I heard about E29 and Erasmus+ for the first time from my brother, who has also participated in many projects. However, I waited for almost an entire year before I applied to my first youth exchange. This was a decision that I will regret for my entire life because after I attended it, I became obsessed with the whole concept. Yes, for the first time, it was super scary; even just the idea was frightening to me. Even more so because it was my first-time using English in real-life situations. However, in hindsight, I would say that I wasn’t the most sociable guy on the planet, but Erasmus definitely opened me up and helped me become the person I am today.

I was a bunch of nerves before the project and I was in the same state during the travel to the venue. However, as the days passed during the youth exchange, I found myself breaking out of my shell. I engaged in conversations with people from different cultures, sharing stories, laughter, and even the occasional awkward silence that comes with language barriers. Every interaction became an opportunity to learn, not just about language, but about life itself.

I remember one particular evening, sitting under the starlit sky with a diverse group of friends I had made. We discussed our dreams, fears, and the unique experiences that brought us all together. It was during these moments that I truly understood the essence of the quote, “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” In that international gathering, nobody judged each other based on their backgrounds or language proficiency. Instead, we embraced our differences, celebrating the rich tapestry of cultures that surrounded us.

Upon returning home to Hungary, I carried this newfound wisdom with me. I started to appreciate the diversity in my own community, embracing people for who they were rather than focusing on our dissimilarities. My confidence in using English grew, and I found myself actively seeking opportunities to practice the language, whether it was through online conversations or local language exchange programs.

The impact of Erasmus+ went beyond just language skills; it instilled in me a sense of empathy and understanding for others. I became more open-minded, accepting different perspectives and challenging my own biases. The connections I made during that youth exchange continued to flourish as we stayed in touch, sharing our life updates and supporting each other through both triumphs and challenges.

This newfound perspective also influenced my approach to education. I became more proactive in my studies, eager to learn about different cultures, histories, and languages. I became passionate about global issues, striving to make a positive impact on the world. Erasmus+ had not only broadened my horizons but also ignited a sense of purpose within me.

Looking back, I am grateful for my initial apprehension, for it pushed me out of my comfort zone and into a world of endless possibilities. Erasmus+ taught me that the fear of the unknown should never hold us back, for it is through embracing these uncertainties that we discover our true selves and connect with others on a deeper level.