Erasmus in Troyes, France | Erasmus experience ESC
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Erasmus in Troyes, France

I luckily experienced my Erasmus last year and spent 7 months in a little isolate town in France that changed my life forever.Being a homebird to Galway I never experienced a sense of discomfort as school, college and even my circle of friends were always at a close reach.I didn't stray outside of my comfort zone until I embarked on the journey to Troyes, France.
I certainly tested my boundaries by not only going to a country where I didn't speak the native language but being the only Irish person in my whole host college was extremely daunting. Clifden is what I would compare Troyes to people except less pubs and zero chance of a chippy Supermacs we are accustomed to. It was an extreme culture shock and difficult to settle. I struggled at first trying to fend for myself and making friends with complete strangers without the safety net I had with Galway. 
I lived alone at first and went through all the emotions and the rollercoaster of adapting even if that meant crying to mom on facetime on how to use a washing machine.I stuck my neck out and tried things I never imagined on doing like joining ESN (Erasmus social networks), Kickboxing, French and even the cuisine.Things started to change and became an unforgettable experience I will forever cherish.I met the most amazing people and friends for life from Mexico, Norway, Germany, Spain and wouldn't have been possible if I didn't stick my neck out.

The culture in France was different to Ireland as the nights started later and lasted longer. Troyes had only 3 main night venues and were all very small. I would reccomend travelling to Paris if you want a taste of a proper night life. The university was smaller and involved alot more presentations than NUIG. I did enjoy the more interactive learning and the professors were extremely kind and helpful.

If I was to give any advice for people travelling to France it would be;

  • Get yourself a carte jeuene for discounts to travel around France. The train to Paris from Troyes was normally 32 euro + but with the card it would have discounts of up to 30% on weekdays and 70% off on weekends which was a huge bonus.
  • Apply to CAF immediately. Caf is the similair to the Irish version of SUSI. It helps pay for rent and keep money in your pocket. I would apply straight away as it is a long process and a good bit of paperwork. It involves opening a bank account and having multiple documentation ready. The money is worth it in the end so I would try set that up when you arrive.
  • DO NOT by all means try live in KOSY residents. It was a complete scam and I found it so hard to make friends from a small cubicle of a room. I had to pay 500e/month plus wifi,washing machine and other ammenities which was ridciulous. I would urge everyone to move into a house especially if you are travelling alone as it is easier to make friends.
  • Join ESN and try get your hands on a ESN card as they have great benefits linked with Ryanair. They offer discounts on 8 flights and allow one free 20kg check in bag which was useful coming home.
  • Prepare yourself for the transport system in Paris as it can be unreliable. I cannot recall how many times there were delays due to strikes so prepare your a long journey.

Places I would reccomend going;

  • OKTOBERFEST:Hands down one of the best festival/experience I've ever been to. Over 6 million people dressed up in dirndls and lederhosen singing in massive beer houses was one of my favourite memories. The bus from Troyes was 12 hours but it was worth it!
  • Lyon- extremely beautiful and lots of culture.
  • Strasbourg-Must go during Christmas time as they are notorious for their christmas market. extremely fetsive spirit and gorgeous food its a great trip.
  • Annecy- This is off the beaten track but it is so unique and gorgeous I fell in love with the place. It is great during the summer and winter months as there are lots of outdoor activities. Try get yourself skiing if you get the chance.
  • Paris- This is a clear destination as it is so close and have so much to offer. We would nornally go during the weekends for their nightclubs and try attend the ESN boat parties. It is my favourite city in the world and it is never a dull moment there.

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