For Jure Kumljanc, a student exchange to Birmingham came as something of a culture shock. ‘It was unusual for me to live in a big city and to meet people from different countries and races.’ He also found the course in tourism business management challenging and had to get paid work to cover living costs.
Despite initial fears, he was pleased to discover that people in the multicultural city were friendly and open-minded. He got a job, and stayed to work over the Christmas break when most other Erasmus students headed home. And despite his surprise that the lecturers cut no slack for Erasmus students – ‘there were more assignments and tests than in Slovenia’ – he appreciated the freedom given to students to research assignments and ‘think outside the box’, and the fact that he was given feedback and corrections, and not just a simple grade on his work.
One reason that everything worked out so well is thanks to the efforts of the local Erasmus coordinator, to whom he pays tribute. ‘He was available to help with any problems we might have. Knowing that strong support was there was great.'
Now online marketing manager for LifeClass Hotels & Spa, the largest Slovene hotel chain, he has built on the skills he gained on Erasmus. ‘I got more confident at speaking in public. And I got to know about different aspects of life from students from around Europe. That was a breakthrough for me.’
‘It was the most unforgettable year of my life,’ he says. ‘It changed the way I think, the way I socialise and the way I work.’
Faculty of Tourism Studies Portorož, Slovenia (Turistica-Fakulteta za turistične študije Portorož, Slovenija)
University College Birmingham, United Kingdom
Tourism Business Management
5 months (2007)