BY SAGOON PAUDEL
If you are lucky enough to be on a course that offers a year abroad, I highly recommend you consider the opportunity. Speaking from first-hand experience, Erasmus provides you with an entirely new avenue into your own personal development. The people you’ll meet, the new experiences and teaching styles, not to mention the perfect addition to any CV. There are so many reasons to study abroad so I would urge you to give it some thought.
If you are serious about spending a year abroad, here are some top tips that I have amassed during my time away that I hope will be of use:
- Be sure to plan ahead and look at the courses offered and see if they appeal to you. Check that the courses you want to take are offered in English and don’t clash with one another.
- Remember that you are there because you were given the opportunity through university. Be prepared to work hard and open to new teaching styles.
- Make sure you understand policies and regulations (e.g. some countries will charge you if an ambulance was called out and sometimes ambulance fees are not covered by your insurance policy). Make sure you know where your nearest hospitals and police stations are.
- Make a real effort to learn the language and immerse yourself in the culture. The little things like being able to order food in a restaurant or have small talk with a local at the bus stop really make all the difference and make you feel at home.
- Use your Erasmus grant and travel. Visit other cities and other neighbouring countries. Be open minded and say yes to new experiences, after all, it’s what the grant is for.
- Don’t stay in an ‘international bubble’ where you find others from England and stick with them. Make sure you really engage with the home students and see what life is really like for students of that country.
- Take pictures, write a dairy, start a blog. This will be one of the best years of your academic career and you don’t want to forget any of it!
- Ask for help when you need it, as there is a huge Erasmus support network here for you. The study abroad team at UWE are just an email away and your university will have a designated team for international students too, so take advantage of it!