Anna Gevorgyan, Armenia: European Master in Lifelong Learning: Policy and Management (MA LLL)
I remember the moment when I walked into my room at a student hall in London as a fresh international student – and immediately wished I had bought a return ticket home. There was nothing scarier than those first few seconds in a fast-paced, diverse, and huge city – especially for someone who had left a secure job and steady life behind to plunge into a new journey as a student at the age of 35.
Totally – but not in the beginning.
Every once in a while, I would have panic attacks and doubts whether I should have quit my job and returned to academic life. With time, however, the decision to start a new journey as a mature student turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.
In fact, I thoroughly relished the chance to be back to an academic environment. I felt more relaxed than my academic peers who were younger than me. I could easily relate my professional experience to what was happening in the classroom. I bonded with my professors and tutors more easily and could talk with them about various concepts in both theory and in practice.
And not only that, but I was able to value the diversity of my new peer group, their personal stories, backgrounds and identities with perfect ease. One of the best advices that I received from a friend back home prior to my international journey was: ‘Pack an open mind, say no to comparisons, just observe’. The golden words held true for all the experiences, people and the events that I encountered throughout my stay abroad.
These experiences that I collected on a day-to-day basis gradually shaped the new Me -- who, by the end of the two years of my Erasmus Mundus life – felt younger than ever before.