How to Become a Member of The Local Community During Your Erasmus
Feeling like belonging to a local community is out of your reach? Being on Erasmus is not always a piece of cake. Especially when you don’t know the language of the country where you’re going. Here are some tips that can change that!
It seems to be obvious, but the way you discover the city is of a great matter. Choose another way to your campus, instead of a tram, go by bike. Don’t pass the city with an unconscious look - try the local cuisine, go down the street and observe what is going around you. If you only have classes online, try to plan a walk. Having such time will help you to organise your thoughts and you can explore the highlights of the city.
Studying abroad gives you an opportunity to do more than spending all day in the library.
A lot of students take up volunteering as a chance to develop their skills and enhance their chances on the job market. You can be amazed at the wide range of possibilities accessible at your fingertips. Do you love animals? Go to an animal shelter. A knack for languages? Look for the place where you can exchange/teach your language - in tandem, local community centre or even at your uni. Local ESN sections offer such services and events to meet up and familiarise yourself with local goodies. Check their social media like Facebook and Instagram - local tours, cultural workshops for pupils, language exchange meetings or online speed friending - the list of events you can find is huge. Discover your favourite one!
3. Don’t be only with your Erasmus friends
Going out together, chatting together - it’s always easier to have someone by your side. You feel safe in such a close-knit community. Stronger. But somehow you wonder how to step over the gap between international and local students. Pro tip: check if there is an ESN section in your city - look at the events they organise and pick something for yourself. From cultural events to sport ones - in that way, you will get along with different groups in no time and you start enjoying it. What can you gain with it? Only good memories.
4. Ask for a Mentor
Still a lot of time until your arrival to your Erasmus’ city and you cannot make head nor tail of where to start? If your answer is “yes”, then you can check whether you can apply for a buddy who will be willing to help you with your beginnings in the new place. You can read all the needed information about the programme here: https://buddysystem.eu/en/. How to twist into a new community and local people if not this way? Maybe you will get along well and it will be the start of a long-lasted international friendship?
5. Go ahead.
Alright, we are already here. Still not fully convinced? It goes without saying that nothing ventured, nothing gained. You can hesitate. You can have ups and downs. But isn’t risk what life is about? Just get out of your comfort zone and discover the wonders of exchange.
There isn’t just one recipe for your stay abroad - but perhaps it's the bunch of possibilities that make your Erasmus more enigmatic?
It’s not worth closing yourself in a bubble. One thing you can be sure about: you will enjoy your Erasmus to the fullest by getting closer to the locals and their culture. If you still are not sure about which way would suit you best - reach out to the local ESN section! Its members are more than willing to help you. Also, take the initiative and check it here: esn.org/sections.