Durham University Erasmus Society- An interview with a member of the Exec for the Academic Year of 2017/2018
Perhaps the most important question: what are the aims of the Erasmus society?
You could say that the main objective of the Erasmus society is to promote intercultural understanding amongst the students at Durham, and also to establish a bridge between the international students, Erasmus students and the Durham students. We also want to be able to enhance their [the international students] overall experience here at Durham university.
How important do you think it is to engage with different cultures?
Personally, I think it is a must for those who have the opportunity to do so because people who are exposed to more than one culture will be able to understand others better. I also think that it is also a good way to avoid cultural misunderstandings which can sometimes end up being quite awkward.
Definitely agree on that one! You must have plenty of experience as an international student dealing with cultural differences. What was the biggest shock for you?
That is quite a difficult question to answer, if I’m being honest. Based on my own personal experience, I am often shocked at how people simply assume other people’s identities based on others looks. I find it shocking and culturally inappropriate.
Do you think that Durham does enough to include and incorporate Erasmus students into Durham student life?
Well, again, this is based mostly on my own experience, but I think that they do. Unlike the universities abroad that I have studied in, you actually go to the same lectures as the national students. There are also a lot of societies that you can join if you want to become more involved, like, for example, the Erasmus society.
Finally, what can you tell about this year’s events that will be organised by the society?
Following the success of our Reggaeton night last week, we are planning to do another one soon, which will be very exciting (who doesn’t love cheesy Spanish pop music?). We are also planning a trip to York Christmas Market at the end of the month, which is a good way of getting international students to see a bit more of this country, especially if it is there first time here, as well as being just a nice excuse for a day trip!