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Here's How Nice Guys Don't Finish Last — They Live Rent-Free

Lorena Wildering

This post is also available in: German

The Uniplaces Scholarship is currently in its 4th edition and still accepting applications! For the past three editions, we’ve given away thousands of euros to students all over the world so they could feel a bit lighter during their study abroad experience. Without having to worry about rent, winners were able to study in their city of choice. They travelled, they met people from different cultures, but most of all, they all learned important lessons and how important it is to be kind — and that no, nice guys don’t finish last; they live rent-free for a whole semester. Check out some of our previous winners’ stories:

Maria

Act of kindness: Helped a much younger Russian student adapt to Spanish culture

Maria

I gave her some tips on how to be the first one in those never-ending queues at the immigration office, and the last one before our favourite bar closed; how not to worry when she is running late to class on a rainy day, because her teacher is most likely going to be twice as late; and how to keep smiling even when your Spanish classmates are getting too touchy-feely for our cold and conservative Russian liking.

Thanks to the Scholarship, Maria was able to travel to Santiago de Compostela and study for an intern exam for clinical psychology. She believes it was an impossible journey to be done alone, and the 8 to 12 daily hours of studying with her classmates at the library proves it — and introduced her to lifelong friends.

Stephanie

Act of kindness: Helped a friend with a rare type of cancer set up a donation campaign.

The best thing that happened was that I had the chance to live a culture that is very different from my own, even though the same language is spoken. It really opened up my perspective in so many different ways.

Stephanie travelled to Barcelona and her experience with a new culture turned her into a more open-minded person. While she was away and could feel the distance between herself and her family and friends, she learned to value them more than ever before. Right now, she’s trying to help a friend look for ways to earn money so he, too, can have an international experience.

Hrvoje

Act of kindness: As an active member of the Erasmus Student Network, he became a buddy to lots of Erasmus students

Thanks to this awesome Scholarship I had a nice flat and was never alone, because I welcomed a lot of my new/old friends and family. I was able to accommodate and introduce my old friends and family with the new international family I met abroad and inspire them to also take this step.

Hrvoje studied abroad in the beautiful town of Pecs in Hungary. Having met so many students from different countries, he grew in kindness when faced with such cultural variety. During his stay, he actively volunteered in ESN and always did his best to ensure that the next Erasmus generations have it even better.

Celine

Act of kindness: Made a video to support her friend who studied abroad for three years

celine1

The international environment offered by Lancaster University strengthened my capability to adapt myself to anyone. I feel blessed for what I learn here and what I discover everyday.

Celine is French-Vietnamese and studied abroad in the UK, an experience made even better by winning the Uniplaces Scholarship. She keeps helping people whenever she can with small actions: small messages to cheer classmates up when exam season arrives, and small events organised to gather friends. “Spread kindness,” she advises, “it doesn’t cost anything and it’s worth it.”

Alexandra

Act of kindness: Helped kids with disabilities learn music and English

Alexadra

I was both surprised, excited and skeptical when I found out I was one of the 15 people all around the globe to receive the Uniplaces Scholarship. Why skeptical? Probably because you never expect to actually gain something from your on-the-spot decisions. It turned out to be highly reliable and helpful!

Alexandra travelled from Romania to Groningen in The Netherlands. The Uniplaces Scholarship gave her the opportunity to choose this small country and took away the burden of having to apply for tuition credit, which made her student life considerably easier. She had the time to explore, learn, travel, meet people and make lifelong bonds. She has continuously helped her classmates and other students with their studies, tutoring them for several subjects.

Manuela

Act of kindness: Taught English to Palestinian teenagers in the Occupied Territories

It was a privilege to be here in Glasgow and study at an amazing university. I’ve learned that I have so much more to explore and discover, and that I need to broaden my horizons.

Brazilian Manuela travelled to the University of Glasgow in Scotland for her study abroad experience. It tickled her sense of adventure, and led her to try and become a better version of herself every day. She keeps on doing small acts of kindness, listening to people’s different opinions and respecting them, “which are things all of us should do”.

Elena

Act of kindness: Represented the students of her university in the State Council of Medical Students

Elena

It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever lived. You arrive in another country, completely different from yours. You’re scared and alone but then it turns into your home. It changes your life. Only students who have done Erasmus understand it.

Elena studied abroad in Slovenia and travelled to cities in six different countries in Europe during her experience. Living by herself and speaking in a foreign language turned her into a more independent person, and she believes that “you change with every person you meet” and are left “with a little piece of all” of them. Elena also documented her Erasmus experience on her YouTube channel!

Fernando

Act of kindness: Worked with ESN to integrate students in Seville

FernadoThanks to the Uniplaces Scholarship I had the chance to travel to many different places in Germany and other surrounding countries like Belgium or The Netherlands.

Fernando travelled to Bochum in Germany for his study abroad experience. He says he became a more open-minded person after having learnt a lot about other people’s culture, and feels even more excited about travelling and going abroad. He keeps helping his fellow students with their Erasmus experience on his YouTube channel, Ferasmus.

Julia

Act of kindness: Was involved in teaching projects in Peru and a favela in Rio de Janeiro

Julia

I had to deal with a lot of things that I had never faced before, from being away from my parents and friends for one semester in a country where I didn’t speak the language very well, to learning how to take care of my place.

Julia, another Brazilian student, travelled to Paris for her study abroad. She felt empowered and more independent than she thought, and she learned she can count on herself to face the challenges and go beyond them. One of the best things of her exchange was having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and see how different, yet similar, we all are.

Ana Clara

Act of kindness: Worked at an NGO for education in Brazil and taught English to favela children

The best thing that happened during this scholarship experience was how my perception of the world changed, especially because of the different cultures and habits. I am really grateful for Uniplaces for this experience, because in addition to this amazing semester, this scholarship stimulated me to do more and more to help others.

Ana Clara Akra, from Rio de Janeiro, travelled to Porto in Portugal for her study abroad semester. Even though she couldn’t keep on teaching English in the favelas as she used to do, she still invested her time in talking about the Brazilian culture in public schools in Porto. She now has friends from all over the world, and thanks to winning the Uniplaces Scholarship and having her rent paid, her parents were able to help her with a trip to Morocco.

APPLY NOW TO LIVE RENT-FREE FOR A SEMESTER

Winning the Uniplaces Scholarship has meant more to past winners than just a semester’s worth of rent. All winners — and probably most participants — learned a lot about themselves during their study abroad experience: getting their first feel of independence by living by themselves for the first time; becoming more open-minded by meeting new people from other cultures; solidifying their sense of friendship due to living away from family and friends; feeling empowered by overcoming new challenges; tickling their sense of adventure and deepening their love of travelling; and, ultimately, self-improving and never hesitating to offer an act of kindness to those in need.


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Have you helped a fellow student? Then tell us about it and apply to the Uniplaces Scholarship to live rent-free for a whole semester! And remember: if you need student accommodation in Europe, you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on Uniplaces.

This post is also available in: German

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