Making a positive difference to other international students' lives and gaining new skills and friends along the way
Mădălin Foghiș, an international student, chose to study abroad as part of his UK degree in order to make a positive difference to other international students' lives.
Having come from Romania to study International Business at Loughborough University, Mădălin already knew the benefits an international education could offer and jumped at the opportunity to study in a second country - spending five months in Angers, France, at the ESSCA School of Management.
“I chose to study abroad for a few months as part of my degree because I wanted to develop cultural awareness, to meet new people, to live and study in a different environment and gain first-hand knowledge of a country I loved," he said.
"I also wanted to find out more about myself and I was keen to improve my French language skills.
"As I didn't yet know where I wanted to settle I thought it made sense to experience as many places as possible to help me decide. It was also an additional opportunity to see how people in another country and culture think, and how I can make a difference."
This time abroad was one of the most important developments in both my career and personal life so far
Mădălin believes his time in France and taking part in Erasmus+ has reaped additional benefits, both educationally and for him as a person.
“I was able to travel throughout Europe, which taught me how to understand and appreciate many more different societies, contexts and values," he said. "Going abroad again also helped me learn how to adapt to yet another new environment.
“I’ve made new friends from all over the world, which has helped me improve my French as well as learning new languages. I’ve also been able to play football with incredible individuals on the university team.
“I think it has made me become more socially competent, outgoing and positive."
Taking part in a different educational system was a real highlight for Mădălin.
"I studied business modules, such as financial management, marketing and intercultural dynamics, where I had to present every day, which really helped my public-speaking and presenting skills.
"Class sizes were smaller than at home, which helped to build relationships more easily, and lessons tended to focus more on the practical angle, which was an interesting difference to my classes in Loughborough."
As an international business student, Mădălin realised the value of gaining first-hand knowledge of a different country's systems.
"Getting to know the culture and the different methods of business from the inside is priceless," he said. "You need to be in the heart of things to gain a real understanding.
"I also met a larger and different set of people from diverse backgrounds for the first time - from South Korea, Kazakhstan and Chile to name just a few!"
Making a difference
While in Angers, Mădălin took up the role of student representative for international students.
"As the student representative I was able to make a positive difference, such as suggesting improvements and influencing changes to the curriculum of some of the university courses.
"My success in and outside of college came about through assuming such responsibilities, actively listening to my peers and helping others to succeed.
"It was a very positive environment to be in and the whole experience really surpassed my expectations, gaining interpersonal skills as well as skills that will help me in my degree back home and hopefully my career.
"My language skills have also really improved, not only in French but, with the help of my friends, I can also get by in Taiwanese, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Austrian, Italian and even Korean!"
Springboard for future success
Looking back on his time abroad, Mădălin is certain that his Erasmus+ experience will help him in his career and beyond.
"There are so many benefits to taking part in Erasmus+," he said. "It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and also enabled me to meet a range of special and talented people.
"This time abroad was one of the most important developments in both my career and personal life so far.
"The Erasmus+ funding allowed me financial independence and it was one of the main reasons I was able undertake a period of studies in France.
"It has given me a hunger for knowledge and self-development and also reinforced my career focus and aspirations."
Read how another university student, Charlotte Evans, is reaping the benefits of studying abroad thanks to Erasmus+.