Participating in an Erasmus exchange can be a daunting thought at first: moving to a new country, learning a new language and customs as well as adjusting to a different way of learning and teaching methods. However once experienced it’s something you will never regret doing and like me you may think of the exchange as one of the best experiences of your life.
I began thinking of taking part in an exchange in my first year of studying at Winchester school of art, it’s a distant thought at first but soon the reality of actually going on an Erasmus exchange soon catches up with you. If you are seriously considering taking part in an exchange then I would recommend doing your research about the courses, country and language in good time. It’s a good idea to learn some basic language skills before you leave, don’t always expect that all countries speak good English. Luckily for me my studies abroad were taught in English, but check beforehand what language you will be taught in.
I was lucky enough to apply with a friend from the same course and once we had been accepted we quickly organised accommodation and got together all the necessary documentation needed for a 3-5 month exchange program. I would really recommend sorting out all your accommodation out before you leave and to also make sure the accommodation is genuine. Usually the hosting counties will have student accommodation which Erasmus students can also apply to, but in good time.
In my case I went to the Swedish school of textiles in a small city in Sweden. Once I had settled into my new accommodation it didn’t take long to make new friends and to adjust to a new city. It was surprising how quickly Sweden felt like home, but I would say that if you are considering an exchange in a cold country then you should be prepared for the harsh weather conditions. The Scandinavian countries also work differently from most European ones on the Erasmus program, so it’s important to get accustomed to your new country as quickly as possible. The Nordic countries tend to be much more expensive than European ones, things like food, travel and sometimes accommodation can be higher than what your used to, so budget for the unexpected extra costs of living. Luckily the Erasmus grant does cover some if not most of the costs from the exchange.
Participating in an Erasmus exchange will benefit you and your studies and it’s great to learn new methods of learning which you can later apply to your studies back in the UK. You will make friends for life from so many different countries, have a great social life, get the chance to learn a new language and even possibly, like me, think about studying or working in that country later in your life. The whole Erasmus experience is like no other most of you will miss it very much when it’s over. So if you go on one enjoy every minute and try and gain as much as you can from it as it only happens once.
Written by Olivia Burrows