AREAS Stories

  1. Yiakhang Pangxang from National University of Laos, Vientiane. AREAS exchange mobility at University of Trento, Italy - master level
  2. Kwankao Vongjaturapat from Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand. AREAS exchange mobility at Universidade do Minho, Portugal - bachelor level
  3. Lakshman Galagedara from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. AREAS exchange mobility at Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden - Staff mobility
  4. Sovann On Sngin from Pannasastra University of Cambodia. AREAS exchange mobility at Georg August Universität Göttingen, Germany - master level
  5. Ven. Horn Ken from Pannasastra University of Cambodia. AREAS exchange mobility at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium - bachelor level
  6. An Truong Nguyen from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Vietnam. AREAS exchange mobility at Politecnico di Torino, Italy - master level
  7. Oanh Thi Kim Nguyen from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Vietnam. AREAS Staff mobility at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  8. (VIDEO) Wulan Nur Jatmika & Mahayu Firsty Ramadhani from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. AREAS exchange mobility at Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal & Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic - bachelor level
  9. (VIDEO) Rajius Idzalika from Universitas Brawijaya, Malang, Indonesia. AREAS exchange mobility at Georg August Universität Göttingen, Germany - PhD level
  10. (VIDEO) Ven. Rev Kusalagnana Derangala Thero from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. AREAS exchange mobility at Università di Trento, Italy - master level

  1. Yiakhang Pangxang from National University of Laos, Vientiane. AREAS exchange mobility at University of Trento, Italy - master level

    After having completed my exchange period here at the University of Trento, I have learned many things such as new academic knowledge, skills, experiences, and different cultures. Firstly, academic knowledge that I h ave learned here are quite different from the one that I learned in my home university. Maybe that’s because the professors here are much more skillful, experienced and better than my home lecturers/teachers, due to the fact that my home lecturers/teachers mostly completed only a master degree. Moreover, the skills and experiences that I have learned here from my professors and classmates are also quite differently from the ones that I learned in my home country, maybe due to the different standard of education and different cultures. I think all of these gains will be very important and necessary for my future career as the world is getting more and more globalized. In addition, it would be a good benefit for my home University as well as my country-Laos, as it would strengthen the cooperation between EU Universities and the National University of Laos, integrate culture understanding and develop human resource in my country-Laos as well. Living and studying here in the foreign country-Italy is quite good. However, there are also some challenges too, due to the fact that the University of Trento is an international University. Therefore, there are many international students from all over the world who come to study here due to its reputation and high standards of education. So, studying here in the University of Trento is quite challenging and difficult to me, might be because of the differences in the education system here and in my country. I would say the education system here is quite good when comparing to my home university and country. 
    Hence, I would like to recommend to the students who wish to apply this scholarship to study hard and be prepared in order to catch up with the lessons and foreign classmates. Moreover, l strongly recommend that the students who would like to come to study in Europe under this Project or others should prepare some local souvenirs in order to give them to foreign friends due to the fact that this is a good way of culture exchanging and explaining.

  2. Kwankao Vongjaturapat from Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand. AREAS exchange mobility at Universidade do Minho, Portugal - bachelor level

    My name is Kwankao Vongjaturapat, a 21 year-old girl from Thailand. I’m an undergraduate student in the faculty of architecture and planning, Thammasat University.
    Around ten months ago, I came here without feeling nervous or feeling excited because four years ago I’ve been a high school exchange student in Lisbon. So, I thought this time it would be the same. But my thoughts were wrong!!
    When I arrived in Porto, I got the familiar feeling I’ve before. I took the train direct to Guimaraes where I had to live in these ten months. Guimaraes is a beautiful small city. Many people know that it’s the city where Portugal begins. So, there are many ancient buildings such as churches, castles and palaces. The year that I’ve arrived was the year that Guimaraes was the cultural capital city of Europe. It means that during this year, they would have a lot of tourists and also a lot of interesting events.
    In the first week, I stayed in the university residence. In that time, I’ve just known that I was the only one Thai in this university. I was a bit nervous because Guimaraes isn’t the main campus of the Universidade do Minho. Here there are only the school of engineering and the school of architecture, so I made new friends immediately at the residence. We were like an Asian gang because we were all Asian people who were arrived at the same time. Then, we all had to find a new residence for the long period, so we found a house which had 4 rooms, one kitchen and 2 bathrooms. We decided to stay there together.

    I found out that in school of engineering there were also two other Thais. They came here to study for the Ph.D. Our gang became larger. We have always hanged out together. It was a very enjoyable life in that period.
    During the first semester I have taken all classes with the second year’s students. The first project was a house with many location’s problem. It was very difficult for me because I didn’t understood the way they think about it and also I didn’t understood how exactly the site was. In Bangkok, we don’t have any hilly area to practice with. I’d never designed buildings on a hill before. I’ve become negative from that project. I realized that to be an Erasmus student was not the same as it was before. We weren’t only come here for cultural exchanges only, but we understood that we must exchange also our way of thinking, our education and our experience, we must exchange and adapt it together with classmates and the professors. So, I have tried to do it again and then it became better.
    During my study at the University, I had a chance to listen to some of the most famous architects from many countries. Moreover, I got a chance to ask a question on how to improve my skills to a Japanese architect. Also, I've got a chance to meet the most famous Portuguese architect, Alvaro Siza, in an exhibition of his architect’s friend, who is the architect of the building I have studied in. Also, I’ve got a chance to go to a field trip with my classmates to visit famous architectural buildings in Portugal.
    In the second semester, I have studied with the first year students in the Project studio. This project taught me how the Portuguese architects start to design an architecture. In the first project of this semester, I had designed a modular house with the 3*3 cubes. It taught me to understand the space and the dimensions more and more.
    In the last project, we had designed a gallery at the center of Guimaraes city. Until there, I could catch the point which is the most important thing that Portuguese architects are concern about. From the first project to the last, I had to design the architecture with the site surrounding and the visualization from inside out and outside in. I always have to give the professor an answer on why I put the building like this or what will the people outside see or what will the people inside see.
    As I told in my motivation letter, the architect who wants to improve has to see a lot of thing as much as he can. I believe that if you see more, you will get more ideas, inspirations and you can understand more about the people who are the user of your design. Because all the people have a unique character, this is the most important thing we’re dealing with. And this Erasmus year can confirm my faith.

  3. Lakshman Galagedara from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. AREAS exchange mobility at Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden - Staff mobility

    Swedish know-how on waste to-biogas inspires Sri Lanka

    Published Sep 03, 2012 on KTH website:https://www.kth.se/en

    Dr. Lakshman W. Galagedara from University of Peradeniya is inspired by Swedish know-how after visiting the division of Energy and Climate Studies (ECS) at KTH. He now hopes to design Sri Lankan projects for building pilot plants for biogas production from waste in collaboration with ECS.
    Dr. Lakshman W. Galagedara teaches at the Dept of Agricultural Engineering in the University of Peradeniya. He recently visited ECS (Energy and Climate Studies at KTH) to learn more about our biogas initiatives and what is being done on biogas in Sweden. The one-month visit was made possible through an Erasmus Mundus AREAS scholarship for staff mobility. During his visit, Dr. Galagedara participated in a workshop held within the project Waste-to-biogas in Bolivia, and various study visits in Vasteras and Uppsala. His main interest is on the use of agricultural waste far biogas production, going beyond the small scale projects that have been introduced in Sri Lanka so far. He now hopes to design a project in collaboration with ECS aimed at building pilot plants in Sri Lanka.

  4. Sovann On Sngin from Pannasastra University of Cambodia. AREAS exchange mobility at Georg August Universität Göttingen, Germany - master level

    How to win an Erasmus Mundus scholarship?

    An article by: Ms. Sovann On Sngin

    Hello everyone! I am Sovann On, a Master Exchange Student, majoring International Relations and Euroculture in Goettingen University, Germany. I am very pleased to share with you my experience about how I won an Erasmus Mundus Areas scholarship.
    First of all, it is important to be aware of when the scholarship application starts and when it finishes. So, I subscribed my email to the scholarship pages and always kept an eye on those websites. I keep telling myself that I need to be well-prepared. Keep in mind that the faster we know about the information, the better we can make it. Second, I worked hard on my academic studies to get a good grade. I was searching for several scholarships and they wanted outstanding students to join them. Imagine if we were not capable to understand the lectures, we will get bored and sick of those classes we will attend abroad. Excellent score in your academic study plus having experiences in social activities are an advantage. Some scholarship holders may look for the candidate who can contribute the most to their program and, particularly, the outstanding ones. For example, scholarship providers expect that we have a clear goal upon returning to our own country, what we have done for our society and in what we can do even better after graduation from abroad to help our society and country. Another important thing to keep in mind is your language ability. Since English is a universal language, most of the scholarship providers wants to see your English proficiency level. They do not discriminate who has poor English, but living abroad would be harder if you are not able to communicate with other people. Most importantly, most lectures will be conducted in either English or the scholarship holder’s language. For example, if you go to study in Germany, there will be some lectures that are in German and English. This is the reason why English language proficiency is very important to study abroad. Some university requires certain test and standard score for the candidate so, if you aim to pursue your degree abroad, make sure your English proficiency is right for the standard score that is set by host universities.
    Last but not least, set a clear goal, make yourself ready for the new challenges, be prepared and make sure you understand the requirement and the key objectives of the scholarships that you are going to apply. Remember this, DO NOT ever GIVE UP!

  5. Ven. Horn Ken from Pannasastra University of Cambodia. AREAS exchange mobility at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium - bachelor level

    5 reasons to study and stay in Leuven city - My real experience in University of Leuven

    Link: http://www.leadershipable.com/2016/02/5-reasons-to-study-and-stay-in-leuven.html

    Searching for the best place to live and the best university to study, City of Leuven is your answer. I have been living in Leuven in for one academic year and I enjoyed it so much. At first, what I did know about Leuven as just a simple city. It is one of many cities in Belgium. I did not pay much attention to it. Until I moved to stay and study there, I found very interesting. I believe those who have a stay although it's short a long one they will have the same impression like me.
    For one year I have been in Leuven, I heard nothing about stealing, robbing, fighting, accidents and even a small problem like people shouting etc. Rather I witnessed the friendly face from those people who are in the Flemish or Dutch speaking area. On the public bus, the young respects the old and along the street you will see no traffic jam or horn from a car. They are driving very quiet, responsible and very lawful.
    At the public place such as Friday market, libraries, or the longest pub, people are so nice to each other. They are there to be happy and they are respecting one's another fundamental rights. Perhaps, it is not because they are so nice but because the security system in Leuven is quite good that is why people, mostly students, did not dare to gambling their lives.
    However, I really appreciate my stay there. I wrote this article since I believe that some people and students found no or little reasons to live and study in Leuven city. As I did, I found no or little, too. Just when I moved there, things dawn on me and I got to enjoy the best time in Leuven. I hope by sharing this article with you it will help you readers not to lose faith but standing strong and will enjoy the greatest time in Leuven like me.
    In brief, I would say Leuven is the best city for many reasons and that five reasons are the outstanding:
    1) Safe and Security: Very first and foremost, Leuven is serving as the best city for its safety and security serving. Leuven is ranked as the most safety city in the world in a row. Up until now, Leuven remains in this rank. I recalled my time when I was a student there. I had to prepare my assignments, papers and reviewing for my exam and I had to stay in the library till late 1:00AM. I walked home with no sense of fear or insecurity. The city remains as it is at day time. No one is cheating or having bad purpose on one's another.
    2) Reasonable apartment or flat for renting: Perhaps the expense is higher than those countries in the Central and Eastern Europe, but the flat and apartment's renting price is reasonable. You may spend less than 500 euro per months for a flat of two people. It is really good price to live. Unlike those mega cities like Paris, Berlin or London which the apartment is dam expensive, Leuven city is the prospect place to stay and study.
    3) Good and reasonable foods: Belgium is the best beer producer. The taste of food together with beer is fantastic and you can find it from anywhere in Leuven. Also, Belgium is famous in producing chocolate. Belgium and Switzerland are fighting each other for number one position in terms of producing chocolate. You may find fantastic chocolate with the best quality such as the best brand.
    4) Friendly people: In the Flemish region, people are nicer than most part of the Belgium. Particularly in Leuven, people are mostly able to speak more than two languages. If you happen to be in the shop, restaurant, bank or government office, you don't need to worry if people can't speak English or French. They are more than happy to speak the language other than Dutch. They are so nice, in short. In addition, I can't forget to mention this one. Leuven is consisting of many beautiful girls and handsome boys. If you happen to have a good partners, I recommended you to make it in Leuven.
    5) Center of knowledge: My last reasons of staying and studying in Leuven is because University of Leuven was ranked among the top 50 worldwide. In 2015/2016, University of Leuven is ranked 35th worldwide by Times Higher Education. As I experienced myself, Leuven is tough and serious in providing good education to students regardless of both local or international students. The system and quality is strictly the same. Also, students got a good chance to study with prestigious lecturers, professors from around the world. Important than that, students can enjoy their research, reading, and doing their assignment in the library for day and night time. Library opens 24/7. I really this one since I can spend my best time in the library, reading, and researching for best sources from internet and internet library for free.
    I hope those Leuveners are enjoying their great time like me and the new comers will also have the best time in Leuven.

  6. An Truong Nguyen from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Vietnam. AREAS exchange mobility at Politecnico di Torino, Italy - master level

    I am likely to share my impressions about my stay in Torino and my experience in POLITO. I am from Vietnam which is a small country. In my country, everyday I went to school, I have to wear a mask to avoid the dust as well the polluted air. However, when I arrived Torino, I did not need to do that. Because the environment in Torino is always clean and fresh.
    Moreover, the traffic and the vehicle in Torino is good. Everytime I have crossed the road, almost all vehicle stoped to wait me until I finished to cross safely. Vietnam is different even I have to avoid the cars or trucks to save my life. So that is the reason I like your environment and traffic so much.
    A futher point is that some weeks ago, I lost my backbag which included my passport, camera,...on the bus. My Italian flatmates as well as my Italian landlord took me to the police station and tried to do everything to find my bag and my passport; but I did not heard anything better about my lost ones. I sent email to AREAS program to inform my problem and hope to get their support. Immediately, AREAS office and Incoming student office at POLITO supported me so much. So now I found my bag and my passport althought I lost my camera forever.
    However, individually, finding my passport is awesome. I gave my many thanks to the offices helping me. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to AREAS program, POLITO's offices and my flatmates and my lamdlord again which helped me troubleshooting. I studied many important lessons after this problem.
    Finally, I was known Erasmus Mundus program and POLITO from my friends and my home university. The program offered me a chance to study abroad especially in Torino so that I could have memorible experience as well as lessons. Thanks to this, now I feel mature increasingly.
    Thanks program so much.

  7. Oanh Thi Kim Nguyen from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Vietnam. AREAS Staff mobility at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

    Firstly, I must say this mobility was an unforgettable experience in my life. One significant reason for its success was the great support of the staff in the host university, K.U Leuven. Everyone in the University, from the technicians in the Computer room, the staff in the Department of International Relations, the accountants in the Accounting room, to the teaching staff of the Faculty where I did my research and even other Faculties, especially my host professor, Prof. Bieke De Fraine, was extremely friendly and helpful. I was warmly welcomed and given the most favorable conditions for my research.
    This mobility brought me a lot of experience in learning and teaching, in cross-culture communication, in traveling, etc. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all the staff in K.U Leuven, especially Prof. De Fraine, without whose huge support I could not have had such a life-changing time there.

  8. (VIDEO) Wulan Nur Jatmika & Mahayu Firsty Ramadhani from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. AREAS exchange mobility at Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal & Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic - bachelor level

    Video - "A Little Journey Won't Hurt: 300 Splendid Days in Europe":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56wd_-cGumE&feature=youtu.be

    1st Ranked in the AREAS Video Contest.

  9. (VIDEO) Rajius Idzalika from Universitas Brawijaya, Malang, Indonesia. AREAS exchange mobility at Georg August Universität Göttingen, Germany - PhD level

    Video - "My experience in Göttingen":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh6NlmoWm70&feature=youtu.be

    2nd Ranked in the AREAS Video Contest.

  10. (VIDEO) Ven. Rev Kusalagnana Derangala Thero from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. AREAS exchange mobility at Università di Trento, Italy - master level

    Video - "A Dream Coming True":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0SqtF2C2LE

    3rd Ranked in the AREAS Video Contest.