Why should I go on Erasmus? Is it worth the struggle or is it a waste of time? Will I actually learn something or is it just for fun? Will the scholarship be enough? Will I be able to survive on my own?
There are a lot of questions and also stereotypes about the Erasmus programme. Some say it was the best experience of their lives and others say it’s just an excuse to “run” from home for a few months. But one fact that stands is that at the end of your exchange, you are not going to be the same.
Is it actually worth it?
Definitely! But (because there must always be a “but”) it depends a lot on you, my dear. Some things will just come your way and some things you must seek out. The most important part is to get over your initial fear and just give it a try. It might seem scary but in reality is easier than it seems. I know that the biggest fear everyone has is that they “won’t be able to handle it” but as you probably heard already, most stories from Erasmus have a happy ending.
Is there anything to learn?
To speak from my own experience, I can say I would not be the person I am today if there wasn’t for this program. It opened my mind and it taught me so many things about the world we live in. I’ve been on Erasmus for both studies and internships so I can tell you a bit about both.
Going for studies I got to see how a University from another country works and structures its courses. Even if the subjects were similar, seeing a different approach felt refreshing and helped me become more flexible and creative with my learning.
Going for multiple Internships I got to be in direct contact with people from a different background than mine, experiment a different work style and learn how to adapt quickly in a completely new environment.
But most important than all, it got me out of my comfort zone and showed me I had skills I never thought I possessed before. One of the first things I learned is that the world is not such a big and scary place. If a problem arises, you will find the resources within yourself and somehow manage to handle it. If you need help, you just have to seek it and there will be someone more than happy to help you.
Will I have enough money to cover my needs?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are a lot of variables. It is a more serious matter and one that made a lot of people change their mind about going on Erasmus. But as always, there are solutions. Firstly, you should think very well about your monthly budget and choose your city of exchange accordingly. I know, I know, a lot of you dream to go to Paris or Amsterdam, but trust me, there is a very big chance to fall in love with other more unknown cities (a lot of the students that choose our Iasi can confirm that). So don’t give up on this experience just because you can’t afford to go to your “dream city”. Keep an open mind and try to give places that might seem less interesting a chance. You never know what awaits you there and a lot of people found small cities to be more cosy and welcoming.
Besides, as a student, you have some advantages, as some universities offer places in their dormitories, have multiple discounts, a cafeteria etc.
Will I be able to survive on my own?
Well, firstly I really doubt you will get to be on your own. One of the best parts of this experience is the Erasmus community. It is practically impossible to not get to know people, unless you try really really hard to hide. And even so, I am quite sure that someone will drag you out of your cave. If there is an ESN section in your city, you will have at least one weekly event to attend and go meet the other students and the volunteers.
As I said in the beginning, there are a lot more questions that will pop in your head about this experience and it’s normal. But, in the end, getting out of our comfort zones and embracing new challenges is what makes us grow. So, if you have second thoughts, my advice would be to do it anyways and then deal with the consequences. You will definitely survive!