Erasmus+, GO Student Ambassadors

Lucy Hilton

School of Modern Languages

Erasmus+ study and traineeship placements

Where did you go?

I spent one semester in Austria, as a language teaching assistant through the British Council and I spent the 2nd semester studying in Italy.

What were your top three highlights from your year abroad?

  1. Travelling! My year abroad allowed me to discover so much of the countries I was living in (and even surrounding countries too). The train connections in both Austria and Italy were so good and also very cheap which made travelling extremely easy.
  2. The people I met during my year abroad were amazing. I had the opportunity to meet and work alongside natives in both countries and also meet other Erasmus students. The Erasmus Student Network allowed me to make friends with people from all over the world. People do say to stick to making friends with natives to get the most out of your year abroad, but I personally recommend having a balance between other Erasmus students and natives. You can have the best of both.
  3. There is nothing quite like a snowy Austrian winter and a sunny Italian summer. The weather in both countries was fantastic and a great contrast. Christmas markets in Austria gave the perfect run up to the Christmas holidays and the snowy mountains were incredible. The Italian sunshine and the beautiful scenery is incomparable. When you have that and a glass of Aperol, you will never want to leave – trust me!

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I think I had was my confidence in speaking the language, especially with my beginner language. It was difficult at first, but I had to learn to just throw myself into situations and know that as long as I am trying my best I am doing well! This mindset really helped me build on my language skills and I really feel like I have improved!

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you left?

To take more teabags than you think you need and that tins of Heinz baked beans are not allowed through airport security!

What would you say to a student who was unsure about spending a period abroad at university?

A year abroad during your studies is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is such a great one at that! You have the help and guidance from the university and there is funding available. You have the chance to travel, and see new cultures, and it is all part of your degree. I was so nervous before I went abroad and due to it being part of my degree, I had no choice but to go. With this being said, I can honestly say it was the best time of my life. There was always going to be ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

What are the top 3 things to do in Austria and Italy?

Austria:

  1. You HAVE to visit the mountains! They are stunning.
  2. You should definitely visit Vienna. The city is so cool and there is so much to see and to do.
  3. You need to try Apfelstrudel!

Italy:

  1. Aperitivo is a must!
  2. Ferrara has the most impressive castle – definitely worth a visit.
  3. Ferrara is such a good location to travel! Venice, Verona, Florence all within reach.

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