20 Tips For Your Erasmus Year
Are you finally heading off on your Erasmus year and looking for some tips? We’ve got 20 AMAZING tips for you to help you get the most out of this once in a lifetime experience.
For Bachelor students in Europe, your Erasmus year abroad is one of the most exciting times during your studies. You can choose from several locations in other European countries, and experience all it has to offer as a student. While the Erasmus Year program will certainly be a highlight, you’ll want to be well prepared before heading off. So without further ado, here are 20 Tips for your Erasmus Year!
1. Apply On Time to Get Your Erasmus Scholarship
The Erasmus Scholarship program is a fully funded program aimed at providing students the opportunity to study in another country. Because it is fully funded, it’s important to apply well in advance to ensure you get a spot. Each university and department has limited seats, so procrastinating could cost you one of the most exciting student experiences! This is probably one of the most essential tips for your Erasmus year. For more information on programs available at your university, please consult your department.
2. Get an ISIC Student Card Before You Go
One of our favourite tips for your Erasmus year is to get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). This card will be a money saver for you, no matter where you decide to study. While the ISIC card does cost around 13€ to purchase, it will give you loads of discounts at museums, attractions, bars, restaurants, as well as the salon! For a list of discounts, click here.
3. Don’t Pick Difficult Courses
This might seem like one of the most irresponsible tips for your Erasmus year, but it’s an opinion based on the experiences of lots of Erasmus students: don’t pick difficult courses. While the Erasmus program is aimed at broadening your academic experience, it’s also there to help you broaden your cultural experiences. Locating, although temporarily, to a new city is a learning experience in itself, so take it easy and enjoy it!
4. Travel While on Erasmus
Take advantage of your new location and travel! Studying in a new location means there are tons of new local destinations to explore, as well as different holidays to take advantage of. Many Erasmus students see it as an opportunity to explore destinations they otherwise wouldn’t, and we highly encourage you to do the same. Many Erasmus groups have weekend trips you can join, so be prepared to do a bit of exploring!
5. Contact Previous Erasmus Students Before You Go
You can find lots of information about your destination online, but talking to someone who’s already been will always give you the best insight. Try to connect with Erasmus students who have studied at your destination before, and get in the know!
6. Attend Erasmus Events & Parties
A lot of your Erasmus year will be spent socialising and partying. Local Erasmus groups, organisations, and others offer lots of different parties and events you can participate in. To get the most out of your experience, we highly recommend attending as many events and parties as possible. You’ll meet tons of new people and make lots of connections this way. Never mind the lasting memories!
7. Build your network
Maybe it sounds sounds like something your parents would say, but this is really one of our most valuable tips for your Erasmus year! While you’ll certainly be spending this time meeting new people, exploring, and having fun, use it to also expand your academic and professional networks! Ensure you add everyone you meet to your LinkedIn page to stay connected. This could very well lead to your next job after you graduate!
8. Join Erasmus Groups
Once you arrive in your destination, there will be tons of groups you can join. But what about before you go? You can find Erasmus groups across various social media platforms, but our best tip is to join the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). This network will keep you updated on all the Erasmus student events happening in your area, so you’ll never miss an opportunity to maximise your experience. ESN also has a Buddy Program, where Erasmus students are matched with a local student to help them get familiar with their new home!
9. Get a Good Laptop or Notebook
If COVID taught us anything, it’s that having a reliable laptop or notebook is key. And this is especially true if you’re a student. While electronics might be cheaper abroad, purchasing them can be a stressful process if you don’t understand the language and can’t ensure it’s exactly what you need. Do yourself a favour and gear yourself up before you go!
10. Send Books Directly to Your Erasmus Location
This is a pretty useful tip for your Erasmus year! Chances are, you’re going to have to purchase a few books for your classes. Rather than bring them in your luggage – taking up extra space and weight – consider sending them directly to your location! If you don’t have an address you can send them to, contact your Erasmus department to see if you can have them delivered there.
11. Learn the Language
Most students participating in the Erasmus program end up choosing destinations in foreign countries. While it’s not required to speak the local language while you study, it can be helpful in navigating local life and blending in with the locals. Furthermore, it will enrich your Erasmus experience. Download a language learning app, like Duolingo, or find online language programs or tutors to help you in learning the basics! Check out our guide on Portuguese and Spanish if you’re going to Madrid.
12. Research Bank Accounts
You can’t do much without money, so do your research and find a bank your comfortable with before you go. If you prefer banks which have physical locations, we recommend finding something which offers a discount, or free account for Erasmus students. However, several online banks exist across Europe, and typically offer free accounts, regardless of student status.
13. Find Accommodation Close to Your University
Living in the city centre always seems like a good idea, but we’re here to tell you it isn’t, especially on your Erasmus year. You will want to find something close to your university, or at least somewhere which has a good connection. You can often get support from your Erasmus department to find accommodation, but don’t leave this last minute as spaces fill up quickly.
14. Blend With the Locals
Participating in Erasmus means you’ll meet lots of other students just like you. But you’ll miss out if you don’t at least try to meet locals in your destination. Rather than frequenting Erasmus bars every weekend, switch it up and check out places the locals like. We also recommend checking in with local hostels to see if their bars are open to the public as it’s another great way to meet people!
15. Do a Free Walking Tour
Once you’ve landed in your new home, you’ll want to get acquainted with it as quickly as possible. Wandering around by yourself or with other Erasmus students is great, but joining a free walking tour will give you special insight into your new home!
16. Figure Out if Your Phone Plan Works Abroad
One of the most important tips for your Erasmus year is to ensure your phone works in your new home. Luckily, most phone plans work across the entire EU, but some exceptions apply. This is one of our most useful tips for your Erasmus year, especially if you want to stay connected!
17. Buy an Air Bed When You Arrive
Once you’re settled in your new home, it will only be a matter of time before friends and family start coming to visit you. If you want to ensure a comfortable stay for everyone, invest in an air bed for your guests! If you live in a shared living space, you can also discuss splitting the costs if you all expect you might use it.
18. Research Grants
Erasmus is a scholarship program but often there are situations where additional funding is available to assist students with living expenses or special circumstances. As with the program itself, we don’t recommend procrastinating on this as grant funds are limited. Even if you’re not sure you fit the qualifications for application, you won’t lose anything in trying!
19. Don’t Bring Too Much Stuff
Whether you’re going away for a weekend, or spending an academic year abroad, people tend to overpack. One of our final tips for your Erasmus year is to pack only what you need. Your style might change in your new destination, or perhaps your wardrobe isn’t adequate for your new climate. Either way, only taking what you need will ensure your move will be much less stressful. Also, it will give you more of a reason to acquire items as souvenirs!
20. Get a Local Job
Our final tip for your Erasmus year is to consider getting a local job. Most programs allow students to work a few hours every week for some extra income, and this can be a great way for you to blend in with your new community, meet locals, and learn the language!
Where to Stay in Europe
Europe’s Famous Hostels is a network of hostels located across Europe and Israel. All locations within the network maintain a high customer and safety rating, meet and exceed hygiene and COVID-19 safety standards, and are fully equipped. They’re especially perfect for students whether they’re travelling or need long term accommodation. as With highly social reputations and a variety of rooms on offer, they will your stay as enjoyable as possible.
All our hostels are also famous for their facilities and social atmospheres: from Happy Hours, Free Walking Tours, to saunas, and more, you’ll love being our guest. From the highlands of Scotland to the Dead Sea in Israel, stay famous when you stay with Europe’s Famous Hostels.
20 Tips For Your Erasmus Year
We know preparing for the program can often be stressful, so we hope you’ve enjoyed your 20 Tips For Your Erasmus Year! If you plan on doing any travel while abroad, be sure to book your room with Europe’s Famous Hostels! From Edinburgh to Tel Aviv, our hostels are among the best in the destinations, and are famous for being sociable and welcoming places for everyone. Click here to see a complete list of destinations in the Europe’s Famous Hostels network.