Take a year abroad to escape your miserable life in England
Year abroad’s a doss.
A lot of people go on about how wonderful their year abroad was. It gave them the chance to explore a new culture, improve their language skills, travel and see a new part of the world. They often also tell you all about the downsides, of how much they missed home, how much of money Dad had to lend them, and how fed up they are of fourth year now all their friends have graduated.
This kind of humble-brag only drags on the painful torture of listening to how great their lives are and what brilliant opportunities they’ve been given. That is not the case for everyone. For those of you considering a trip out, or who are sick of hearing the same old year abroad stories — here’s a fistful of Erasmus truth for you.
Costs racking up on the year abroad? I’m not going to lie, your year abroad comes really cheap. Thanks to everybody’s favourite international trading partner, the EU, I got given loads of cash for the privilege of “studying” at somebody else’s university for a year. Even those out of the EU still get student loan and are often subject to bursaries and reimbursements.
A top tip I would recommend is to make the decision to go to a lovely post-communist state which is yet to make its fateful transition to the Euro, making accommodation an absolute steal. Mine was £110 a month. I just tried not to think about how little that cleaner must have got paid and learnt to ignore the ex-soviet caretaker who was overly fond of turning the lights out and shining torches into our faces during prohibited flat parties.
Surely you missed home? Luckily enough my family is absolutely shit, we barely talk to each other, and give each other little to no support, so I had no problem buggering off away from them for a year. If your family gets on your tits, use your year abroad to escape. You can probably even get out of phone calls too if you don’t show your Mum how to call on WhatsApp. Not only did my year abroad give me the chance to spend time away from them, it also meant I could show them I didn’t need their financial or emotional support in anyway. In no way. So there. Not that they would have given it to me anyway.
Weren’t you worried about missing final year with your friends? Don’t need them anyway. Realistically you’re stuck with the people you happened to be put next door to in halls and those you got huddled together with in your first core seminar. Now you’ve found yourself awkwardly attached and with little chance of breaking free. Use the year abroad to your advantage. The further you go the less likely they are to visit you.
But how good are your language skills now? Don’t be too hasty. I couldn’t speak the language of the country that I went to, I learnt the bare minimum when I was there, and actually found my English got worse. Erasmus-speak — reducing your grammar and vocab to that of the texts you sent when you were thirteen — is definitely a real issue. I even found myself pretending not to speak English if I couldn’t be arsed with broken Euro-chat.
But what about opening your eyes to new experiences? I got put in halls with other English students and made friends with them. We stuck together, drank Carling and shopped in M&S. What’s the point of faking some commonality with students from other countries? Much easier to stick to what you know.
Surely you learned something? None of the work counted towards my degree. I missed as many classes I could get away with and received firsts in all my assignments because my English was better than that of the lecturers. It was so nice to be able to not listen to intelligent Warwick professors for a while. Seriously, those guys need to give it a break with all their knowledge. Maybe I picked up some cultural and historical info about where I was living, but honestly, I tried really really hard not to.
So that’s it. Go abroad, escape overpriced British accommodation and the way you actually learn about interesting things with people you like at your British university, and sack it all off for a year avoiding your family and dossing about insulting people and neglecting to recognise your privilege somewhere else instead.