Rahime Aslan -
I remember the day of the Erasmus’ exam as if it was yesterday. In addition to it, I will not forget the day of preference. I wrote the best option for me in Poland which is Bielsko-Biala. When I wondered where it is and how it is, I fell in love with the city just accordingly to the pictures and its location because I have been living in Nevşehir which has not enough green area for the whole year except for spring. I was looking forward to coming to this city to complete my missing part. I came and I was amazed because I met some elderly people who could not speak English tried to help me to reach our school’s dormitory for this reason my hesitation started to break. However; I was shocked when I learned the special condition of supermarkets here because they were not open except for Zabka which is so close to our dormitory on Sunday.
I took part in orientation days of the university that is named as ATH. Therefore, I was able to learn some basic vocabulary. After the meeting of orientation, my Erasmus+ Institutional Coordinator organized city sightseeing with a tour guide. I was able to learn not only geographical but also historical information about the city. Afterward this event, I joined our Erasmus+ welcoming dinner with other Erasmus+ students from other countries such as Turkey, Spain, Ukraine, Morocco, and Slovakia. The atmosphere of it was so peaceful and friendly because we were trying to learn about different cultures and we also were trying to be familiar with each other because we would live in the same place as if we were family.
I can appreciate the attitude of some people toward foreign people. For example; the ladies in markets made me happy and comfortable when I went shopping. Moreover, some of them were unforgettable because one of them was a drunk man and he invited us to drink alcohol with him by using body language even I and my friends tried to explain that we couldn’t understand him but he insisted on us and everybody laughed at us. These are unforgettable moments for me because they helped me to break my hesitation.
The amusement activities are also crucial for me because my aims are to develop myself and entertain during the time that I spent here. Therefore, I could join some festivals such as Colour Festival which I went to with my friends from the dormitory and school, a classic music concert that led to complete my missing part of music, and organization of breath-taking which was organized by Agnieszka Bedkowzka, a trip of Szyndzielnia which is famous for the cable car and karaoke night.
The education system of the University of Bielsko-Biala is so similar to my university in Turkey because the contents of lessons are almost the same. Teachers are so kind and understanding. They always tolerate our attendance accordingly on our trips. They are always helpful; they can easily find the solution to our problems.
I like the city because it is surrounded by mountains. It has a special atmosphere because it is covered with various types of trees, flowers, and animals. It has an environmental area because when the weather is rainy, you can smell just fresh air and serenity instead of polluted air. In other words, the location of it is very useful because I have another aim that was trips to Europe. It is so close to Katowice, Krakow, and Wroclaw. To sum up, my Erasmus experience is so awesome and wonderful. I will remember my days in this beautiful city. I hope that I will keep in touch with people who I have already met in here.
Ahmet Mustafa Mahir -
Erasmus in Bielsko-Biala is a great opportunity for students coming from both the EU area and non-EU areas. As an Erasmus student coming from Turkey/Karabuk, I chose ATH (University of Bielsko-Biala) because of the location. When I arrived there for first time with my friends, we fell in love with the combination of nature with old buildings.
In the first week, we were invited to a welcoming dinner which is special for us with Ukrainian, Spanish, Arab, and Slovakian Erasmus students. It was a perfect dinner to make us meet each other. I met with one of my best friends David Filko who is from Slovakia. He is a friendly man and he is interested in Turkish culture. He asked me about drinking beer but I told him we were in Ramadan and he understood and respected me. I will never forget David.
The location is the most important thing when choosing the university and the city. Bielsko-Biala is located close to some of the most significant cities like Katowice, Krakow and Wroclaw. These cities must be visited and Krakow has been my favorite among them. Another important feature of the location is the distance to International Airports. Krakow, Katowice, and Wroclaw are easy to reach and they are used often by the students because the cheapest tickets for flights are sold by Ryanair and it has gates in these airports.
In Bielsko-Biala, I loved eating some Polish traditional foods. The first one to try is Ponckies which means donut and it has a perfect taste. Then Pierogi must be tried. Pierogi Ruskie/Ukrainiskie is the most delicious one. All the students in the dormitory love this food as well.
When it comes to the education at Bielsko-Biala University, teachers are very equipped and they worked hard to teach the knowledge to us. One of my favorite teachers is Doctor Tomasz Markiewka who taught us Introduction to Literary Theory and Seminarium Magister which means Master Degree Seminars. He is a perfect teacher and he is very friendly. When we told him that we will not be able to attend the lesson, he permitted us and never made a problem. Another great teacher is Doctor Agnieszka Bedkowska-Kopczy who is at the same time Institutional Erasmus Coordinator of the University of Bielsko-Biala. We had 2 courses with her and one of them wasis about Polish Culture and Language. Including these topics, she taught us about the history of Poland and the European Union. I was interested and happy about this lesson. I could not wait for it. We also had several perfect teachers like Marzena Foltyn, Agnieszka Pochopien, Maciej Niemiec, Zuzanna Sztanaik and Monika Marek. I am very grateful for these teachers and I will never forget them as well.
Since there are different students from different nations, I could learn about their cultures. Especially, I learned lots of things about Slovakian culture from my friend David. I and my friends visited 12 countries and if we had more time here we could visit more. 2 weeks before, Our Erasmus Institutional Coordinator Doctor Agnieszka invited us to visit Synzdelnia mountain which is a great symbol for Bielsko-Biala. We used cable car and it has a great development process.
Although I stayed at ATH just for a short time, I could say that I am very happy to choose this university for this unforgettable experience. I would like to thank all my teachers and Doctor Agnieszka Bedkowska-Kopczyk.
Zeynep Sözbir -
I fell in love with Bielsko-Biala from the very first day of my arrival. It was as if I set foot in a magical city, hidden a great distance from where I lived. The city covered with lush forests was full of tranquility with the sound of birds chirping. That was the moment I was completely sure that my Erasmus adventure would be flawless. However, there was more which awaited me. With the help of authorities, I could easily find my way to the dormitory and university where I would be spending my days. After a great tour with a guide and other Erasmus students, I witnessed the interesting and heartbreaking history of both the city and Poland. I felt deeply sorry inside. Nevertheless, I was happy that I could empathize with citizens who were welcoming me to their country openheartedly. I was so eager to see where my education would start. Therefore, I went around the university of Bielsko-Biala immediately which consists of several buildings with a pleasant view. It attracted me most with its library, especially as a literature student. I believe that the beautiful statue of a woman reading a book in the garden of the university must be a clue for me about this situation. I easily found the books I intended to read in the company of polite librarians. In addition, I attended meetings that are arranged for introducing Erasmus+ students by our coordinator and I really enjoyed the feeling of becoming familiar with people with different personalities, cultures, and traditions. I learned interesting things that people had better avoid in Poland. For the very first time, I had experienced what was like to be in a cable car in Szyndzielnia where I had a chance to taste delicious food with mushrooms. We discovered churches which have a great atmosphere inside most particularly due to spectacular architecture, artistic touches on the sculptures and drawings on both the roof and walls. Last but not least, we gladly joined lots of activities such as a color fest, karaoke, walking in parks, and more. Among them, the best thing that happened to me was certainly having an opportunity to listen to my favourite composer Chopin via the talented pianist Avery Gaglino thanks to our institutional coordinator who is so kind to know I am fond of classical music. I was highly delighted by Cavatina Hall which offers people lots of performances for entertainment. It has such an elegant design that one could waltz around the hall while feeling like in a scene of a movie. Apart from that, my university days were went awesome. From the beginning until the end, my colleagues were so helpful that I could consult them whenever I have a question about lessons I take. The beautiful thing is I found my soulmate who is now my Polish best friend. I share lots of common points with her and want her to visit Turkey someday. Meanwhile, the professors were so cheerful and warm-hearted. They always cared about their students and enjoyed our presence. I did not have any difficulty during lessons. All in all, I am quite sure about the fact that my Erasmus days in Bielsko-Biala were so precious and unforgettable.
Last of all, a park in Bielsko-Biala was a source of inspiration for me to write a poem:
Tell me world, how glorious are you
While wrapping all kinds of
Agony and overthoughts
With those colorful delicate flower beds
And azure sky of your curtains
Tell me do not you know a limit
While carrying the burden
Of so many creatures
As I feel like suffocating
Everytime I think how you stand
When even for a single heart, it is heavy
The boundless arrogance of mankind
Published: 15 June 2022