Important things to know when you go on Erasmus
Students | Erasmus | 12/07/17
Before travelling to the four corners of Europe on Erasmus year or semester abroad, it is essential to ask yourself a few questions so you can head off safe in the knowledge that you have thought of everything. Roomlala has done some of the work for you, to help you to find accommodation and enjoy your year in complete peace of mind.
How to find accommodation?
Before moving abroad, the most important thing is to ensure you have housing sorted, or are prepared to make that a priority when you arrive. Indeed, a large part of your monthly budget will be devoted to your accommodation, and it's definitely important to try and combine comfort and savings so that you have a balance of it not being extortionate, but also not being a horrible place to stay if too cheap.
On Roomlala, you'll find multiple flatshare offers in all the major student cities across Europe, such as London, Barcelona or Valencia, as well as much smaller rural towns too. You could also try a homestay to get the chance to live with a local which could help you get to know the area better and improve your language ability or accommodation in exchange for services which is a great alternative if you're looking to save some money. Roomlala has endless options for everyone moving abroad on Erasmus, and it's a very affordable and safe way to sort accommodation!
How to travel inexpensively?
Travelling to your destination can also be a significant part of your budget if it is somewhere far from your home. It is therefore good to try find solutions to minimise this cost when moving abroad, especially if there's the possibilty that you would want to return home at some point for Christmas or another occasion.
This where the internet again comes in very handy- there are so many ways to travel cheaply, such as looking into bus/coach travel, low-cost airlines, facebook groups where people car-share when travelling to the same place, and also special cost comparison sites where you can get last minute travel if you are for instance, flexible with your time slot for a flight.
Is it obligatory to open a bank account abroad?
Opening a bank account in you host country is by no means mandatory for Erasmus students. Before moving abroad, you should inquire with your own English bank and see with options they offer and if there are any fees that they may charge when you are abroad. Some may offer payment facilities for travelling and living abroad, however a lot will have transaction and withdrawal fees that you would have to pay every time, and could incur large costs for you.
So, one option is to of course try and open a bank in your new country of residence. This can be long-winded and take a while for it to be processed and for you to receive the card, however if you're working and need to get paid, this would probably be the most ideal solution, especially if the currency of your host country is not the same as that of your home country.
Another option however, is to buy a pre-paid card, such as a Monzo or a Caxton. You get sent the card in the post, and can download an app for your phone; you can top it up with money directly from your English bank account, and then use the card as normal abroad such as in shops or to withdraw cash. This is a fantastic alternative for when moving abroad, and also with the Monzo card, the app keeps track of everything you spend and sends you a notification every time you use it, which is a great security measure and way to keep track of your spending.
Do I need to buy a new phone sim for when I'm abroad?
In most cases, if you are staying within Europe (and you come from Europe), a new sim will not be necessary thanks to the new law that was introduced in June 2017 to scrap all roaming charges in Europe. This means that your contract you have at home, works the exact same when you are in another European country with your calls, texts (and even your 3G!!) costing the same. So this will apply to most people, and in this instance, is is therefore not necessary to purchase a new one as you pay no extra for being abroad (which is amazing might we add!) There are also great ways to communicate through the internet these days with Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook etc, so for most people, a new sim will definitely not be needed when moving abroad!
What must I take with me for my Erasmus year?
Remember to take with you lots of proof of ID, photocopies of your passport, and documents with a proof of your home address as these may be important when trying to sign a contract for a flat, or setting up a bank account. Another tip would be to check out the climate of where you're going, so you can arrive prepared with clothes for the season and it will also reduce the amount you have to bring out with you if you've packed accordingly. Last but not least- your smile! You're going to be meeting a lot of new people, and there's no better way to introduce yourself than with a smile, and you'll be bound to make friends in no time!
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