For many Erasmus students arriving in Southampton, the start of term involves something else entirely than a trip to Asda and a catch-up with friends in the pub. Issues like accommodation and loneliness are probably the main concerns.
There is, however, help out there. Hopefully new Erasmus students will already have accommodation sorted out, but since halls are full at the start of term some will be faced with the daunting task of finding a place to live. One way to find a room is by using the message board on sassh. Another option would be to find some other Erasmus students in need of accommodation and hunt for a house together. One place to do this is on the esn Southampton’s facebook page.
Another support is the buddy scheme. The scheme links Erasmus students with current Southampton students, who will be able to answer any queries they have – from accommodation worries to where the nearest shops are. It’s great for Erasmus students feeling a little lost and wanting someone to turn to when in need. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for Southampton students to make friends with someone from a university abroad.
There are a lot more things to be done when on arrival. First of all you must register with the university and get your ID card. In order to register a range of documents is needed – check the list of documents sent by the university. And don’t forget to change some money. A good idea is to get a bank account in the UK, particularly if you will be here for a whole year. This can only be done once you know your address in the UK.
Once all the boring stuff is done, you can start to enjoy yourself! There are campus tours every weekday at the start of term and plenty of social activities to enjoy, from cocktails in the Bridge bar to films in the Cube. The bunfight will be a superb opportunity to join societies and meet people. It’s inevitable that you will have a couple of wobbly moments in the first few days, but once you have found your feet you will have a great time on Erasmus!