My Erasmus Year was a fantastic experience and one I won’t soon forget. And while I made some great memories, I wish I had known some things before heading into it. I want to help you avoid that, so I’ve come up with a list of 20 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Erasmus Year.
1. Apply on time to get your Erasmus Scholarship
One of the best things about going on an Erasmus Year is being able to get a scholarship. The Erasmus Scholarship is available for internships, exchange semesters, and even for post-graduate programmes. Ask the international office of your university about the conditions and how to apply.
2. Get your ISIC student card before you go
With this card, you can get discounts at museums, tourist sites, bars, restaurants, and even hairdressers. However, when you’re abroad there’s a good chance they won’t accept your local student card. Therefore make sure you get the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) before you go!
3. Don’t pick difficult courses
Don’t show this one to your parents, and certainly not to your university. But real talk: don’t pick super difficult courses. During your time abroad you’ll learn many other things, like living in a new city, a new country, and speaking a new language. This is a valuable experience in itself so don’t make it too hard by picking the toughest courses.
4. Your Erasmus Year is the best time to travel
While abroad, you don’t have as many obligations as you do at home. This means you’ve got plenty of free time to explore the world! Being on an Erasmus Year is the best time to travel so make sure you use your weekends and days off to plan as many trips as you possibly can!
5. Contact previous Erasmus students before you go
Ask your university for contact details of other students who went to your Erasmus location. They often have a lot of amazing insight and recommendations for you!
6. Erasmus parties are the best
Expect to party A LOT (another a reason why you shouldn’t pick any difficult courses). Wherever you will go, Erasmus parties will be there! And you’ll love them and will be one of the highlights of your exchange semester. Pack your party clothes and prepare yourself!
7. Build your network
Maybe it sounds sounds like something your Dad would say, but try to use your time abroad to build your network. Add everyone you meet to your LinkedIn. They might be able to help you get your first job after you graduate!
8. Join Erasmus Facebook groups
Sometimes you just have a simple question, want to know about events, or just meet up with some other Erasmus students. The best way to do this is by joining Facebook groups and getting to know more people like you!
9. Get a good laptop
We all know how essential a laptop is to your studies nowadays. Maybe you think your old one will last the year just fine, but maybe it won’t. Buying a laptop in a foreign country can sometimes be stressful as well. Do yourself the favour and buy a new laptop
10. Send your study books directly to your Erasmus location
If you need a lot of study books, send them to your new study place. This will save space in your already too heavy suitcase.
11. Learn the language
If you’re going to a place where they speak another language, learn some basics before you go. While you can easily find English speakers in most countries, it’s part of the experience to try! And the locals always appreciate it!
12. Research bank accounts
When you move to a new place you often have to open a local bank account. Make sure you research before you go to find the best option for you.
13. Find accommodation close to your uni
Even though it’s great fun to live in the city centre, it’s not the best idea if your uni isn’t in that area. Your uni is the place you’ll have to go to (almost) every day, so make sure you live close by, or at least have a really good connection to the campus.
14. Meet people in the hostel bars
If you want to meet more people outside your uni and the Erasmus scene, then make sure to go to hostels. Most have bars, and are often open to the public. A cool way to meet new people!
15. Do a free walking tour
A great way to get to know your new home is a free walking tour. The guides are great sources for other local tips!
16. Check which discounts students get in your new city
When you have your ISIC card make sure to check where you can get discounts. There are often so many places and activities you can do for really great prices, and sometimes there’s even freebies!
17. Buy an air bed as soon as you arrive
Be prepared for having a lot of friends over when you move somewhere. Everyone wants to see where you live and spend a few days with you. It’s nice to be able to offer them a place to stay so investing in a good air bed will definitely pay off!
18. Research scholarships
Research all kind of scholarships you might quality for. Even if you think it’s not for you, you might be the perfect candidate.
19. Don’t bring too much stuff
People tend to panic and pack everything when they go abroad, but don’t make this mistake. Your new home will have tons of equivalent things, and you’ll end up accumulating tons of new things! In the end, you’ll feel a lot better.
20. Get a local job
If you’re allowed to work at your Erasmus location, it can be fun to get a local job in a cafe, restaurant, or even as a tour guide. It’s the best way to connect with local people and experience the destination to the fullest.
And those are the 20 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Erasmus Year! Will you be heading out on your Erasmus adventure soon? Consider these tips when preparing for your experience!
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