When you hear people talking about an Erasmus year you always hear about the amazing places people have been, cities they’ve lived in and the amazing that tan they got. However, for me, the most amazing (and unique) part of my Erasmus year was the number of friends I had from so many different nationalities and cultures.
In arriving in France, I was ready to mix, mingle and make friends with all the French students at my university and I thought I would be eating baguettes and drinking wine with them at the end of the week. However, this didn’t completely pan out… as for international students arriving in Sheffield, it isn’t the easiest to integrate with the non-international students straight away. But, by the end of the first week, I honestly couldn’t have cared less. From the day you arrive, socials, Facebook pages, trips to local towns, lakes and even theme parks are arranged for all the Erasmus students making you feel like you’ve known each other forever.
Meeting and going out with all these new people every night makes you feel like you have been transported back to Freshers week but everyone your meeting is from each and every corner of the world. From European countries like Spain, Germany, Finland and Greece to further afield like Chile or Colombia the only things that all the Erasmus students had in common was that we all wanted to explore a new city, culture and country and that we all spoke better English than French (which was quite useful).
For me, it is the thing that makes an Erasmus year a completely unique year that can’t be missed out on. You could argue that after uni you could go and live for a year in Paris, Madrid or Berlin but it won’t be with a friendship group of young, like-minded, people from over a dozen different cultures. The worst thing about your year (apart from constantly seeing your Spanish or Australian friends social media posts whilst your working in the IC) will 100% be saying goodbye to these people that you have spent such an amazing year with.
However, having close friends scattered in the most far away exotic places in the world does have some advantages…. Holidays! This winter I have been invited to my Spanish friend’s ski chalet in Andorra and this summer I plan to go travelling in South America and get some free accommodation and local tips in Bogota (Colombia), Santiago (Chile), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Rio de Janiero.
Making the decision to study abroad is to make the decision to enter this massive, multi-lingual, multi-cultural family that will leave you with unbelievable memories and a network of friends all around the globe.