Winner Erasmus+ National Storytelling Competition Award didn’t play it safe

    And met his new self in Spain

    18 March 2019

    In his third study year, Madi Aubakirov left for Barcelona and an internship. He described his experiences so inspiring that he won a national storytelling award.

    While studying International Business & Management Studies at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Madi Aubakirov thought staying in your comfort zone was the right thing to do. But during his third year he changed his mind. He decided that when you are young it’s not a good time to play it safe. From that moment he felt that an adventure awaited him. He left his studies and rainy weather behind and went to sunny Barcelona. In this city he did an online marketing internship at a visual media company and became a new person along the way.

    Winning an award

    Madi wrote down his experiences in an inspiring way. His storytelling skills were very much appreciated and he recently received the Erasmus+ National Storytelling Competition Award. You can read his story on the website of Erasmus+.

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    Meeting the new you

    Madi definitely recommends doing an internship abroad to other students. He says: “By the end of university we all have to figure out more or less what we want to do with our lives and this is not something that you know a priori, this is something that you learn by doing. You have to try and experience as much as possible to understand a bit more about which direction you want to go. Living in a new place is definitely one of the experiences that helps to get that crucial insight. It simply kicks you out of your comfort zone and you feel awake.”

    “New life, new place, new people, new language and most importantly - new you. You are out of the routine life and it’s time to try, fail, learn and grow. It is not going to be easy, but in the end, it is absolutely worth it.”

    Adapting to something new

    Madi came from Kazakhstan to study in Rotterdam. His experience as an international student made it easier for him to feel at ease in Barcelona: “Being an international student in Rotterdam definitely put me in an advantageous position, because I already had to go through the process of leaving my comfort zone and adapting to something absolutely new. Thus, I was not experiencing feelings like extreme homesickness, so from that perspective I felt at ease. Also, by switching 14 homes in the past 4 years I have learned that I am quite adaptable by nature, so it also depends a lot on the person. Although, the less you previously traveled the more you will learn, just like in the law of diminishing returns. Therefore, I believe that it will be even better for students who never lived abroad before.”