14 things I wish I had known before I went on my Year Abroad.

It will be like first year all over again, right?

You will be told a lot of ‘practical’ and important information before your year abroad. But sometimes, its the little, more personal things that make the difference to your experience.

1.You can never have too many adapters.

2. Check to see if the country you are moving to sells your favourite food or products. – Cadburys Hot Chocolate, I miss you.

3. Get a part time job, even if its just babysitting for an hour a week. It allows you to get to know locals and the culture a lot better.

4. There is a lot of pressure, especially from home, to be constantly loving life on your year abroad. Its ok to not be enjoying yourself sometimes.

5. The majority of the friends you will make, will most likely not be from the town you are living in, and will be from other countries, also on their Erasmus year.

6. The rain, (yes the rain), is not the same as the rain in the U.K. Don’t be fooled that the weather will always be great just because you are abroad. Cheap pink tourist ponchos don’t quite cut it. Bring as many coats and waterproofs as possible.

7. Networking. Everyone on their year abroad is eager and enthusiastic about meeting as many new people as possible. Make the most of this.

8. Its ok to be homesick.

9. If you consider learning the language of your chosen country. By all means, learn the basics of ‘hi, how are you, what do you study’ etc. But once you have used these phrases, thats conversation over. Learn phrases and translations of the things you are interested in, you will connect better with the people you meet this way.

10. Alcoholic measurements? What are they? – ok, I will take that glass of half spirit and half mixer. (You will get drunk a lot quicker than expected).

11.If your first language is English – don’t tell anyone! – or you will spend the rest of your year speaking in English with everyone else.

12. Its important to make the most of your time on your year abroad. But don’t fall into the trap of over committing yourself. Some personal TLC time is just as important.

13. Having friends or family visit you will be one of the best feelings. Their enthusiasm and holiday mood will make you fall in love with the city you live in all over again.

14.Your new Erasmus co-ordinator is the most important person while you are abroad. If they are anything as great as mine is at the Universita di Pisa, you are in safe hands!




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