What is clearly true is that everyone experiences the Erasmus their own way, and there is not a clear guide to a 100% perfect time. The most important thing is to live it to the fullest and learn. Here is a list of 10 tips for a unique and unrepeatable experience.
1st Priority: enjoy the time you spend here!
The time you spend here will create memories you will hold for a long time, and the people you meet will become some of your best friends for life. So remember: have fun! You came here to study hard but also to meet new people and try new experiences, so don’t forget to do those as well.
Work hard every day so you don’t have to spend all your time studying before the exams!
Go to all your classes, take notes and study a bit each day so you don’t have to live surrounded by books weeks before the exams. You did not travel all the way here to lock yourself in a library for months, so try to schedule your free times as well as your obligations.
Make sure you get all the papers needed before (and after) the mobility!
This may be the most boring part of the preparation for the mobility, but it is also undoubtedly the most important part. To ensure there are not problems during your stay abroad, check all the papers you should have with you. These may include accommodation contract, learning agreement, visas… and make sure your passport and ID are valid too! That way you save yourself from surprises later, when you might not have time to fix it.
Videocalls/Skype for when you miss your family and friends!
Distance can be though, especially if you are not used to it. You must keep in mind this is temporary and the people you miss right now will be there for you when you come back. Don’t spend all your time missing home because then you will never feel as home in the new place.
Get out of your comfort zone!
A way to do this is trying to never say no to any plan, specially the first weeks or month. You may have to force yourself to do so, but I promise you will not regret it. The first weeks are important to meet new students and establish some groups of friends, but don’t worry of you don’t find your people right away, you will have lots of time to click afterwards.
Join the activities organised by the university/International students Organisations/ESN!
There is always something to do for exchange students. There are plenty of organisations creating activities and trips specially for students, and they are always fun to join and a great way to meet a bunch of new people. Check the local associations’ webs to see what fun activities they have planned and don’t hesitate to join them!
Take extra credits
Take this opportunity to take extra credits to validate some difficult subject. (One of those that the majority of the class suspends even if they study). At the time of enrollment look for those classes that give you the greater number of credits and try to save yourself from those hard ones!
Talk to everyone!
Picture this: first day of class and you are alone. Keep in mind everyone is new here, they know each other as much as you do, so don’t be afraid to talk to people! Everything is a good excuse to initiate a conversation: from the weather to the clothes they’re wearing. Not everyone will become your friend right away but who knows? Maybe those people were eager to talk to you too!
Learn the local language
This is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the new country. Of course, learning a language from scratch in such a short period of time is almost impossible, but you can try a few phrases to make your life easier. Learn something you can use in your daily life, in places such as the supermarket or the metro and try to put them into practice next time you need them.
First days can be difficult, especially when you go alone to a new place. Just remember: the year will not be as crazy as it seems at first. Make routines and keep yourself busy!