Written by: 
Zieniūtė Ugnė Thursday, 15 November, 2018 - 21:05

Erasmus Stereotypes: What Is Actually True?

Erasmus has its fair share of stereotypes and myths that surround the programme, but it is time to put an end to it. What can you truly expect from your studies abroad and which myths should we say goodbye to?

Most of us have probably heard stereotypes throughout our lives and it can be quite easy to get lost in them and believe everything can only be black or white. The Erasmus experience has also been affected by it. Meaning, if you’re a student that is thinking about participating in the programme and living abroad for a while, then it can be a bit complicated to distinguish between stereotypes and the truth.  

That is why we will now debunk some of the most common misconceptions about Erasmus, which will give us an opportunity to see what living abroad actually feels like.  

Struggling with the language barrier

Most of the time the language of your Erasmus country is not your mother tongue and sometimes there is a huge fear of being misunderstood while communicating with locals. Language barrier becomes a real obstacle for communication.

Moving to another country can be a little bit stressful for some people if they have never lived abroad, but it is reassuring to remember that it is difficult to find a student who doesn’t speak English at all. It means that you can always ask for directions, explanations or assistance wherever you are.

Also, if your native language is widely spoken in the world, it is possible that you will find people who can speak it (or at least try to, please be patient with us) in your Erasmus destination.

On the other hand, a lot of universities and even ESN sections offer language courses, so not only will you be able to learn the language of your Erasmus country and practice it with local students but also have a possibility to choose from many other languages. Your studies abroad are the perfect time to gain new skills, so make sure to use those valuable opportunities!

P.S Don’t forget how much joy it can bring saying even the simplest phrase to another person in their native language.  

Social life and its peculiarities

“Erasmus” and “partying” are often put together in one sentence and there is nothing wrong with that. Studying abroad gives us a chance to meet so many new people! Spending time with them after lectures in local bars and clubs or simply hanging out with friends at someone's place, where friendly laughter never stops, can be a dream come true, but Erasmus is not just about that.  

Every Erasmus destination can provide you with extraordinary opportunities to see new places, learn about various cultures, and even contribute to society. This is where ESN sections play an important role. Through projects like SocialErasmus and ExchangeAbility, students can participate in various social events such as visits to animal shelters and have opportunities to communicate with people with disabilities. When it comes to making an impact in your new community, the possibilities are endless.

This also debunks a myth that you need to have specific character traits to fit in once you move abroad. If you don’t consider yourself to be the most outgoing person, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Go on Erasmus and find your own group of people who will make exploring the city, visiting adorable cafes, and getting the full experience even more memorable.  

Is it the right decision?

Listening to the stories that your friends tell you about their Erasmus memories and participating in the programme yourself are two completely different things, so it is up to you if you get the true Erasmus experience.  

Is Erasmus the right choice? Will an introvert like me enjoy Erasmus? These and other similar questions can run through one’s mind, but it is important to remember that the experience of studying abroad is different for everybody. It is completely up to you how you will be spending the beautiful days that you will later look back on thinking about all the memories that you have made together with your new best friends.

The beauty of Erasmus is that it brings together so many different people, who might even think that they have nothing in common. However, they will have a special connection and share thousands of memories at the end of their studies, and leaving their Erasmus city might be harder than anyone could have anticipated.  

This is just one of the reasons why we should ditch the stereotypes: none of them can properly explain what studying abroad truly feels like.  

Let’s start creating memories, not stereotypes. What are you waiting for?

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