Studying abroad? Students head for Slovenia

Photo: European Commission

More and more students are living and studying abroad - at least for a short period of time. They go seeking experience of a a different culture, study at a foreign university, and to meet new friends and learn another language. And many of them are finding these things in Slovenia.

Photo: European Commission
Nowadays students who want to study abroad receive professional support by the SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme that offers the possibility of studying in another European country for a period of between 3 and 12 months. Although Slovenia is a small country and still an unknown country to many people the number of foreign students, who come to study for a short period of time increases steadily. In Ferbruary a new group of foreign students started their studies in Slovenia. But what are the major reasons for them to come and study in Slovenia? When asked what to expect form this experience, Georgina from Athens said:

"Well, I was hoping to meet the country, to meet new people and a different way of life. And maybe to help me in my studies later on."

Getting to know a foreign culture and country seems to be one of the major reasons for foreign students to come to Slovenia, however Chris from Glasgow based his decision to come to Slovenia on the fact that he can snowboard and that the costs of living here are quite cheap:

"I've been here since September and going to be here until the end of May or June. I came here really because I can snowboard, because there is snow here. It's quite cheap and the girls are very nice as well. The other options would probably have been to go to Scandinavia or something like that but it would have been more expensive. I think it's more interesting to come here."

Receiving additional academic skill does not seem to be one of the top priorities for students to take part in an exchange programme. Students from abroad have been coming to Slovenia for almost 7 years now and for many of them it is hard to adjust to the new environment, at least at the beginning. But the Erasmus student network helps them with their problems. The network offers help in the integration process. This is mainly done through activities in the local sections, which include cultural and social events such as trips to various places within the country, language projects and international food fests and last, but not least, parties. Getting to know a new country attracted Manuel from Spain to come and study in Slovenia:

"I have been here for five months I arrived in September I am finishing my studies now I will leave in three weeks. I chose it because it was a new country for me, because in Spain Slovenia is not very known, many people think that we are in Slovakia. I tell my friends every day no I am in Slovenia. And it's a nice place and I am falling in love with this city, because it's very comfortable the people are very charming. Yes this Erasmus experience is wonderful you meet people from all over Europe. It's great I now have friends from Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, England everywhere in Europe."

One of the major problems students from abroad encounter is the Slovenian language, which is quite difficult to learn, Manuel, too stresses that the language is difficult:

"Difficult it's very difficult. I tried to learn but it was too difficult. I just know a few words, some expressions."

Klemen Vovsek form the Erasmus Student network in Maribor said the number of foreign students in Slovenia is growing but unfortunately the number of Slovenian students, who take part in the exchange project, is still very low.