“Seize the moment because some opportunities don’t come twice.”
My name is Denzel Masanori L. Kiley, a fourth-year Marketing Management student at Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines, who took part in the Erasmus Plus International Credit Mobility program at Varna University of Management, Bulgaria. To tell you more, I embody the quote stated above – I seize every moment, cherish moments as if they would happen once in a lifetime, and make the most out of all other moments that are bound to unfold.
Receiving the news of being officially part of the chosen Louisian exchange students to leave the country and participate in this student mobility experience is a life-changing moment alone. How much more if we dare to imagine taking flight on a plane, residing in a different country for months, meeting diverse personalities coming from various cultural backgrounds, and immersing one’s self in an environment filled with fresh discoveries? Indeed, the endless possibilities and heaps of imagination can turn into actual realities.
Living in Europe is initially nerve-wracking, especially if you come from another continent with opposite values, beliefs, and upbringings. But despite picturing such a scenario of potential culture shock, my overall excitement overpowers our inner anxiety. Being the only group of students coming from Asia, it was beyond extraordinary to meet unique individuals from diverse origins, such as Finland, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, and our host country, Bulgaria. Apart from the contrasting differences, we all uphold, bonding with our fellow Erasmus peers brought out the unexpected similarities, which led to the blooming of harmonious relationships and the formation of one-of-a-kind friendships.
Professional progress, intercultural awareness, and personal growth are the primary things I have gained throughout this metamorphic moment. Through the face-to-face lectures at the school campus, daily interaction with European citizens, spontaneous and planned trips around the country, and simple gatherings with Erasmus friends at the dormitory, I can say without a doubt that I was far different from who I was before leaving my home country. Apart from the well-rounded character development, I gained gems of life lessons that will stick through the years as I continue moving forward with my future endeavors.
One article alone cannot put into words every moment I have been through my international student mobility experience. But to serve a cherry on top of a huge cone of ice cream, I can say that the plusses of my Erasmus Plus experience are beyond compare, exceeding my expectations and transforming me into a better version – one who is more versatile, more knowledgeable, more awake, and more aware. I want to end this glimpse of my Erasmus story with my most significant takeaway from the 3-month internationalization experience with words that I have spoken from one of my class presentations, specifically from the final presentation under the Intercultural Awareness for Business course. “Every human is like all other humans, some other humans, and no other human.” One human may have similarities to the same human, and one human may carry differences compared to another human. But in this world of diversity, let us always remember that we, as humans with distinct cultural identities, will never meet another human identical to how we communicate, interact, and even tolerate whatever comes into our lives. So, as we go ahead in our daily endeavors, let us choose to move forward in harmony, bearing in mind that intercultural awareness is beneficial for the peace of one society and the peace of the world in its entirety.
KILEY, DENZEL MASANORI L.
BSBA Marketing Management BA
Saint Louis University, Philippines