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Interview of the month: Kristijan Topalov

Meet Kiko, future pharmacist with wide experience in Erasmus +.

Tell us something about yourself: who is Kristijan Topalov and what is he doing?

I am Kristijan Topalov, 22 years old student of pharmacy in the final year at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. At the moment I am on an Erasmus exchange for my obligatory praxis in a pharmacy store in Antwerp, Belgium. Despite the worldwide situation, I decided that I should take the risk to go on another journey and to make new experiences. As a curious person, now I am exploring some new things during my free time, such as meditation and improving my older habits, like drawing and learning German. Also, I enjoy listening to some good music and deep 3 am conversations.

On how many youth projects have you participated so far, and what have you learned from the experience?

I have been part of many national and international projects that made a big difference in my life, way of thinking and that connected to amazing people around the world. From my first project that I learned about the gender differences in Kosovo, through that one that I widened my horizon about eco entrepreneurship in Sweden, till the last where I improved my values of peace, I can say that all projects with different topics had a big impact in what I am now. 

Explain your Erasmus+ experience in 3 words.

Growth, adventure and joy.

What was the most interesting moment you had while on an Erasmus+ project?

There are many interesting moments, but I can say that the adrenaline swimming in the cold days in Albania in a big group of people was such a special moment and also the times that it happened to be lost with other participants while exploring some new areas of the cities. And for sure the acting presentations that were made as drama while sharing the stereotypes of the countries.

What is your favorite traditional food you have tried while participating on a project and where?

The international nights are so special when in one place there is a variety of different traditional dishes, followed by traditional music and dances. As a person who is addicted to desserts, I am so happy when I see the Turkish representing themselves. I had the opportunity to try their dishes in Croatia and  Sweden, where they made or brought originally from Turkey some baklava, lokum and şekerpare. 

Which part from Erasmus+ inspired you to do what you are doing now?

The different people that I met, their stories and experiences, and understanding how other countries work, made a big impact on my way of thinking and acting. They inspired me or supported me to do some things that I wasn’t sure I had to do. All the knowledge and skills I gained are helping me to be better at my professional and personal fields.

How the knowledge/skills/attitudes acquired from participation in youth projects have been beneficial for you?

The non-formal education has fulfilled my overall knowledge, it helps me to be a better public speaker, to take more initiatives, to share my life moments with others, to be more supportive and honest. Also it comes in hand to me as I am living now in other countries to understand the differences between people, religion and culture and to accept them easily. 

What’s your passion in life?

My passion in life is to make some changes and impact in people’s life. It can be while I am doing my profession as helping people to improve their health, also can be motivating them to do things that they are afraid to, during the times I share my experience and have deep conversations with them. Also I am passionate about chemistry, so I would be very glad to help someone to improve their knowledge about it.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am the most proud of the things that each day I am a better version of myself, that I have succeeded in the dreams that I had when I was younger, that I am making differences around me,maybe small but still meaningful to someone. Also because I learned how to be comfortable even with failure and to be thankful that it happens to me, that I had that lesson which I can improve myself for the future. 

How this Covid 19 time has affected your life, and what have you done to grow during this year?

The worldwide situation made a big impact in everyone’s life, so to me too. I had enough time to make a review of what I am doing and how I can make some changes to better myself. So i had some extra time to improve my skills and to learn some new ones too. Had enough time to complete all the documentation for my Erasmus now and for the one that will follow the next semester, although I face many challenges, because the administration is not working properly, the travelling is more completed, but I worked hard to make my dreams come true. Also many plans that I had before- failed, but still the time I had I tried to use it wisely as I could.

What would you say to motivate other young people to take part in youth projects?

Go out from your comfort zones, try something new, something that scares you. Maybe it won’t be easy to have the chances to go on the projects you like the most, but believe me that even going in some “boring” country or topic of the project will change your life and your further possibilities to participate in the next one.