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Things to remember before you go on your year abroad…

27 September 2019

Starting your year abroad is extremely daunting in many ways, therefore it is important to be prepared in order to make your move as easy as possible and allow yourself to fully enjoy this exciting experience without too much stress. After spending one week of my Erasmus study abroad in Granada I am extremely glad that I had done a few things before I left my comfortable Cathays life. Here is a list of things that I recommend doing before you leave:

  • Get involved in Erasmus and language societies.
    • Getting involved in these societies allow you to meet people who know exactly what it is like to move to another country. For me, I was lucky enough to meet a Spanish girl from Granada who helped me find accommodation, fill in application forms and many other things that I would have struggled to do on my own.
  • Get in contact with other students going to the same place as you.
    • It is a comfort knowing that you will know someone when you arrive. It is always nice to know that you’re all in the same boat and are worrying about the same things.
  • I strongly recommend going to all the meetings on offer before you go, as there is a lot of information that can be overwhelming and by going to everything means you won’t miss anything important.
  • Write down key dates.
    • This is something I did not do but really wish I had! There are all sorts of forms to fill out and organise throughout the year before your year abroad, so keeping a note of them and their deadlines is the best way to keep on top of them.
  • Book a place to stay when you arrive.
    • Even though I had sorted my accommodation before I went it was a comfort to know I had a place to stay just in case things didn’t go to plan.
  • When making your decision about where to go talk to people who have already been there.
    • The university is great at pointing you in the direction of people who have completed their year abroad, so make the most of it! Since they have already done their Erasmus year they can help you with so many things such as, the best areas to live, good modules to pick and most importantly what the nightlife is like!
  • Look into all aspects of each option.
    • Do you want to study or work? Do you want to live in a big city or a small town? These questions are important to ask before you leave, as you want to find something that is perfect for you. It’s important to do research about the university or company, but also about the culture, the price of living and many other aspects of the town or city that you will be living in. For me, the things I found important were the size of the area, the people and the culture. I wanted to live in a student city, as I love being around people who are similar in age and have the same interests as me. However, I didn’t want to live anywhere too big, as I liked the idea of being able to be to walk everywhere. I also wanted to be fully immersed in Spanish culture, therefore I chose the south region of Andalusia, as it is the home of many Spanish traditions such as flamenco, feria and gazpacho! Therefore, Granada combined all the things I was looking for!
  • And finally… don’t panic!
    • Everybody is in the same boat and I found that everyone is happy to help with any problem you have.