A Student's Survival Guide to Studying Abroad

1. Say Yes

Say yes to everything. Every party, every event. Even if you think you would absolutely hate it. Do it. Erasmus is all about trying new things and new experiences.

2. Make Friends with Everyone

Don't limit yourself to just making friends with people from your own nationality or your host nationality. You will never get another chance to be immersed with loads of different cultures like this again. Instead of a joke about a Scotsman and an Irishman you can have one about a Turkish man, an Italian man, an Australian and a Finnish guy. 'I smell a sitcom!'

3. Travel


Travel any chance you get. When else are you going to have 6 months away with every weekend off? It's the ultimate freedom and you will never find people able to budget quite like an Erasmus student.

4. Subjects

You're there to study, but are you really there to study? If you're lucky enough to have Erasmus on a pass/fail basis then use it to your advantage. If you are able to tailor your own timetable, be smart about it. You do not want to be going back to college at six in the evening if it's a student night out. Take modules you're interested in. I took Anglo Saxon classes. When will I ever need Anglo Saxon? Who cares, I can read in Anglo Saxon now.

5. Go Casual


From my experience, nobody really gets that dressed up on a night out. Take it handy, put away the stilettos, fake tan may not be needed. Relax

6. Food

Stop with the ham and cheese sandwiches. There'll be no chicken rolls where you'll be going. Live a little. This goes with the whole trying new things. Squid? I'll have some of that please. Smelly cheeses? Why not. Sure an icky tummy never stopped anyone.

7. Drink


Sometimes it's important to note that the amount you drink at home is NOT normal. A bottle of vodka for pre drinks may be somewhat frowned upon by your new international friends. Take it handy!

8. Roughing It

You have your whole life to sleep in 5 star hotels and mansions. Erasmus is about seeing how many people can fit into one 6 bed hostel dorm and you will find yourself absolutely ecstatic when someone offers you some floor space and save you paying for a place to stay. At least that way when you are in the lap of luxury you'll feel you deserved it.

9. Don't Take Things Too Seriously


When you are abroad you see things in a completely different light. The things that were so important to you at home seem kind of trivial to you now. When you meet new people from all walks of life you start to see that there is a whole wide world out there and you are not the centre of it. You start to appreciate the things you  have and you start to see how you as a person can be better. So be open to the people around you because your way isn't the only way.

10. Don't Shit On Your Own Doorstep

Erasmus communities are vast in cultures but they're still  relatively small. We all love a foreign romance but just be careful  how many you have! Especially if you are one of the only four blondes in a small town on the border of Portugal...

11. Skype


Skype is great because it helps with homesickness and it makes the idea of home not being so far away, just make sure you set your mother up with an account before you leave and she knows the logistics of what Skype actually is. Seriously. Have a few practise runs.

12. Housemates

You're not living with your friends anymore. Just like your own family, you can't pick your erasmus housemates. Hopefully it will go smoothly. If not, just grin and bare it. It's only for a few months. You may not be asked to be best man at their wedding but you'll get past that.

13. Homesickness


It's going to happen. Who knows what might trigger it, it could be a birthday, something in your college, anything really. Maybe it's your cats birthday for all I know. But as soon as it comes it will go again. You have to keep yourself busy. Go out and meet your friends. Don't sit at home obsessing over it because that's not going to help anything. Facebook can be really good because you're still in touch with home without too much effort.

14. Don't Be That Guy

Erasmus is a rich and fulfilling experience. You will learn so much about yourself and what you're capable of when you're not in your comfort zone. When you get back it's going to take a while to adjust and your friends are going to want to hear about your time but don't forget that you are not the only person who has ever studied abroad. If your friends haven't had the experience they will not appreciate being talked down to because you have had all these worldly experiences on your 'gap yah'. Basically just don't be a douche.





Bronagh Flynn
Article written by
An English major in the University of Limerick. This country bumpkin may claim she spends her days reading 'War and Peace', contemplating life when in fact she is re-watching episodes of Girls in her quest to becoming a somewhat respectable member of society. An old man at heart, she loves a whiskey on the rocks and over packed clubs give her nightmares.

You may also like

Facebook messenger