Oh well, it’s been quite some time since the first time I posted on this blog… I’ve been thinking about what I could write about and a lot of things came to mind, and mainly one stuck on my head for the past few days: Erasmus experience – or going abroad to study, same thing. And the thing that stuck with me was the fact that every single person you ask about their Erasmus has one answer: “IT WAS THE MOST EXCITING EXPERIENCE EVER, I WOULDN’T CHANGE IT FOR ANYTHING, OMGGGG – which can be considered a half-assed lie.” Or the other: “It sucked a lot, I hated it and I won’t even get my credits validated, nothing like what I was expecting it to be.” Well, let me tell you something fellow student who is considering doing this in the near future: IT’S NOT BLACK OR WHITE, NEVER. And to give you a more extended version of the reasons why I consider it to be nor black nor white, let me introduce you to my Erasmus year (since the preparations the year before to its last days and final sh*tty stuff that I had to deal with).
WELCOME to the beginning of the weirdest year of my life:
So, since my first year of Uni I was thinking about going abroad. I dreamed big, I wanted to go overseas, experience the University life somewhere around the globe, see other cultures, travel a lot (up to this point, everything every student wants in life, good!), etc. I was thinking of going to AUSTRALIA (now that I think of it, it would have been a disaster – I am kind of a disaster myself only by existing anyways…). And at this point, I was allowed to dream, because, why not? why shouldn’t I set some goals for myself to motivate me to do things…right? ….
After my first year, and at the beginning of the second one, I had to start preparing my Erasmus applicantion. You known, all that boring stuff and meetings that do not tell you anything different from what you already looked up on Google because you were all excited and you had to make your own research and you even might have started trying to learn some vocabulary from a far off place just, you know, in case you might need it for your adventure.
I went to every single Erasmus meeting, which started in November of that year, I printed out all the docs that I needed to fill, I presented a level test to prove my English and blablabla (if you’re planning on going to a place where they don’t speak your L1, you need to check the requirements, trust me on this one, you might need to take a test). Up to here, I had no clue of what I was doing, at all. I just started doing stuff randomly and it turned out fine…apparently. So… if you are in this stage, don’t you worry my child, you are probably doing perfectly fine 😀 (if not – panick buttons are always available at the bottom of my posts).
At this point I was kind of panicking over my English test, because I didn’t have the results and I was supposed to go to my Erasmus advisor (you know, that evil lecturer that “helps you out” with you application, if you know what I’m saying) and get my little green light to send my stuff to the host university… -which, by the way, if you are from any department of any university in the world: DO NOT MAKE US RUSH OVER FREAKING DEADLINES WHEN WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO, EXPLAIN BETTER OR WAIT UNTIL WE FIGURE OUT OUR SH…STUFF. thank you 🙂
Well, for everyone’s delight I got my marks and I had the level to go to the university I wanted to. If you do not know the language requirements for your host university, you should check them out before filling the sheet with your main options to go abroad, because you might be rejected if you don’t have the level… it’s sad but it helps to avoid future problems.
Then I went to my tutor and another beautiful surprise: you are supposed to go to them with a list of subjects, the valid conversion of credits (the equivalence of the credits from the home and the host uni) and THEN… they might look at it and tell you what to choose… like… HEY! I DO NOT KNOW WHERE TO LOOK FOR THESE THINGS… HELP? it’s fine, you’ll manage 🙂 just be patient and talk bullshit about them with your friends, it is a relief. I still don’t know how you are supposed to manage essays, finals and Erasmus applications on your own… but at the end of the day, I did it, so… you can do it too! don’t sweat it.
Continuing with my sad and stressful story: my application was rejected because the country I applied to go to was no longer having an alliance with my Uni *crying*, I was so upset, all my friends at this point were already accepted somewhere… sooo… I went to the Erasmus office to talk to someone and they told me *after a lot of crappy stuff, which is not important right now*, that I could choose any other destination as I wasn’t at fault 😀 yay! something good, finally. I was relocated to a city in the UK, which I didn’t even know the name until they told me.
I mean, isn’t it just great to face this situation as a beautiful surprise? I didn’t even know where I was going, I never thought of living in the UK, ever. It just never crossed my mind and just in a few weeks I figured that the next year of my life was going to be in a city I’ve never heard of… I mean, I love this kind of turn of events. For some people this would have been a set back, but for me… it was a window being open in front of my eyes. I LOVE ADVENTURES.
So… I refilled all my documents, sent them out of time to the host uni and got accepted (that’s another tricky part of the Erasmus process – you need to have all your papers in order, but you also need the approval of the other part, even when you were accepted for the programme in your home uni). This is July, and I started this process in November, now I needed to find a place to stay, near uni preferably and quickly… this was hard.
OHHH…not that hard, just one afternoon looking and I had already found the place where I was going to crash a whole year (yeah, maybe I should have looked more into it, but I liked the place, it was quite close and I didn’t care much about accomodation – I will explain in another post why this was not the most intelligent decision in my life… but not a completely bad one either… ). By July 31st I had uni, flat and flight tickets with “destiny” written on them.
This is the part where every student going on Erasmus starts thinking… “Hmmm… should I really go? It might be better to stay… I don’t think this was a good idea, I have nothing certain, what if my friends forget about me? I won’t be there to hear the new joke or to pass out in the train and laugh afterwards… ”
MY FRIEND, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING: if you pass through this stage, you’ll open your eyes to a new reality… and you friends might’ve been planning on visiting you even before you got that flat and all the bullshit, so don’t you worry. ADVENTURE IS WRITTEN ALL OVER.
So you take that plane in September, of course, after your good-bye party held by your beautiful friends that tried to get you drunk one last time (If you have normal friends, you might have just ended at the beach at 3 am wondering how your future would look like and singing songs and trying to play the guitar after …many beers) 😀 and the new life begins… or so you think…
ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ll be writing the whole experience per se in my next post! this was getting way too long (I think…). I’ll try to translate this to Spanish and German in the near future, so keep tuned 😀
-Do you need another souvenir?