Erasmus Exchange Programs are great opportunities for you to live somewhere else and broaden your horizons. When you tell people that you are going on Erasmus, their answers tend to be the same: 'Make the most out of it' or 'Enjoy it as much as you can, because you will miss it afterwards.' Your mind will be set on making the most out of this experience even before you leave, but probably you won’t be sure of what you could do to accomplish your goal. Here you will find a few tips, from my own experience as an Erasmus student, on what how to get the most out of your Erasmus.
By doing this you will be up to date with Erasmus or other interesting events that might happen in your area. You could read all about other people's doubts and personal experiences, and you could also post some questions yourself. Ask for any useful tips and they will tell you how to get the most out of your Erasmus in a new city.
Usually, student associations like ESN do welcoming parties and organize events especially for international students, just to give them a chance to get to know more people or places and enjoy themselves. These events are affordable and sometimes even for free, making them budget-friendly.
What if you organized a karaoke night in several languages so that everyone learns about other countries’ culture through music? Or what if you organized an international dinner where people would cook a special dish from their hometown for everyone to taste? Let your imagination flow, the possibilities are endless.
There is nothing better than food to give you an idea of that country's history. Even if it looks weird to you, you will never know unless you try it. The same applies to beer, wine, or any other kind of alcohol.
The academic part of your Erasmus exchange is also very important. If you don't mind studying in groups, look for a study partner in your course. Whether they are exchange students or not, you will not only learn new information more easily, but you could also learn a thing or two from other people you study with, just by observing their ways of studying.
I know how hard it is to go out of your comfort zone. You are in a different country, experiencing a different culture, and you might want to comfort yourself with people with the same or similar background as yours. However, if you do this regularly, you will miss out on the point of an exchange program: getting out of your comfort zone and experience something you are not used to. Get the most out of your Erasmus experience by meeting people from all over the world.
It would be nice to have written evidence of your experience. Write not only about the good times and travel experiences but also about your feelings and any rough situations you have gone through. When you are going through a hard time, writing could end up being therapeutic. You will have something to remember all the obstacles you have already overcome. Also, reading it after a few days could help you see the situation from a different perspective.
Exchange students tend to group together and avoid talking to local people. One tip that could help you make a local friend would be asking them to show you their favourite places or to exchange some language lessons.
Get the most out of your Erasmus and take advantage of your options by visiting different places. Visiting famous cities is a very surreal experience, but it is in lesser-known places that you usually find some hidden treasures. Don't forget to ask your friends to come with you. If not, don't be afraid to do it yourself and experience true freedom along the way.
Sometimes, we tend to judge people based on their cultural background. It is important not to judge a book by its cover. Free yourself from prejudice by allowing yourself to get to know them better, and then make your own assumptions based on your experience. Erasmus is a great opportunity to learn multicultural skills and to break the cultural stigma.
During your Erasmus, you will probably see that learning and teaching methods vary between countries. Take advantage of that and learn to see things from different perspectives. Additionally, try to communicate with your professors and coordinators as they could give you valuable lessons and advice. Get the most out of your Erasmus by connecting with them. Their help and friendship could come in handy in the future.
When you want to take advantage of every possible experience and get the most out of your Erasmus, you tend to spend a lot of money. One trick that could help you would be to set a monthly or weekly budget for regular expenses (like food, transportation, etc.). Whenever you manage to spend less than your budget, treat yourself with something you really would like to do or buy.
This is something almost all Erasmus students do, and there is no better souvenir than a few words from the people that went through this experience with you. It does not necessarily need to be a flag: you could decorate a notebook and ask your friends to write something for you.
It is nice to go back and see all the places you have been to. However, you will probably miss people more than you will miss the place itself. So, don't forget to ask your friends to take a group picture to have as a keepsake.
Being able to go on an exchange program is a huge opportunity, and you should try to enjoy it as much as you can. Our blog has a category dedicated to Erasmus-related topics. In case you are interested, check our blog posts and insert your email in order to access the endless source of information. You're welcome!