My Erasmus+ Experience – Conor McKeon – Dublin City University

Gerry O'Sullivan

Posted: 23 June, 2021

“The amazing experiences of past students” was the deciding factor in Conor McKeon’s decision to head off on a year-long Erasmus+ mobility to the Autonomous University of Barcelona.  The native of Swords, Co. Dublin was 20 years of age in 2019 pursuing a Business studies degree.

“The Erasmus experience had a massive influence on my amazing university experience.  This was an opportunity I simply couldn’t let pass. Although at the time it wasn’t the easiest decision having to leave home for an entire year for the first time.”

Conor McKeon on the right with Erasmus Student Network friends

Conor explains “Upon arriving I lived on campus in student accommodation with other Erasmus students. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make friends, but you really have to remember there are hundreds of other students in the same boat as you.  It was amazing to make friends from all over the world. You learn a lot from each other as you all come from diverse backgrounds making it so interesting. I immediately began improving my level of Spanish and by the time I had finished my exchange I had reached fluency in the language.”

Most memorable part of the year

“During each semester the Erasmus Network Society of Spain hosts a national event where over 3,000 Erasmus students from all across Spain meet at a chosen location. This experience was unforgettable as it involved traveling with my new friends from Barcelona and arriving in Valencia where we were instantly immersed with many new people again.  It was unbelievable!”

Differences it made to me academically and professionally

The mobility has impacted on Conor in several ways.  “There are several differences the Erasmus experience has made to me both personally and academically. This experience enhanced my understanding of all kinds of people from different backgrounds. It has also taught me how to use transferable skills such as adaptation to new environments and stress management to become a better version of myself.

By stepping out of my comfort zone and throwing myself into an unknown environment, it has had a massive impact on my ability to make key decisions today. I strongly believe that living in a foreign country for a period of time says a lot about the character of the person, it really forces you to become independent, and to solve unexpected problems quickly. These are fantastic qualities to have for both career and personal development.

Further, future employers will see that you are well able to step outside your comfort zone and thrive in a new environment which is key for fresh graduates. It really is a win-win.

The Erasmus experience has made me feel like I can be at home in any place in the world. It has has opened my eyes to the world and to other cultures which you are impossible to obtain from simply visiting  for a short period of time. You develop a new way of thinking from being exposed to people all around the world. This  experience has allowed me to become more mature and confident as a result. I met people I would have never met otherwise.”

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