Adopting Habits During Erasmus
Erasmus exchange is a new beginning for many things. And it can be a beginning for adopting new habits, too!
Have you ever wondered how many “new” beginnings you have when you’re on an exchange semester or doing an internship abroad?
You start studying at a new university or doing an internship at a completely new place. You move into a different dormitory or apartment, even to a different country. You start speaking a new language or a language that you were not using that much before.
Everything else you do on an exchange can be new, in some way, too.
Maybe you have never travelled much but now a new trip awaits you every weekend. Maybe you have never cooked before but you start cooking once on an exchange because you want to let your friends try the national dishes of your country. Maybe you used to sleep until noon but now cannot afford it because there is so much to see in the city you are in.
Some of these new things can sneak up on you unexpectedly and perhaps not all of them will be good. Partying until the sun comes up or skipping classes may have a negative long-term effect if you overdo it on your exchange.
But you can use the time of your exchange to adopt some good new habits.
If you think about it, the best time to adopt new habits is during your Erasmus exchange.
Everything is new, so adding a few extra habits won’t be that much of a deal.
You want to start reading more.
In your hometown or university city, you are so busy with lectures, extracurricular activities, hobbies, or meeting your friends that you never actually find time for it in your schedule.
You usually have one or another way of how your day goes, and there’s never time to read for pleasure.
But when you’re on an exchange, you don’t really have such a schedule set up. You’re setting it up as the time passes.
What’s the last thing you do before going to sleep? You can do whatever you’ve been doing at home. But changing your routine would be easier on an exchange because everything else is new, too. So, you might as well try to include reading.
Sure, it maybe won’t work every time because there are a lot more evenings spent out while on an exchange. But you can read while travelling to university or to other cities for a trip. As long as you include it in something you do often, it can become a good new habit.
Best Habits to Adopt During Erasmus
Reading is only one example of a habit you can adopt during Erasmus. There is a lot more you can include. The important question is, do you want to?
After all, motivation is the engine of any good or bad habit. Without it, no circumstances will ever be good enough to start (or stop) doing something.
Here are the three main habits you can adopt on Erasmus with a little bit of motivation.
It’s so easy to be active during Erasmus. You can walk, jog, or bike a lot to explore new places in your Erasmus town. Also, you can organise trips to explore different places and natural attractions in your Erasmus country and hike, climb, or kayak in the meantime.
If you are motivated enough, you can try signing up for sports activities at your host university or have friendly competitions with your friends. You can even set up a challenge on activity-tracking apps (e.g. Endomondo) to motivate you more. For instance, who amongst your Erasmus friends will cross more kilometres of the town by the time exchange is over?
Same goes for healthy eating.
While it’s probably impossible to avoid junk food or all kinds of international foods that are not always stomach or diet-friendly, you can keep better track of what you eat on an exchange.
You can also use apps (e.g. My Fitness Pal) to encourage your flatmate/roommate/neighbour to join you for some healthy meals. Buying groceries, cooking, and eating together can strengthen your friendship, too.
Been there, done that.
You already know what I’ll list first, right?
Erasmus exchange is the best way to learn a new language. That’s a fact.
It may not be the language of the country you’re in (though that would be the easiest). It can be any language you would like to learn. You will probably find people who are native speakers to practise it with. Or the language might be taught at your host university.
The same way you can try to learn anything else you would like to. Or get more involved in academic life in general.
It would be pretty neat to have an academic publication or do a presentation at an international conference. Maybe one is being organised at your host university!
Plus, the people you meet in the academic life and everything that you can learn and practise are bound to be slightly different from what you have at your home university - but that’s a good part, too. Especially if you are thinking about pursuing PhD studies.
Being More Organised
Being organised can come in many ways, too.
Perhaps back home you live with your parents and you don’t need to do much cleaning around your home. An exchange is a perfect time to get used to doing daily chores. After all, it’s something you’ll need to start doing sooner or later. And you don’t want your roommate or flatmate complaining that you’re a messy person, do you?
But being organised is not only limited to how well you take care of your home environment. Perhaps you love to clean everything and even doing the dishes is a pleasure. But do you take up every necessary-evil task with the same motivation?
Maybe it’s your personal life that needs some organisation. The way you handle your responsibilities. Or maybe the procrastination demon got you to your dark side. We’ve all been there at some point.
Get a daily planner, finish your daily tasks, rethink what you’re prioritising in life, don’t procrastinate until the last minute with university assignments (or maybe skype calls to your family?), etc.
These are also good habits to have. And you can manage them easier when they are not the only new things but come together with all other new experiences an exchange brings to your life.
So, what habits have you been considering adopting? It’s time to go on an exchange and actually do it!