Erasmus + Success Stories
Yordan's impressions from University of Siena
“THE TRUST, RESPONSIBILITY AND OPEN-MINDNESS OF THE PROFESSORS INSPIRED MY CREATIVITY AND SCIENTIFIC CURIOSITY”
Erasmus+ Period: 16/01/2017 – 28/09/2017
Through the prism of the most diverse and bright memories from my Erasmus+ periods, one certain impression crystallizes: it strongly influenced my way of thinking and I am content.
At the moment of my arrival in Siena in 2014 year, I was already thinking over my student experience, preparing for my upcoming graduation and looking for the new goals that would give me sense after I graduate. So, in any qualitatively new experience I saw a promise for advantageous insights. Although my expectation for a familiar mindset with Italians, who are a southern people like us, the accumulation of small, nuanced differences in their behavior gave me an unfamiliar feeling. Furthermore, the international student environment allowed mostly universal values to be shared and I looked towards some of my thinking patterns through a different lens. Such insights bring about a feeling of liberty, consolidate one’s personality and reject prejudice though that’s hardly ever painless. Although a modern city, Siena is small and very traditional. It allowed me to immerse in its atmosphere, I even started communicating predominantly in Italian. My experience in the university labs was great. I was autonomous in executing my experiments for the first time. The trust, responsibility and open-mindedness of the professors inspired my creativity and scientific curiosity. The friendly spirit of mutual help between thesis, PhD and post-doc researchers made me cozy and confident. Some of my new friends suggested trying for PhD. It was the first time I considered this option seriously, although I made my decision a while later. After three years, as a PhD student, I did an Erasmus+ traineeship. It was again in Siena due to the perfect relationships with the team in the receiving institution and the uninterrupted exchange of ideas between them and my mentor and adviser since I was a pharmacy student – prof. Virginia Tzankova.
My second time in Siena was different. I managed to feel part of the city. I perfected my language skills and had amazing conversations with plenty of people, among whom I found good friends. The campus’s canteens or “mensa” was the most social place in the campus – a place, where you understand the Italian culture of enjoying good food and living in the present. I understood the differences between the cultures and mindsets of many Italian regions. My roommates from India, China and Togo also gave me an insight in their so different and distant cultures. And last, but not least - in the university, under the guidance of prof. Valoti and prof. Frosini I managed to form a new and better perception on experimental work. I understood the sometimes count-er-intuitive dynamics of the scientific process which took away much of the stress, typical for it.
In conclusion, I gained a broader personal and professional perspective and became one of the millions of participants in the Erasmus+ Programme for the past three decades!