One of the best ways to decide whether to take part in Erasmus+ is to hear from those who have already been there and bought the t-shirt. Our team of Erasmus+ ambassadors share their experiences of living and studying abroad with those who are thinking of taking that big step.
1. Have I told you about my year abroad?
This one time… on Erasmus+... You’d better prepare your friends to expect a lot of anecdotes about Erasmus+ when you return because living and studying abroad is a life-changing experience. Stephen Dawson, a student of English Literature from Bishop Grosseteste University says, “I can only say great things about my time studying in Greifswald, I made new friends, experienced a different culture and was able to visit places I never thought I’d be able to. What’s more is that if I had the chance, I would do it all again. I cannot recommend the experience of studying abroad enough, so if you are fortunate enough to receive the opportunity, all I can say is to grab it with both hands!”
2. My language app says...
Your Erasmus+ experience is a great opportunity to learn another language. Sure, to start with you might be a little reliant on technology to help get you on the right track – but by the end it’s more than likely you’ll have become more confident using the local language. Not to mention being able to use these skills at home! “Spending time in a different culture can improve you in so many ways and allows you to gain so much knowledge. The language barrier is at first quite difficult but you’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn the tricky words that so confused you at the start.” French student Nikki Andrews, University of Stirling.
Beautiful scenery, exotic food, new friends: Erasmus+ certainly has a lot of potential for Instagram gold. A picture is worth a thousand words and helps share your experiences to others who have thought of taking part. So be prepared to take lots of pictures (selfie stick optional). On this page you'll find photos of our Ambassadors! You can also view more inspiring stories from the winners of our 2015 photo competition, 'My Story' in our Facebook album.
4. Stand out from the crowd
Research shows that students who have studied or lived abroad get better degrees and earn higher salaries than those who stayed in the UK. Law student Lauren Norman from University of East Anglia can appreciate this. “I was frequently told before I started university that studying abroad would set you above other potential candidates when applying for jobs due to the life skills that you will develop. I fully understand how true that statement is now that I have studied abroad myself. When you live abroad, that is when you truly become independent. I am so proud of myself for managing to travel to a foreign country not knowing the language beforehand, finding a place to live on my own, and surviving for a whole year! My year abroad was by far the best thing that I have ever done. I experienced so many different things, I made many friends, I learned a new language, and most importantly I have developed myself in ways which I could never have done had I not done a year abroad. I recommend the Erasmus+ programme to anyone and everyone!”
5. Have you seen my bike?
The historic Swedish cathedral city of Uppsala was home to history student Francesca Scott during her third year. Keen to experience a new culture and travel, Francesca swapped her Leeds University roots for cobbled streets and Swedish lessons. “Whilst in Sweden I enjoyed: countless corridor parties, many of which were themed; attended gasques (formal dinners held at the student nations, which were like colleges); travelled; learnt to make and tried an array of Swedish cuisine (the kannelbullar otherwise known as cinnamon buns were my favourite); and cycled as much as was humanly possible on my sorry excuse of a bike. All these things were so distinct from my university life in the UK and it was these experiences that gave me a real insight into Scandinavian culture.” - Francesca Scott.
6. Do I really need to come home?
Everyone feels nervous before going, but it’s amazing how quickly people overcome their fears and thrive in their new surroundings. As former Erasmus student Victoria Doherty from Portsmouth University explains, “to anyone who is particularly nervous or anxious, as I was, I would say do not let this opportunity pass you by. The best times of your life are waiting for you in whichever country you choose to study/work in and I have yet to meet one person who has not enjoyed the experience in their own way. It will benefit you not only linguistically, but also personally. You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.”
7. Just planning my trip to visit my friends in Hungary, Spain, China, France, Canada, Italy…
When you’re away you’ll be amazed at how many new friends you’ll make from all around the world, giving you fantastic travel opportunities as well as friends for life. Ben Lindsay from the University of Greenwich agrees, “My Erasmus year was the best year of my life so far. It was incredibly fun, mind-opening and I met so many fantastic people from all over the world who I will be visiting in the future. I would whole-heartedly recommend this experience to everyone, because you will learn so much and you will never know what you will see, feel or experience during your time away. I also found love during my Erasmus programme in Budapest where I met a beautiful Polish girl, and we’ve been in a long-distance relationship for nine months now and I will be visiting her in Belgium this month, so more travelling! Erasmus is an unforgettable experience, so don’t miss out!”
We are currently recruiting new UK Erasmus+ students to join the UK Erasmus+ National Agency Ambassador scheme for the next academic year. So if you’d like to help promote the programme to future students please apply to us by 30 September 2015.