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'My Worst Day'

Published by Lydia O'Brien — 11 days ago

Blog: 'My Worst Day'
Tags: Erasmus tips



                                                 ‘My Worst Day.’




    Setting off an experience like Erasmus, you are conditioned to think that everything will run smoothly and you will flawlessly adapt to life in another country. The reality is quite different. Thankfully, however, many of the problems faced on Erasmus are only minor irritations as opposed to catastrophic events. There are certain times though, that will particularly test you and probably make you question every single decision you made that led onto this  challenging path.


    If one was to graph my mood throughout Erasmus year, it would be a progressive curve of extreme highs and extreme lows. You can veer from sitting on a beach in Italy scrolling through the Ryanair app wondering where to go next, to sitting in a four hour lecture struggling to decipher an assault of marketing concepts explained through a rapid stream of heavily accented German, very quickly. Unfortunately no one ever posts on Instagram about the days where you’re struggling with the mundanities of life abroad without the comfort of Cadbury’s chocolate, so its very easy to feel as though you are a bit of a failure because your own comparison does not measure up.  If people were slightly more forthcoming with their own personal difficulties then this irritational guilt would cease to exist.



  Life would be very dull affair if one only ever experienced a constant stream of carefully metered happiness and the gruelling days do make you appreciate the highlights of Erasmus all the more. Surprisingly, its actually difficult to view the blunders in a negative light , as I do feel like every misdemeanour has benefitted me either as a hilarious story or life lesson in maturity and organisation.


    Overall the Erasmus experience is hugely beneficial and I do feel very privileged to have such an opportunity.


  The worst day of Erasmus so far occurred near the end of the three month ‘honeymoon period’ , when the novelty of being so far from home was starting to wear thin and the homesickness was sinking in its teeth.  Christmas was approaching and while the uniqueness of the Christmas markets did provide brief distraction, the majority of people prefer to be home with family and friends for the festive period.


     We had booked our trains and flights back in October, for the 21stDecember. The train would leave Klagenfurt for Vienna at 5.25 in the morning and the flight gates closed at 10.30. It would take four hours to get to Vienna and then another twenty minute train from the central train station to the airport , which is on the outskirts of Vienna. We knew we would be cutting it quite fine to make the gate in time, but rationalized the decision by relying on the robotic punctuality Austrian and German rail lines are renowned for.


      We were very apprehensive about over sleeping and missing the train,  so barely slept before leaving our apartments at half three in the morning . Everything was running smoothly , or so we thought. 


    Upon arriving at the train station in Klagenfurt , we realised that the train had been delayed by five minutes.  We thought nothing of this initial hiccup, unaware of what was about to transpire.


     What began as a mere five minute delay manifestoed into an eighty five minute delay, forcing us to take the ten to six train instead. This left us with a worryingly tight window of time to get to the airport.


       Unable to idly admire the snow covered scenery on the train ,due to tensions running rather high , we opted to occupy ourselves with gnawing nails and Googling alternative flights. Naturally every other flight was extortionately priced due to the festive period. Receiving texts from eager relatives who were already waiting in Dublin further exacerbated the highly pressurised situation. I did not bother replying to such texts, justifying my decision by the notion that ‘ignorance is bliss’.



        We reached Vienna’s main train station at quarter to ten , well aware of the fact our flight gate closed at half ten and we were still twenty minutes away from the airport itself. In what was our first stroke of luck, we managed to walk directly off our train onto the airport shuttle train, which claimed to deliver us to the airport in fifteen minutes.


      With the clock edging inexorably towards departure,  we sprinted through the airport, praying we were heading in the right direction.  Having frantically swiped our passports through check in, we slammed our bags before the bemused security and crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be subjected to a random bag search or anything that would further hinder us.


      The festive period frenzy ended up working in our favour , as the crowds caused a delay in security , thus setting back the flight departure. We made the gate on the dot , sweaty and dishevelled, but ready to board.

 I decided to reply to my extensive list of increasingly concerned texts from my mother just before take off and smiled for possibly the first time that day. It goes without saying I have never been so happy to set foot on Irish soil.





   Labelling this incident as my ‘worst day’ on Erasmus is probably a tad overdramatic as there people out there who only wish that such trivalities were their only worry. It definitely thought me a lesson in performance under pressure and of course not to blindly rely on public transport just because of some stereotype ! Sometimes things do not quite work out but if every travelling excursion went according to plan, one would never learn! And like every other day, even the worst day is only twenty four hours long .


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