Two years ago, when I found out that I was supposed to spend my third year in France as part of my joint honours Business with French degree, it seemed so far away to me. Two amazing years in Gtown flew by incredibly quickly and months of applying, organising, thinking, changing my mind and paperwork are finally over and here I am now, packing myself off to lovely Toulouse. It feels weird to pack clothes like shorts and tops instead of wellies and coats, but, despite the fact that the weather will be far nicer in Toulouse, I still feel a bit sad I’m not coming to Glasgow this year. My excitement about trying new things outweighs that feeling, though. I decided to stay in Glasgow over June after exams cos I knew I wasn´t coming back next year so I was working and enjoying after-exams parties almost every night.
I left Glasgow and flew back home to Slovakia in July, as I had gotten an internship as a marketing assistant in Bratislava. It was great to spend some time back in my country so close to my family, living in the capital of Slovakia, making the most of my first time as an intern. I got to work in a Meteorology Company and learnt a lot about business as well as enjoying an incredibly hot summer in Europe at different music festivals and parties. In Slovakia, in Eastern Europe in general, music festivals are incredibly cheap (good advice for anyone doing interrailing over the summer – try to find out when the festivals are on and plan it so you can visit). For instance, the festival in my town was only about 40 euros and Foals, Macabees and Netsky were between headliners. Plus the beer and alcohol is sooo cheap.
My semester in France starts, like the one in Glasgow, on the 21st of September. I´m staying in halls called CROUS, Résidence D. Faucher. It´s quite easy to get the halls, you just get an email at the start of the summer, and, if you´re interested, you reply and a month afterwards you receive an email telling you where exactly you got a place. The week before the classes officially start, there is something called orientation week. I´d call it fresher’s week, but I’m not sure if it’ll be much like Murano predrinks and GUU nights out. It seems to be more official, revolving around administrative registration. My accommodation also starts that week, so hopefully I´ll get to meet lots of people and have fun the first week.
EIMA – Erasmus organisation at my uni in Toulouse, organises quite few events for international and French students during that week, as well as helping students to get to know Toulouse. And at the end of the week there´s a two day trip somewhere near Toulouse close to lake Revel. I´m definitely planning on attending the most of them.
Unfortunately, few days ago I was visiting my mates at the other side of Slovakia I accidentally spilled hot coffee on myself and got burns over my face and chest. It´s not that serious but I should avoid sunlight for some time.
It´s pretty unfortunate, as, on my way to Toulouse, I was planning on spending a week near Barcelona with my mates from Glasgow, as one of them comes from Premia de Mar – it´s like half an hour to the centre of Barcelona by train (that’s one of the advantage of studying abroad – having an international network of friends around the world). It was also quite cheap to fly from Bratislava to Barcelona and then getting the bus to Toulouse, which costs only about 8 quid (incredibly cheap, but it´s Megabus and it takes 5 and half hours 😛 ). Despite my burns I decided to go anyway and try to have fun in ways other than sunbathing.
I know my summer might sound fun, but it was also a bit stressful as I tried to organise everything for my year abroad. Here are few tips for everyone getting to ready abroad:
Tips for going abroad:
- Get the paperwork done
Don´t wait until the last minute to fill in the papers, but send them as soon as you receive them. Waiting until the day before the deadline makes it more stressful, plus many technical or other issues may happen so it´s better not to take any risks.
- Make sure you know about the important stuff
Do you know what currency they use? Do you know how to get from the airport to your accommodation? Will you be able to use your phone there? And many other questions you have to ask yourself before you leave. Don´t leave anything to chance as you might find yourself missing the flight cos you couldn’t find your passport, as happened to a friend of mine here.
- Say goodbye to your family and friends
I know there might a lot to do before you leave, but don´t forget about your closest ones. Start with the farewell parties and goodbye visits at least 2 weeks before you leave so you don´t forget anyone.
- Don´t spill hot coffee on yourself two weeks before going 😛
And make sure you have sufficient insurance for going abroad. In France most people just use the international insurance card, but it’s also possible to add other insurance. Don’t go mistakenly thinking that you’re invincible and that nothing could happen to you – instead plan insurance in advance, as in countries like Canada or USA you could spend hundreds of dollars for a night in hospital.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to message me on Facebook ( Andrea Lulovicova) or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck everyone!! 🙂