Erasmus Diaries part 1: ‘I’ve made a huge mistake’

Travel editor, Brigid Fox attended a university in the north of Spain, Oviedo last September, and stayed there for five months. During her time abroad, Brigid kept a diary about her experience.

“What was I thinking going on an Erasmus now? I can’t do this. Just turn around, cancel the flight, go home to your loving family and friends and forget this nightmare. Why did I ever leave my comfort zone, am I crazy?!.. I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Saying that I am concerned before starting my Erasmus semester in Spain would be an inexcusable understatement, I am utterly terrified. To paint a picture of where my fears are emerging from I like to break it down to this simple realisation. I’m nineteen years old, moving to a town and country I’ve never been to before with no friends, no family, no support system and will have to communicate with others and study university-level subjects in a language I’ve only been practising poorly for two years. Nothing to be scared of, right?

As you can imagine even getting to the point of an Erasmus wasn’t easy. It took long hours of work, savings accounts, university deadlines, learning agreements and finally a letter of nomination until I got my place in the rainy, northern town of Oviedo, located in the Asturias region of Spain.

Through all of this, the realisation that you will actually have to live in another country and do an academic Erasmus becomes forgotten. That is until four months of summer passes by and you’re rushing to book flights, hostels, and practising how to ask for extra cheese in Spanish.

Before arriving and starting college, my biggest concern is the language. As it has only become a minute part of my life two years ago from college and I’ve never travelled to Spain before it’s a major worry how I will adapt to the lifestyle, make friends and participate in lectures through Spanish.

Like all those travelling, what I long for is a place of comfort in Oviedo, a place I can call my own. Which ironically is everything I am leaving behind.

Obviously, excitement plays a strong role in my journey too. The desire to experience a different country and culture is not far from anyone’s bucket list and I feel immensely privileged to be participating in this life experience especially so young. Yet, all of this still can’t get away the nervous chill in my spine that I can only hope goes away once I begin to settle into the town of Oviedo.

While spending a little time in Madrid now, my Erasmus journey will really begin when I arrive in Oviedo and have my first day in the university there which the next article will centre around. Whether it’s a complete success or an Erasmus disaster you’ll find it all here, Wish me luck!