Do you know what Erasmus is? Perhaps you've heard of it, but you’re not completely sure how it works? Well, I'm here to tell you all about it from my own experience.
If you asked me to define Erasmus I would say “the best experience of my life
”, if you asked Google it would tell you that Erasmus is a European programme that helps European students in their second year at university to live abroad in a European country while studying or working. Any student can apply and here is why:
1. You can live for a year (or 6 months – it’s your choice) in any of the other 30 European countries, such as Spain, France, Germany, Italy… You name it and you can go to it!
2. It has been described before as a “long paid holiday” by many students. Why is that you may ask..? The EU gives you a bursary for the entire year that you can spend in any way you wish. From accommodation to dinners out to trips! Imagine right now that you could be on the beach in Spain, or skiing in the Alps in France… What more could you ask for?
3. Oh, have I mentioned you don’t have to pay your UK tuition fees for that year? And you still get your student grant from Student Finance. Isn't that amazing?
4. It’s a great opportunity to learn a new language. It might be scary at the beginning when you think that you will be living in a foreign country and you don’t get a word of what they’re saying. But usually people anywhere in Europe are able to speak English so you won’t feel alone at any time. Besides that, just by saying you are an Erasmus student everyone will offer to help you, immediately.
5. You meet so many people from all around the world and these friendships are for life. It’s been a year since my year abroad and I still keep in touch will all the friends that I made there. I can boast about having friends in Chile, South Korea, Mexico, South Africa, and Spain. This is a really good opportunity to create an international network
that might help you in both your personal life and career.
6. Have I said that it’s a real boost for your CV? Employers value your time spent abroad and it’s always a great way to impress them in interviews
. It’s quite a unique experience and you will definitely stand out from the crowd. Especially since you've shown that you can manage yourself, understand foreign cultures and integrate in diverse environments.
7. You will become independent and more confident. After having been able to live in a foreign country, with a different culture from yours, even a different language, and after having been able to deal with mundane problems such as opening a bank account, buying a bus ticket, going food shopping, calling for a taxi, enrolling at university.. after all that.. you will feel like you can do anything in your life. These are things you do at home as well, but doing them in a different country implies that you know how to look for a solution to the issues, with limited previous knowledge.
To sum up everything, the Erasmus programme is a great opportunity that is presented to you at university and you should definitely think about taking it. Not only will it enhance all the skills you've gained at university, it will add a few more on top of those. It is available for all second year students in universities across Europe. If you’re thinking about applying, go talk to someone from the international office at your university and they will provide you with all the necessary information. For me, it was an amazing experience and I would do it all over again if I could. Don’t miss out!