21/07/2014

The Erasmus Experience

I stepped off the plane on the first day in January, feeling groggy and totally indifferent about what was to come.
I had no idea what to expect from the Erasmus experience or from France, nor did I have any huge or poetic aims to make it anything more than it was.

I was, of course, excited to get the opportunity to stretch my wings and finally live in another country - and for a wannabe linguist, this was an opportunity like no other. I was ready to fly the nest, if only for one semester, and the small-town-ness of Limerick meant that I felt more than eager to leave the place for a while. The semester away had come at a good time.

The struggle from Nantes airport to the gare of La Roche-sur-Yon, with the suitcases in tow, was at the fore of my mind on the day I arrived. This is how my mind worked over the following couple of weeks; on needing to do something, I did it, and I didn’t put too much thought into the changes that made up my new life until later, when I reflected on the experience.

I met some wonderful new people in those first few weeks, and the outings that the university had organised certainly brought our little Erasmus group together, despite the fact that we all took different classes.

After a few weeks of knowing each other, most of us properly bonded on a personal level. Before, we had all been foreign strangers, comfort enough to each other just to have been in the same boat.

We then started to organise our own little outings...

Over the course of the semester, I got the opportunity to visit some pretty beautiful places, like Nantes:

La Rochelle:

Bordeaux:

And Paris:
I was also lucky enough to meet some pretty wonderful and special people.
What will I miss about living in France?
I'll miss the independence, not only was I living away from home, but in another country. I brought two suitcases with me and that was all I had; I miss the simplicity of that life... The sheer amount of stuff that I can accumulate in my home can overwhelm me at times.
I felt free as a bird.
I will miss buying my bread in a boulangerie, I will miss cycling to the supermarket, and I will miss the last-minute decisions to hop on a train and explore a completely new town.
I'll miss the extreme level of language-learning and culture-soaking.
And I will definitely definitely miss the people with whom I shared the last six months.

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P.S. To all who are considering Erasmus or other study-abroad programmes, I would whole-heartedly recommend you to do it. I couldn't have imagined a better or more supportive setting for my first experience of living abroad.

3 comments:

  1. l absolutely fell in love with your blog, following you!<3
    Make sure you also check out my blog and follow me as well.

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    Love John Setrodipo

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    Replies
    1. Thank you John! Your style photos look so good, you're a natural! Seeing your blog and profile is making me want to plan another trip to Amsterdam! :D
      xx

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  2. It make think many souvenirs with you from the beginning to the return in the station of la Roche sur Yon haha

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