From the moment Erasmus was mentioned, I knew it was something I wanted to. I had been going through a difficult time and I felt like I needed to get away. I applied, never thinking I would actually be accepted as there were only two places. I almost didn’t go; I knew it would be hard to leave my family and I had so much to prepare.
My older sister has always been very independent, she went off travelling and she was definitely one of the reasons I applied for Erasmus. I look up to both of my sisters a lot, although I won’t tell them that. What they’ve done and how far they’ve come in their own aspects of life has really inspired me.
At the beginning of my three months in Italy, I felt very isolated. I only knew the few people in my flat, who were from different countries. I met up with an Erasmus group for a trip to an island, which was amazing in itself, but I also got to meet so many people. I finally had this support network who were in the same situation and who became my friends. After that, I never wanted to leave.
Being in a place where you’re not comfortable and completely out of your depth really helps you appreciate everything, especially the barriers you have to overcome and the friendships you’ve made.
I don’t think you truly experience another culture properly until you have to live their way of life. You have to adapt; I remember getting funny looks because I ordered a cappuccino at 3pm and in Italy it’s only ordered before midday.
Erasmus is definitely a commitment, it’s a big decision to make so you have to think about it. You’re given a bursary but if you want to see all the amazing things and make the most of your time there, you have to save up.
I’m a very anxious person and I overthink a lot, but you just have to go for it. Erasmus was an amazing opportunity, I learnt more than I ever thought I would; I faced challenges, I worked through them and I made friends for life.