I’m beginning my fourth week as an Erasmus student here at Limoges University and I’m just starting to feel settled here – I’ve sorted my timetable after a plethora of scheduling problems, joined the local gym, began to discover the city and its many restaurants, shops and bars, and even successfully navigated the French public transport system.
Despite this new-found confidence, I certainly found it pretty difficult in the first couple of weeks to feel settled and content living away from home, so I thought I’d share a few tips that helped me get into a routine and relax a little more:
Join a gym
This is obviously a pretty solitary activity, but even as someone who did very little exercise before moving out here, I’ve found the gym to be the perfect place to go to kill some free time, watch YouTube videos whilst exercising and just generally take some time out from the University environment. It’s also nice to have a bit of a routine and somewhere different to go when I have nothing to do.
It’s unreal how many fellow international students I have met through the power of the online world. We’ve organised to cook together in halls and meet up before Erasmus events through Facebook and WhatsApp, and the opportunity to chat with people online over the summer meant that you could ask questions about your new home before you had even arrived. It’s so nice to know that there are always people to ask if you’re unsure about anything.
Although it’s obviously important to make sure that you attend events and make the effort to meet new people etc, I’ve also realised the importance of taking some time to yourself to relax- to read a book, binge-watch Netflix or Skype call friends from home. It can be difficult and tiring to socialise all of the time, so be sure to take time out every now and again to recharge.
Join a club
This is something that I am still working on, but joining a club or society is a fab way to meet new people and try something new! Most Universities will have a Freshers’ Fair event similar to those back home, where you can chat with different societies and register your interest. I’m going to attend one of these this evening, so fingers crossed there’s something that suits my interests!
Particularly as an introvert, it can be really tempting to hide away in the comfort zone of your bedroom during the evenings, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of making the effort to cook in communal areas. I try to cook a few times a week with friends in the kitchen in our University Residence, where we usually end up meeting and chatting with French and other international students. It’s such an easy way to get to know new people!
Study Abroad Fair 2018: Wednesday 25 October 14.00 to 17.00
See (more of) the world, experience a different style of education/work, learn about another culture, learn another language, enhance your career prospects, discover undiscovered talents and make lifelong friends!
Come find out about the possibilities we offer, where you can go and how to apply
See www.durham.ac.uk/international/studyabroad/studyabroadfair/ for details and to register
Harriet Cunningham, Combined Honours in Arts student, St Chad’s College
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