Got accepted for a semester abroad? Are you going to spend your next six months on the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Or maybe a year in London? Amsterdam? Prague? Paris? Before you take off to your future home – make yourself ready to spend a few months in a different environment. Read our list of things that you should know before going on Erasmus.
Although Erasmus grants are a huge help, saving money will help you with the first expenses, like accommodation, important documentation, any fees, etc. Living abroad might get expensive, especially if you are not keeping track of your budget. You can look for a part-time job before going on Erasmus and save that money for your semester abroad – you won’t be the first one to do so. Just think about the extra money you will spend on taking trips.
There are few online platforms that can help you predict the expenses in the city or country you are going to, for example – Numbeo.com. You can also compare the cost of living in your Erasmus destination to your hometown or any other city.
And you shouldn’t! Especially at the beginning of your exchange. Simple hangouts, international dinners, and parties are the times when all international students gather together. If you are lucky enough, there should be an Erasmus Student Network section in the city of your exchange. Members of this organization organize many events in order to help incoming students to get to know each other and the environment better. Be sure to join ESN group of your hosting city even before Erasmus begins, so that you’re not missing out on anything!
One of the most popular reasons to go on Erasmus is that you will have the opportunity to travel as you had never before. Whether you travel in a group or alone, going to different places will show you how big and amazing the world we live in is. Try to explore new ways of travelling – you don’t need a lot of money to do so. Think about hitchhiking, Couchsurfing or more lightly, backpacking.
At first, you will be surprised how much free time you have. Most likely you will have classes for only a few hours a day. But what to do with the free time? In your home city, you were probably both studying and working – as we all do. No worries. The more you get into your environment the less bored you will be. Being bored is the opposite of spending a semester abroad. After a few weeks, you will probably start travelling, so your schedule will be really tight and you may lack the time to spend the weekends in your host city! Before going on Erasmus, plan your time abroad well. Remember to keep a balance between travelling and spending time in your Erasmus city.
Please, do not forget that the actual part of the student’s exchange is studying. When you go abroad, you will understand how teaching and learning methods differ from country to country. But think how exciting it will be to take the lectures in a language different than your native one! And also – how enriching for your CV! By taking part in the Erasmus programme you have a chance to study for free in the best European universities.
Try to adapt to the environment you live in, even a little. Once you are in Spain take some siesta time, in France have some baguette for breakfast, espresso in Italy and 5 o’clock tea in the UK. Before going on Erasmus, try to make little research. Also, consider taking a language course. Knowing the basics of the local language is crucial for daily communication, such as talking to your neighbours, shopping, or asking for directions. It may seem obvious, but, once you join the Erasmus community, you will understand how important it is.
Sad but true. Lack of time to pay attention to what you eat may cause some extra kilos. But don’t worry, if you will keep your working-out habits you will be able to enjoy local food without feeling any guilt.
You will get to know many people who will be in a similar situation to yours: alone in the unknown and out of their comfort zone. But that’s the right setting to join forces and face adversities together, isn’t it? Have you ever heard of the Erasmus family? For sure, you will be part of one, too. You will create strong bonds with people all over the world, and most likely they will be your friends for life or even more! Thanks to Erasmus you may even find the soulmate you were looking for a long time.
It is definitely not one of the advantages of the Erasmus programme. You know that you are going to miss your loved ones. Being away usually means missing out on a lot of things. Even though talking to your family and friends won’t bring you back home, it will certainly make you feel better. You will use video-chatting apps on a daily basis.
Yet, remember that there’s something to be gained from losing. Living abroad will make you appreciate your motherland. Things that you were taking for granted before going on Erasmus like habits, culture or even food are those you are going to miss the most.
The last one may sound like a cliché but believe us, you’ll find out who you really are. It won’t be only about stepping out of your comfort zone. You may face some difficulties, and the first thing you should remember is to trust yourself, no matter what. Despite being quite uncomfortable and sometimes frustrated, you will gain more self-confidence and you will know what to do in the future.
Believe us, nothing is going to be as you imagined. The best is to expect nothing and be prepared for everything. The higher the expectations, the bigger is the possibility of being disappointed.
Get the most out of your semester abroad and remember to live the moment, carpe diem!