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Living Abroad - What I've learned so far

Ah, the year abroad. Whether you've chosen to do it or not, it's definitely something to look back on and laugh about. Meeting new people, seeing new places and doing new things. 'Living your best life'' so they say nowadays - it's all part of it. But behind all the reckless Snapchat stories and envious travel pics on Instagram, comes tough times too. At the end of the day though, we are all human and living abroad for a year can definitely be daunting, even for the most outgoing social butterflies.

Below is a short list of things that I've learnt so far over the past 8 months (4 more to go!):

1. Finances

As a 21 year old, managing my finances was and still is a constant learning curve. Especially if this is your first time moving out of home, like myself, it will teach you how to save and prioritise your money, though not always for the best like blowing all your money at October Fest and then living off bread and water 2 weeks after.

You really learn the value of money from budgeting money for the week and making sure you have your rent paid on time and in full. You also learn how to get the most out of your money, for example, investing in a good winter coat instead of that inpractical (but gorgous) one you saw in Zara. It's a life skill that will take you very far, very very far I tell you.

2. It's Okay to be Homesick

This is particularly relevent if you are spending 6+ months abroad. There might be times where you'll find yourself on Ryanair.com, looking up the next cheapest flight home because you are so done with the place but I'm happy to tell you that it's okay.

Watching stories of your friends at home going out during college RAG week, whilst your sitting in your room preparing for a German presentation (and clutching your hot water bottle because it's -7 degrees outside) probably won't be a nice feeling. But after booking that 15 euro FlixBus ticket to Prague for the weekend, you suddenly forget about being upset about and appreciate not paying 5.50 for those pints back home.

3. Just Go for it

Always wanted to try paddle-boarding? Buy a bike? This is your perfect chance to try something new. It doesn't matter if you make a fool of yourself, the chances of seeing these people again are probabaly very slim anyway. Living abroad in a new country gave me such a confidence booster by giving new things a go and getting involved.

4. You'll make Mistakes

Living abroad has really given me more of a laid back attitude towards things because things will go wrong, have gone wrong and will continue to go wrong. Whether it's getting on the wrong train or losing the key to your bike lock, things will happen and that's okay. Because at the end of the day, these things are small and you'll eventually get over them anyway, so why bother wasting energy by stressing and panicking about it.

5. Enjoy it

This is probabaly the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone. The Erasmus is really what you make of it. There will be pros and cons to any city and culture, that's inevitable, but it's about experiencing something new and making the most of it. As mushy as it sounds, the Erasmus Programme is a fabulous opportunity and the things you learn will stand to you, whereever you go or whatever you decide to do in life.


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