Dobrý den, jmenuju se Humberto Zúñiga Frigolet or in other words, hello my name is Humberto! I am a 4th year dental student here at CEU Cardenal Herrera University and I have just come back from my ERASMUS semester abroad at Charles University in Pilsen, Czech Republic. There are a few reasons as to why I chose to study there, one of them being the prestige that the university is known for, another being the country itself, and also for the challenge of living somewhere that I never would have thought possible.
This is me with one of my last patients in Pilsen. I am really proud in what I have achieved this semester concerning my dental skills, here I am reconstructing one of my patient’s molars.
I had been to the Czech Republic once before and from that time I always knew I would go back, I just never thought that I would get to call it my temporary home. As mentioned before, living there was a challenge for me and my goal was to experience a culture completely different from my own and immerse myself with the natives, experiencing life the way they do on a daily basis. As of day one of my Erasmus, I was enrolled in an intensive Czech language course that the university offered for free, which lasted 3 weeks. This was one of the best decisions I made not only because I got to learn the basics in the language, but also because the university took us out to explore and get to know the city and its history. As you can imagine, those 3 weeks went by quite fast and it was time for me to go to my study destination, Pilsen.
We took this selfie the day we got our certificates for having completed the Czech language course, where all of us managed to get the A1 level in the language! For the non-slavik language speakers I got the highest mark!!
We went a few times to support our home team (HC Škoda Plzeň) and this picture was taken after winning the match
Pilsen is where, to everyone’s surprise, the Pilsner Urquell beer is from! It is the country’s 4th biggest city, but actually, it is quite small in size. This does not mean, however, that it is a boring place. I got to spend 5 months in this city and have left with some of the best memories I have ever made. This is where I made the friends I would spend time with on a daily basis, whether it was to meet up for some beers at our residence’s bar “Ucho,” eat some very typical Indian food (hahaha!), travel to different places, etc! As cheesy as it sounds, these get-togethers do end up creating a special bond with these people and in the end they end up becoming your family. As I mentioned before, I study dentistry and in the whole group of ERASMUS students at Charles, there were only 2 of us dental students there!! When I found this out, I was honestly a little bit disappointed, but in the end, it was better this way. At practical’s there was never any competition and I always had my own dental chair, therefore I saw patients every day! This is one of the things I enjoyed most about the exchange, enriching myself in skills I had not done so yet back at CEU. The professors there are amazing at what they do, they have patience for you if you are not up to the level of their other students, help you out due to language barriers with the patients; they were just exceptional.
These are the people I am happy to have called Family this Erasmus!
On the 28th of October is the Czech Independence day and they lit up fireworks in Náměstí Republiky, Pilsen’s main square, for us to enjoy!
Erasmus, I feel, is something that everyone should have the chance to experience. It sincerely was one of the best decisions I have made and I highly recommend it to anyone needing that push to decide. Erasmus is like taking a breath of fresh air, you get to live life with no worries or previous judgements all while also going along with whatever is thrown at you. Personally, I definitely believe I have grown as a person because of this experience, it certainly gave me more confidence in myself. Getting to live life in a completely foreign place does this to people, you have to learn to fend for yourself and adapt to the situations at hand. It is very bittersweet being back in Spain, but I am happy of the adventures I have lived this past semester and am looking forward to the next ones.
My best friends on the exchange, a Spanish and a Lithuanian!
With this quote I conclude my story, it has kept me motivated through the post-Erasmus depression, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
This is a statue of Franz Kafka, a famous writer born in Prague. They say that if you touch the man’s foot, you will one day return to Prague, so nashledanou for now!