Meet the exchange students
For the fourth and final interview in our ‘Meet the exchange students’ series we hear from 23 year old Natalia Dąbrowska who, with the help of the Polish Scholarship programme, made one of her biggest dreams come true and embarked on a journey to Iceland.
While studying applied linguistics at the Institute of Specialist and Intercultural Communication at the University of Warsaw, Natalia caught the opportunity to participate in an exchange and spent five months at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík during the last year of her studies. She has now completed her BA degree and aims to continue her studies through a Master's programme. Read on to find out more about her experience:
Why did you decide to participate in the exchange?
Going to Iceland was my biggest dream, right on the top of my bucket list. The Grants gave me an amazing opportunity not only to visit the country, but also to get to know the culture, a bit of language and meet people from all over the world.
What knowledge and skills do you feel that you gained during your exchange that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
I have definitely learned a lot. First of all I studied Icelandic and now I am able to continue to study this language on my own, I was forced to speak English all the time, so the barrier to speak foreign languages has completely disappeared. I feel like I am more open person, not so shy, and I know that there is nothing wrong about asking for help or not knowing how to do something. I have also learned how to live apart from my family and friends and at the same time to keep in touch with them all the time.
Do any events or experiences from your stay really stand out in your memory?
Going to Iceland is fascinating enough! But the best thing about this country is sitting in natural hot pots hidden somewhere in the mountains and going to the music festival called Aldrei fór ég suður, especially when the first song you hear is performed by Mugison, the director of the festival.
Did you get involved in any extra-curricular activities or pursue any special interests while you were there?
I worked as a volunteer for Stockish Film Festival and the Sónar Reykjavík music festival. I have also launched a blog where I describe my observations concerning Iceland.
The Icelandic Centre for Research RANNIS is a donor programme partner in the EEA Grants scholarship programmes. Participation in the programmes does not only bring value to students participating in exchange studies in Iceland - it likewise gives Icelandic students, researchers, teachers and other educational staff a great opportunity to expand their knowledge:
"Learning through the scholarship programmes goes both ways. Through cooperation, the Icelandic participants are confronted with challenges, ideas and solutions in the school systems in other countries which they can bring home," says Viðar Helgason, Senior Adviser at Rannis' international division.