After a 2am bus journey, a turbulent flight and one four-hour-long train journey later I have finally made it back to France for my second semester of Erasmus. I have been in Avignon, a small town in the South of France, since September and after a five weeklong Christmas break spent back home in Galway, I am ready to pick up where I left off.
My name is Róise, I am a 20-year-old third-year student currently studying English and French at Avignon University. This semester I will be taking over the Erasmus diary in an effort to not only detail all my European adventures but also to hopefully be some sort of voice for all the other students studying abroad, whether continuing on from the first semester or just starting out now.
Erasmus is one of those things that I’ve always dreamed of doing, and in my opinion, it definitely lives up to all my Pinterest fuelled fantasies. Late nights spent in clubs that don’t close until the early hours of the morning, almond croissants at every corner, getting to travel around Europe and soak up all the different cultures and experiences. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But to be completely honest, life in France for me has not always been la vie en rose.
One thing that my friends and I can agree on is that there are certain expectations that come along with Erasmus. From the outside, everyone thinks that you must be living it up 100% of the time. Through the power of social media, I can curate the perfect vision of my time abroad and make those of you back in rain-sodden Galway think I have been having the time of my life since September. But the reality is a college here can be hard, the living situation is not always ideal and sometimes Erasmus can just be an inherently lonely experience.
I first came to Avignon at the start of September and as someone who had never lived away from home before, it’s no wonder I was absolutely terrified. I had no idea how my life in France would unfold, whether I’d be able to make friends or even feel at home somewhere so far away from everyone I love. But I did it and despite some bumps along the way, I can safely say that my Erasmus has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had and something I’ll never regret doing.
So, whether this is your first foray into the Erasmus unknown, or, like me you’re back for your second semester, I’m hoping that my Erasmus diary will be a place for us to live vicariously through each other’s experiences as we jet off on our European adventures together.
À tout à l’heure, Róise