To go or not to go? That is the question.
I was fortunate to have an Erasmus Study Year during my 3rd year at university, and it was, without doubt, worth the worry and nerves! I have just got back from Strasbourg, France, where I studied French Law and it has been amazing. I have met some incredible people from all around the world, have been able to travel around Europe and have just thoroughly enjoyed all nine months of it!
I have been worrying about it ever since I got accepted onto the course when I was doing my A Levels, but I had nothing to worry about. I was going out there with 5 other friends, I had already studied French Law at university, and I was a short flight from being back home... so what was I scared of? The unknown.
Living in France takes some getting used to: some shops closing for 2 hours at lunchtime, nothing open on a Sunday, plus the French education system with lectures that could start at 8am and finish at 8pm. Nonetheless, we plodded along and survived! Nothing went horribly wrong; after all we all had somewhere to live and we could already speak the language.
Being an Erasmus student means you receive a grant for studying abroad – very helpful! But finance aside, it is worth knowing that the Study Year Abroad is not only a fantastic way of developing your personal skills, language proficiency and education levels, it is also invaluable as far as meeting new people and life experiences go. I have made friends who come from Canada, Australia, Mauritius and even closer to home, such as Ireland and Scotland.
With the useful communication tool that is the Internet, keeping in touch with friends and family through Skype, Facebook or simple email was never a problem, and can really help when you’re having the odd little homesickness moment.
Although I still have another year at university and my friends are graduating this summer, I am incredibly glad that I went abroad for a year during my university studies; it helps you to grow, increase your confidence and social (and career) network, as well as looking pretty good on the old CV!
If you have the opportunity to study abroad, take it!
Author: Lauren Eames