UPES student exchange program: Unforgettable and transformational experience

Student exchange programs are one of the most beautiful and enriching elements of being a student at UPES. University offers exchange programs to foreign universities such as Polytech Nantes France, ECE Paris, University of Berkeley, United States, University of Maribor, Slovenia, etc.

Nitya Agarwal, our student from BBA Foreign Trade (2017-2020), shares her experience and learnings from her student exchange program to the University of Maribor, Slovenia, from September 2019 to January 2020.

What motivated you to take part in the exchange program?

The beauty and the culture of Europe always fascinated me. On getting the opportunity to go to Slovenia, I grabbed it with both hands. Living on my own, away from my family, helped me to become more independent and confident. Of course, it was difficult at first, but it was totally worth it. I was in a student–friendly and safe city in Slovenia, sharing borders with Italy and Austria. The intra-city commute was convenient and even travelling to neighbouring countries was fairly easy.

What is the academic process like in Slovenia?

The system of education in Slovenia is very different from that of India. If here we have 4-5 lectures per day, there we had 4-5 lectures per week, which gave me plenty of time to engage in other activities. Also, in the beginning of the semester, they provided us with all the schedules of the examinations and the classes. It helped me to prepare for my exams right from the beginning. One challenging thing for me was that we had to submit the research papers in every subject which I had never done before. However, it implied more self-education, reading books, surfing the net, gathering knowledge on various topics, improving writing skills, etc. Also, there was a community for the exchange students, i.e. ESN (Erasmus Student Network), which organised various parties and activities and gave us a chance to interact with people from different cultures.

How was your boarding and lodging arranged? Was it tough for you to live on your own?

Our accommodation was provided by the university. We shared a dormitory in the centre of the city, with students from different countries – Spain, Turkey, China, Taiwan, Germany, Greece, etc. I had a roommate who was from China. The dormitory consisted of an integrated kitchen. I preferred to cook for myself which helped me to learn a crucial survival skill for the future. Sometimes my roommate used to cook Chinese food for me and I cooked Indian food for her and her friends. They were all fond of Indian curries. Once in a day I would eat outside so as to try out the varied Slovenian cuisine. Living alone helped me to discover my own self and the other worthy experiences of life.


I am going to miss the whole ‘European lifestyle’ the most – the weather, the atmosphere, the food, my friends and everything!

How was your everyday life outside the university?

There are lot of exotic places to visit in and around Slovenia as it is situated in the centre of Europe, sharing borders with Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It is known for its mountains, ski resorts and lakes. Pohorje is the famous ski resort in Maribor. We had the Slovenia trip in the beginning of our semester. We visited Lake Bled, Postojna Caves, Predjama Castle, Piran, Portoroze, etc., and almost covered the most of Slovenia. I travelled alone to LjubLjana (the capital) and it was an amazing experience. We also visited Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic and Vienna. I always wanted to visit Prague (which I did) and the city has its own charm. I fell in love with the city of Maribor. I used to spend my free time walking around Maribor and sitting beside the river, peacefully watching the swans and ducks swim. The city looks magical around Christmas, covered with the lights, the smell of firs, cinnamon and mulled wine everywhere.

What is the thing you are going to miss the most about your host country?

I am going to miss the whole ‘European lifestyle’ the most – the weather, the atmosphere, the food, my friends and everything! Living in India, I will miss the freedom I had there. Despite all the difficulties there were some fascinating moments we experienced there; it is now a part of my life and these emotions and memories will forever be in my heart and mind.

What would you suggest to other aspirants who have fears and doubts about the exchange programs?

Not everyone gets an opportunity to go abroad and study there. So, if you get one, don’t lose it. Being an exchange student is an exclusive chance; it gives you an exposure to see a whole world outside of what you know and have seen. It is an unforgettable and transformational experience that will definitely change you for good. You will come to know once you experience it. I am extremely happy and grateful to UPES for this wonderful platform. Because of them I could realise my dream of studying abroad. I wish more power to the team and my juniors – just go for it and unleash your potential.

(The writer is an alumna from BBA Foreign Trade, batch 2017-2020)

30 Comments

  1. Glad to read about your experience. This is so fascinating. I wish for your successful, happy and healthy future.
    God bless you.

  2. Well congratulations Nitya ,
    You got certain foreign exposure too .
    I hope will become mile stone of your life. I know you always trying to search new fact/knowledge . I remember when had prepared your XII class project on Marketing Management (Chocolate).
    So my blessings always with you .You always stand first in any kind of challenges.

  3. Reading your experience of Slovenia is delightful. May there be success at every turn of your life. Have a bright and prosperous future. You’re the best.

  4. I m happy for you Nitya. You made most of tbe opportunity both growing up personally and good academic results.
    I m sure your experience sharing would inspire your juniors to work hard and grab such opportunities in coming years.
    Wish you success in your endeavors.

  5. Long way to go Nitya. Indeed a transformational experience full of learning which completely matched your domain as well.

  6. This is such an honour to get a chance to have an experience like you had. I know it took a great deal of courage for you to step out alone in a foreign land for the first time but you made the best of it.
    You have made me a proud sister. ❤️
    May God bless you with everything in life.

  7. Such an amazing experience you shared. A lot of success is waiting for you.May there be huge success at every turn of your life. Have a bright future. You’re amazing.

  8. Congratulations Nitya. I hope this experience will help you alot in your future and kudos to your college who is providing such a great exposure for their students. All the best for future and had a prosperous life ahead.

  9. Student Exchange program of UPES is designed to give international academic exposure to the students. It helps to build their overall personality in an international perspective. I am proud of you Nitya. May God bless you!

  10. Opportunity is where luck meats preparation . It might have been a incredible experience of your life wish you get all the best for your bright future . A bright kid in a bright land of Slovenia 💯 . Congratulations ☺️

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