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Errors to avoid on Erasmus?

Hello everyone!

Last night I was remembering my whole Erasmus experience in Wales and I found some interesting things to tell you about. Among other things, I can recall feelings of frustration from my friends who wanted to return home to see their families and friends. I remember the stress (mine, as well as theirs) of University work and deadlines. "I don't have time! ", "Stupid referencing! ", etc. Above all, I remember the errors that I made during my Erasmus, errors that you should avoid at all costs!

Grab a pen and paper, lets start!

Firstly, for God's sake, Erasmus wasn't made for you to be trapped in your bedroom all day making Skype calls to your friends or talking to your parents. This experience is called an "experience" for a reason, and they say it is a "great opportunity" for a reason, too. A great opportunity doesn't translate into "I'm going to stay in front of my computer and be the most anti-social person in my residence", okay? You have to do things. Go our for a walk. Get to know your city, town or wherever you are. Look, if I can find things to do in Aberystwyth, a town that I didn't know anyone in or even its geography, you can do the same. Why do some students who go to large cities stay inside all day and don't leave their house? WHY?

Errors to avoid on Erasmus?

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So many times I have found shy people who are too scared to go out, they panic in the unknown, "how will I make friends? I have come to a city where nobody known me and everyone already has groups of friends, how will I fit in here? ". Nonsense. Erasmus students always catch people's attention. No matter what, the people around you will want to listen to your accent, others will want to know your culture, and yes, some will want to hook up with you if I'm being honest. Also, your University will organise get-togethers and parties and everything to accommodate you and help you make friends. Those who stay in their bedroom eating Doritos are there because they want to.

Secondly, a much-committed error is to insist that you want to return home, to your house, your mum and your bed. Yes, homesickness can get the better of you at time, especially during exams when you want to open the window and shout obscenities because you don't know how on earth you will ever pass this subject. Yes, homesickness can make you feel so horribly sad - some girls on Erasmus cried because they wanted to see their family and they had to wait 3 days to see them. 3 days. 72 hours. Nonsense. Truthfully, if you're the kind of person that can't be away from home, don't go on Erasmus, because if do it and you're always "the miserable one" in the group, you should stay at home. Or maybe, I don't know... You could always try going on a camping trip during a week in summer so that you can practise? Erasmus is a great opportunity to learn and get to know yourself better. Open your mind. Have a good time... Don't waste your time focusing on how good it would be to be home again. Everyone is equal to you and they get on fine, some of them even enjoy it. I think that to be in contact with your family almost every day for half an hour or so is fine. Furthermore, nowadays with all of the social networking we have, it is much easier to manage. You can be up to date with everything: you with them and them with you.

Errors to avoid on Erasmus?

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Error number three: please, don't transform your kitchen into the McDonald's "Meal of the Day". The majority of students usually fall into laziness. Pre-made pizza, pasta loads of fried foods. Why. This is what I do not understand! It is so much easier to make a salad or a grilled steak. Look, you don't have to make a Quiche Lorraine or a lamb stew, but there are tasty dishes that are easy enough to make, and that go beyond a burger bought at your local supermarket. For example, I remember that this was one of the best meals of my Erasmus and it is easy enough: salmon, sweet potato and veggies. It is tasty, simple and healthy.

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So, please... Please don't become lazy. With organisation, anything is possible. Look, I remember that I ate a risotto, which is simple and and to die for. And if you don't fancy cooking one day, go to the University cafeteria which is always quite good, speaking from my experience. For sure, my favourite Erasmus thing is that the fridge is full of beer and other alcoholic drinks. I'm a fan.

Fourth error: stressing yourself out too much before exams. Before going on Erasmus I was a little nervous, unsettled... I don't know how to say it, because I was going to be studying subjects in another country and therefore, in another language also. This was really dumb because here in Spain all my subjects are taught in English anyway, so... It's like that sometimes. But still, I was a little nervous about the idea of it being really demanding for me, the level of a native speaker, for example. I arrived here and I didn't have any problem. Erasmus students help one another, like in Aberystwyth it felt like we were all in a big team. We would read the work of other people, correct it, see how they could improve it, etc. It isn't as bad as it seems. Look, I'll confess: when they gave us our first piece of work, I started it on almost the first day that I knew I had to do it, and so a week and a half before the deadline, I had already done it. I was a quite obsessed because I thought they would deduct marks for language, my written expression etc, but it wasn't like that - I got a good grade! What am I trying to tell you? That you shouldn't stress. Obviously they wont just give you a pass, but you don't need to have a mental breakdown. There is time for everything, time for you to combine partying with studying - its possible (if you don't have too much of a hangover)! Furthermore, if you do actually get bad grades in a subject, you can always talk to your Erasmus tutor, get it off your chest and he will know what to do and he will undoubtedly help you. My tutor in Aberystwyth was super attentive to me and helped me with everything that he could.

Errors to avoid on Erasmus?

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Let's continue with number five! A little paradoxically, to think that you won't have to do anything in order for you to pass your course, is not the case. That is to say, it's actually the opposite. To think that Erasmus is only made up of partying and not going to class but still passing your course isn't true. It doesn't exist. Those who do it will fall flat on their face and won't pass a single class. True.

Error number six: not travelling. Erasmus is made for visiting, exploring, and widening your cultural awareness. Travelling is the only thing you can buy that actually makes you richer. Many people decide to go on their Erasmus placement in Poland because it is so cheap and cheap to travel there from here as well. Even if you are not in Poland and travelling isn't so cheap, I'm sure there are so many marvellous places worth the money, and some that aren't. Sometimes it is worth it to not go out for two nights and instead save your money so that you can travel the world. Actually... sometimes? Always. Its true, I will never understand the people who's wildest dreams include partying on a Saturday night.

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Error number seven: only hanging out with people who speak your language. Something I know to be true is that there are two groups of people that always hang out together when they go on Erasmus: Asians in general (Koreans, Japanese, Chinese) and Spanish people. I don't know why. I think that maybe we are too insecure about ourselves to open up our minds, or maybe its because we are worse at speaking English? Who knows, the thing is that it always happens. I have already said to you that that wasn't what I did at all. Obviously I spent time with Spanish people, because in Aberystwyth there are loads, but not all the time, and not every day. If you hang out with people who speak the same language as you, you won't learn and you will be throwing away a great opportunity. People are nice. Foreign students from other countries can share great things with you: knowledge, happiness, laughter, etc. Furthermore, nowadays who knows where we will end up working in the future, and just like with everything, it is good to have contacts all over the world. In Aberystwyth, an Austrian girl and I ended up being great friends and we promised to see each other in the future. She is going to come and visit me in Galicia, and I to her town in Austria. Are you really going to lose an opportunity like this just to hang out with other Spanish people? Furthermore, you already know that I study German in my course, so it was a luxury for me to meet German women because they often spoke German to each other and I was able to tune in to them. They taught me so many words and useful German expressions, things that I had never learnt in class before. They also studied Spanish so I helped them when they had exams and viceversa. This term (in Galicia) is looking like a pain in the ass in comparison because in short, German is not as fun anymore.

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And that is all for today's post with the big mistakes that you should avoid if you're going on Erasmus. I hope that you enjoyed it, as always!

Until next time, thanks for reading!


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