My name is Đorđe Stanković and I am a 4th year student of bachelor studies at the Faculty of Arts in Kosovska Mitrovica. My department is printmaking.
At the end of the first semester of the 4th year an audition was announced for Erasmus exchange. I immediately thought that it was a great opportunity for me and that I would be able to improve and share my skills with people from various areas of creative work. I applied and after a while I received a confirmation mail from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. It was an exciting moment because I never thought that an opportunity would arise for me to travel through Europe or visit some of the countries from the European Union. On the 19th of February I departed from my home town and started my journey. The trip lasted for fifteen hours but it was quite enjoyable as I had a beautiful view of the nature surrounding me. I was looking forward to my first encounter with Bratislava, its architecture and its history.
On my first day I met my Erasmus friends. It was an amazing group of people coming from various countries like Finland, Spain, England, Russia, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Bosnia and Montenegro. They became my second family. They taught me many things. Together we went on many trips and visited many cities, forts, clubs, concerts and museums. Our collaboration and friendship, most often seen in all its beauty in the hallway of Konventna, are among the dearest experiences of my life. I was able to speak to people from different backgrounds and with different mentalities and discover what their customs and traditions are. This was a huge change for me because I come from a really small village where people are not used to talking with foreigners.
At first I was a bit overwhelmed with how AFAD functions but I quickly got used to it. I signed up for the printmaking atelier of professor Vojtech Kolenčik (studio of free and colour printmaking). He was very kind and introduced me to his studio and my colleagues. My friend Jozef Glaba was also really helpful. Without him I would have had a lot harder time. He taught me a few printmaking tricks and helped me with getting the necessary materials.
I also went to the drawing classes led by Štefan Oslej. I can honestly say that he was one of the best professors I ever had. He would always give amazingly helpful criticism. At the end the difference between my first and my last drawing was really visible.
One negative experience I had was with the Slovak police for foreigners where I applied for temporary stay. There I encountered a bad system and huge lines of tired people. You had to show up the previous day in front of the station and wait for a whole night if you wanted to have a chance of being called to their office the next day. I even had to return a few times because there were some mistakes in my documents. So I slept three nights in front of the police station. I even had the misfortune of being mistaken for some other man. So I was held there for six hours until they could prove that I was not him and that I did nothing wrong. It was a really stressful experience. The policemen were not nice and they avoided speaking English even if they knew it. But fortunately I was able to deal with the whole situation. It was not ideal but now it is over and in many ways it was a life lesson.
At the end I can only say that my gratitude towards the people that played a role in this adventure is huge. And I mean that especially when it comes to my new friends from Konventna who were with me both through good times and bad.