This month we had a conversation with Elena Ridova, Computer Science and Engineering student, enthusiastic to make a positive change in the world we live in.
And this is what she has to say for Erasmus + projects, and for the past year in general.
Tell us something about yourself: who is Elena and what is she doing?
Elena is a positive, energetic Computer Science and Engineering student, who is really sociable and outgoing. Although she is quite ambitious, she tries to enjoy every moment to the fullest, but also uses her time productively, in ways that can make this world (at least a little) a better place for a living. (and no, I do not normally speak in third person XD).
On how many youth projects have you participated so far, and what have you learned from the experience?
I have stopped counting after the 10-th. I can say that participation in these projects really helped shaping the individual that I am today. It made me step out of my comfort zone and improve my communication skills, by interacting with people coming from different backgrounds, which in my opinion is important not only for everyday life but also for building a professional career. I have become more tolerant, flexible, and simply put – I have embraced my extraversion.
Explain your Erasmus+ experience in 3 words.
Lifechanging, adventurous, inspiring.
How did this Covid 19 time affected your life, and what have you done to grow during this year?
One thing is for sure – we had a lot of time to reflect on things this year. Surprisingly, at first, I did not take the isolation caused by the corona virus outbreak so hard. It was interesting to see people’s ability to improvise, adapt and overcome by finding different ways to continue with everyday life. Personally, this year wasn’t so bad – I did an internship, which was a great experience for me, I finally got to write an Erasmus+ project (something’s cooking), explore our country etc. There is always room for improvement, if you have the proper will and motivation.
What would you say to motivate other young people to take part in youth projects?
“If youth knew; if age could” – so be curious, explore and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone!
Which part from Erasmus+ inspired you to do what you are doing now?
Well, as I mentioned above, currently I am a Computer Science and Engineering student in third year. When I was in my first year of studies, I had the possibility to participate in an Erasmus+ training which had the form of a hackathon. There, we were creating digital solutions for some social challenges. During this event, I met the most wonderful people and future colleagues, which made me realize how much networking possibilities this field offers and made me aware that with my work, I can contribute a lot to a society which is becoming more digital every day. In a nutshell, since I got back from this training, which took place in Turkey, I have never ever doubted my academic choice again.
How the knowledge/skills/attitudes aquired from participation in youth projects have been beneficial for you?
I can say that I have experienced the benefits from participation in youth projects on many different levels. I will try to explain a few of them. Firstly, I have improved my communication skills a lot. I have improved my language, but also learned a lot about different “profiles” and how to approach them, which I think helped me become a person who can nurture good relations with everybody. This, along with teamwork, is crucial for having a good personal and professional life. Furthermore, I have embraced my creative side. I have always been a person who is interested in arts, but I thought that my drawing, for example, is not that bad, but is also not remarkable. These projects helped me understand how to use my creativity for doing everyday tasks, and showed me that it doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it sends the right message. Finally, the whole experience of travelling alone with people you just met, helps you become more independent and aware about other people around you.