Take a sip of tea or coffee and let me explain what moving abroad with an Erasmus scholarship really is. First of all, allow me to introduce you to the Erasmus world by telling you what is it and how it works.
Bassically, Erasmus program is a project for students in Europe who want to move abroad and study for 1 semester or two at a foreign university. There are certain partnerships every institution has and based on that and your professional and academic performance you get to choose the university you want to go to and be selected.
Now , let’s jump into the pros.
- You have a new place to call home. New air, new beautiful city to discover. New history to discover, new food to taste and new adventures to experiment. It’s just the perfect fresh new start.
- You may taste what independence is. At least a little. Financially, culturally, socially as everything is new and you are on your own.
- New friends from all over the world.You can gain social skills and negotiating skills. You get to experiment not just one foregin culture, but 100. I made new friends from Turkey, Romania, Sweden, France, Italy and many more.
- Learn a new language. At least you’re gonna understand some words and tell plain words. After living in Italy for 3 months I already knew the beginner vocabulary and understand at least 50% of everything they said. I just loved trying to imitate the authentic accent.
- It makes you more brave and adventurous. Erasmus encourages you indirectly to risk more as getting out of your comfort zone will boost your life at any level enormously. You will see after a couple weeks that you shouldn’t be afraid to try things in your Erasmus. The best memories are made out of a courageous decision.
After I shared some of the sunny and shiny side of things, let me warn you about the little problems you may encounter while your Erasmus. If you won’t notice them, I apologize in advance and just go have fun no matter what. So the cons may be the following:
- The scholarship money usually are not enough. You will probably have to work, save beforehand or ask someone to help you out with some of the expenses. Take into account that this experience is more expensive at first. You have to pay a deposit for your rent, the groceries are more expensive as you don’t know the cheap thrills as you are new to the city and so on. I highly advise you start in advance by planning your budget, but keep in mind that many things are flexible and can cost more than you anticipated.
- The 48-h homesick rule. Everytime you go back home to visit and return to your new Erasmus place, when you do come back it takes 2 days to readjust. It’s hard at first, but after a while you’ll get used to and you’ll start enjoying everything because you know you’ll be good after the second day. This is just my rule.
- The comfort. This is a plus and a minus. I put it here because I see it as a minus when it comes to physical comfort. You probably, just like me, won’t have your car, your bed or your usual meals where you move. But let me tell you, this is a plus .You’ll learn to be thankful in every situation.
- The cultural shock. After a while you’ll have most probably a shock. Don’t worry, It’s perfectly normal as every culture has its own habits and they may be different to yours.. You may react in a thousand different ways, but the best idea would be to just sit, relax and enjoy. You’ll be fine. For me it was pizza and pasta as I was living in Rome. I loved it at first, but then I hated it. I couldn’t eat any at all for a while as I got sick of it. But you know what? Now, a year later,I would do anything for a real italian pizza. Literally. Keep in mind also that you discover yourself through the cultural shock. Nothing else can help you discover yourself in such a powerful and unique way so it can be considered a plus.
Finally, considering the pros and cons, for me Erasmus was on of the best experiences I ever had so far. The amount of knowledge and skills you acquire and the stories you get here are just the best. Nothing can ever compare with it! It was the best semester I had in university. So don’t worry about anything. Just go!