the countdown. By the time I got my student permit, my coordinator had already advised me to suspend my Euro trip and fly in for the spring term instead. But I had already quit my job, was given a despedida and made the rounds of the ukay-ukays for winter gear. To make a long story short, I ended up going to my host university – IoE in London- first since I could still make it for the autumn term there which started in October.

2. Regret not signing that university residence hall contract
Despite my impending late arrival in London, the IoE coordinators were still able to book a place for me – Clandon Residence Hall, which I would be sharing with some other Erasmus students for roughly over £100 per week, excluding heat and light. The contract which began in September, however, stipulated that I had to pay for the entire term – including the six weeks I was not there (a period when I didn’t even have any idea I would be in England, for crying out loud) and I found that disagreeable.

3. Get rejected by religious places (Just kidding)
Looking for a decent roof to put over my head was so hard, that I considered getting into one of the religious-run places like the catered women’s dorm which fellow CoMundus Pinay Abby found to be quite satisfactory. Her place, however, was fully booked so I opted for another one which had vacancies. My online application was not accepted by the nuns who were running that other place. Not for religious reasons, really, but because I was over the age limit.

4. Bunk in a hostel in backpacker central
Cut to the second week of October, London. And so it came to pass that I found myself halfway across the world, with my lips cracked and my nose bleeding from the chilly air, struggling to haul 27 kilos of my life in two suitcases up several narrow flights of stairs at the Smart Hyde Park Inn in Bayswater. With barely enough energy, I opened the door of my mixed-shared lodgings to find one of my new room mates, sprawled and snoring, half-naked atop one of four rickety bright blue double decker beds. “Welcome to London.” I told myself before collapsing in exhaustion on the lone mattress that had no linen or piles of dirty clothes.

(To be continued)

Indira C. Endaya
European Masters in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies (06-08 )
Århus, Denmark/London, UK
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Categories: Life in Europe | Tags: | 5 Comments

The Day I Found Out

World Cup 2006

It was an exceptionally lovely morning at the Circus Berlin Hostel just days before the 2006 World Cup. (I wasn’t there for the games though. Tickets were too expensive and the only player I know is Beckham).

The previous night was a wickedly great night for many reasons – watched an opera production for the very first time in my life (thanks to my BFF Bernard), enjoyed an interesting meal in a Russian restaurant (another first for me), and danced the night away in the hostel basement bar. Bernard and I felt that the night was a prelude to something big and fabulous!

I usually ignore e-mails during vacation trips but that particular morning, I decided to check my e-mail as there were “rumors” in the EMLE message board that the scholarship results would be out at the end of May.

So there I was in the hostel’s internet corner:

Bernard: May results na?

Jill: Logging in yahoomail pa. Results daw end of May. May 30 na! End of May na!!!

Bernard: People on-line news: Angelina Jolie gave birth na pala! 3 days ago pa. We are so out of touch with the rest of the world.

Jill: O…M…G!

“E-mail Subject Title: Approval of nomination for EMLE Erasmus Mundus scholarship.

Dear prospective EMLE student,

Today we have received news from the European Commission, that our nominations for Erasmus Mundus student scholarships are approved. This means that you are now officially selected to receive an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to finance your participation in the EMLE programme. Congratulations!”

Bernard: O…M…G!

Jill: O.M.G!

Bernard: O.M.G!

(Lots of hugging and screaming follow. Strangers start to look puzzled/amused/ puzzled and amused.)

After the hugging and screaming

It was a little weird when the news started sinking in. It was only the third day of our trip but suddenly, I felt like going back home that very moment. I wanted to hug my family! I wanted to scream with my friends!

I went back to the room, dialed Mommy’s number and started jumping up and down the bed!

Jill Lopez
European Masters in Law & Economics (06-07)
Bologna, Italy/ Hamburg, Germany/Manchester, UK

Got a question about Erasmus Mundus? Click here to read the FAQs.

Categories: Erasmus Mundus | 16 Comments

More topics

Let’s go! (King’s Cross station, London)

Filipino Erasmus Mundus students and alumni are invited to share their experiences on these topics:

1. The day I found out
How you found out that you were awarded the scholarship, the reactions that followed, and what you did immediately after.

2. My first impression of…
What struck you most about a European city (or two or three) where you lived.

Submissions can be in the form of text, images (with captions) or both. Please send contributions to pinoyerasmusmunds [at] gmail [dot] com. Comments are welcome!

Categories: Announcements, Erasmus Mundus | 5 Comments

Århus winter, London summer

Winter fun
It was cold and windy when I arrived in Århus. It was September (2005) and autumn was picking up. I have been warned about the Danish weather, but nothing beats experiencing it firsthand. Expectedly, people were all covered and fully clothed. I then remember the “Visit Århus” magazine the university sent me and it was like seeing the pages come to life with the sights and sounds of the city. I thought it was cool to see people wearing coats, jackets, scarves, berets, hats, boots, etc. It was completely different from what can be seen in the Philippines. I must admit that I got excited to wear those kinds of clothes and accessories. However, wearing winter clothes also meant wearing layers of clothes underneath, and that is something I am not used to. It was odd the first few weeks but I got the hang of it. Later on, I took delight in shopping for new winter clothes, shoes and accessories. I think the joy was in the thought that I can wear the cool outfits that I do not have in my tropical country. Then snow came, but that is another story.

A summer like home
I spent the summer of 2006 in London. Back then, dressing up was not a problem as the season allowed me to wear the kinds of clothes I wore back home. It was also the time of the European heat wave and London was not spared. Strange, but it actually felt like the summers I had back home. For a start, it was a relief to finally shed off the layers of clothes I had to wear for winter. Then it was great to don sleeveless tops, baby tees, mini skirts and shorts, again! More importantly, it was a good excuse to laze in the parks with my books in tow. In between summer classes at IOE, I frequented Russell Square Park with some classmates and we would talk of almost anything under the sun, literally! I noticed that public parks are quite popular in the summer as I saw a lot of people doing all sorts of things inside the parks including sun bathing. Seeing half naked women was an ordinary sight those days. It surprised me at first but I got used to the scene. I realized that in the summer, (window) shopping in Oxford Street – in a mini skirt and a spaghetti-strapped blouse – was way a lot better and more comfy than doing it the previous season.

Shiella C. Balbutin
European Masters in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies (05-07)
London, UK/Århus, Denmark

Categories: Erasmus Mundus, Life in Europe | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A springtime start!

spring.jpg

It’s spring in Europe, a great time to share memories and experiences. For Erasmus Mundus students, studying and living in European towns and cities make EM unforgettable.

To kick things off, I’d like to invite current and former Erasmus Mundus students from the Philippines to write about the monthly topics. Our topics for April are:

1. The journey begins
How did you find out about Erasmus Mundus? How did you find the application process? (Getting the result of your application is next month’s topic)

2. Dressing up (or down) in Europe
Clothing and clothing styles in Europe are different from the tropics. How did you adapt your wardrobe to the seasons? What did you notice about what Europeans wear?

Contributions can be up to 300 words, with either your own title or retaining the topic heading. Please include your details in the name+ course+ cities format (see below) and send photos whenever possible. Deadline for submission is on April 25.

If you have panorama photos that you think would make great headers (that big photo at the very top of this page), feel free to send them so that we can change the header every so often. If you are an EM blogger or know one, email us the URL so that we could add it to the blogroll. Please send your responses and suggestions to pinoyerasmusmundus [at] gmail [dot] com

What else? Bookmark this page, subscribe by email or RSS reader, leave comments, and tell your friends about this blog. Let’s make this an inspiring and worthwhile project for all Pinoys who have dreamed of further studies abroad. 🙂

Maraming salamat!

Abby Yao
European Masters in Media, Culture and Communication (06-08 )
London, UK/Roskilde, Denmark

Categories: Announcements | 5 Comments

Welcome!

Hello fellow Erasmus Mundus alumni, current and future EM students, and everyone surfing the net for scholarships in Europe!

Welcome to the Pinoy Erasmus Mundus blog site!!! Although I think it should be Ms. Thelma Gecolea of the Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines (Hi Tita Thelms!!) welcoming us in this blog, she is currently busy with schemes to make sure that more Filipinos will get EM scholarships this year (Yey!!!!).

We are currently organizing an informal working group to create the EM Alumni – Philippine Chapter. As our first undertaking, we have created this blog as an interactive venue to:

  1. promote Erasmus Mundus in the Philippines;
  2. assist current EM students in their studies (and everything else outside studies of course);
  3. assist potential EM students with their applications and queries; and
  4. discuss anything and everything about living and studying in Europe.

Our immediate and realistic goal for this year is for our blog to surpass the popularity of friendster, facebook and even perezhilton.com at least in the Philippine network. (Haha!)

Enough of this blah blah blah! We want your stories, pictures, blogs, ideas, suggestions, questions, and answers about student life in Europe.

Erasmus Mundus rocks!

Jill Lopez
European Masters in Law & Economics (06-07)
Bologna, Italy/ Hamburg, Germany/Manchester, UK
[Admin’s note: visit our FAQs page and check out the sidebar links on the right for more information]

Categories: Announcements, Erasmus Mundus | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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