Study on UCM was a great experience for me, especially during the experiment we conducted in the laboratory with our professors

Muhammed Bajo, originally from far away Gambia, after his Erasmus experience at our university, decided to stay here and continue as a full-time student at the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Apart from his studies, he is also involved in football and other activities. Read an inspiring interview with Muhammed about his life in Slovakia.

What inspired you to extend your stay in Slovakia after your Erasmus+ program ended?  
"I was inspired by the kindness I received from my professors and the way they allowed us to express our thoughts and helped us understand the topics of our discussions for every lesson we attended. Even when we did not understand something, they found a way to make it easier for us to grasp. Additionally, I was inspired by the locals when I played football with them. They gave me support and encouragement, and they also showed kindness towards me."
Can you share some of your most memorable experiences from your Erasmus+ semester in Trnava?
"It was a great experience for me, especially during the experiment we conducted in the laboratory with our professors. The most enjoyable part, however, was the presentations. It was my first time presenting in front of my classmates, so it was a significant experience for me and it improved my confidence. The most memorable part, though, was going out with our friends, visiting places, talking to each other about our cultures, meeting new people, and playing games. Honestly, it was wonderful."

Were there any specific courses or professors that influenced your decision to stay and continue your studies?
"Yes, it was more focused on the laboratory exercises in chemistry. We had access to more space and a greater variety of laboratory equipment to conduct our experiments. Additionally, the guidance and understanding provided by the professors were also quite enjoyable and appreciated."
What do you enjoy most about living in Trnava as a long-term resident?
"The environment is peaceful, quiet, and beautiful."
Could you tell us about your involvement in playing football locally and how it has enhanced your experience in Slovakia?
"When I first arrived, I was attending classes, going to the gym, and visiting the playing field because I knew I had to do both, play football and attend my lessons. One of the professors came to know that I played football and asked me if I was interested in playing for the local team. I said yes. I started training with the team, and that's how it all began. After a few months, I played my first game, and it was a great feeling. The love I received from everyone at the club was amazing. That helped me, and I said to myself, 'This is what I needed.'".

How have you adapted to the cultural differences and lifestyle in Slovakia compared to your home country?
"Yes, I did it. It was not that difficult for me because I don't rush into things. I take my time to listen, observe, and ask about things that are important to know about the culture. That makes it easier."

Have you made lasting friendships with local students or other international students during your time in Trnava?
"Yes, I have some friends, both international and local students. Sometimes, in our free time, we go to parties or for coffee, chat, and have fun."
What advice would you give to other Erasmus+ students considering extending their stay in a host country?
"The advice I would give is that every student must have a plan. What works for me may not work for you. Use this opportunity to do research, talk to the professors at the university, and make friends. The professors at the university will be willing to help you. Enjoy your stay during your program, have fun, but don't forget about your purpose."
What are your future plans and goals for your academic and personal journey in Slovakia?
"My first plan is to learn the Slovak language because it will make communication easier. We know that communication is the key; if you can talk to people and understand them, anything is possible. Regarding academic goals, I want to earn my degree in chemistry and sign a professional contract as a footballer. That's the first step of my journey."

Submitted by: Andrej Brník
Responsible person: Mgr. Andej Brník, PhD.
Source: Oddelenie medzinárodných vzťahov
Inserted: 18.10.2023