Erasmus is one of those amazing, worthwhile experiences that students only get to avail of once. It’s the chance to get out of rainy Ireland and experience new cultures, languages and cities.

However, we all know that moving house every academic year can be stressful and can make the prospect of moving to a completely new country terrifying and overwhelming.

The most important thing when going away on Erasmus is that you must be prepared. While it may seem that there’s a never ending list of forms and things to do and buy before you even book your plane ticket, here is a few handy tips passed on to me by former Erasmus students that is guaranteed to make planning your Erasmus experience a lot simpler and hassle-free.

1.    Research your chosen location: This may seem a given, but it’s surprising the amount of students who don’t bother to research their Erasmus destinations thoroughly, and we’re not just talking about the nearest nightclubs. It’s important that you really know where you’re going, especially the history and the culture, in order to avoid any awkward social interactions with locals. It’s also vital to research transport methods, the college itself and safety guidelines many tourist websites have available to read.

2.    Google Map your accommodation: The most important aspect of your Erasmus is making sure that your accommodation is secure and in reach of shops and public transport and of course, the college. When searching for accommodation, get the directions from the college and your prospective accommodation before you make your final decision. Many students can be left with a long commute to college everyday due to this slight oversight, which can then demotivate students to go to college everyday which then can land you in a lot of trouble.

3.    Lists: When preparing for Erasmus, there will be no better method of ensuring you’re good to go than making list after list and checking off each task as it gets done. If you’re not in the habit of making lists and think that you can wing it as you go long,  you’re 99% guaranteed to miss one vital task that can cause you a great deal of unnecessary stress and hassle when you have left the country. Keep your lists in a folder along with any forms you may need and your passport, it’s always better to have everything to hand to ensure that nothing gets left behind.

4.    Skype:  On Erasmus, Skype will be the godsend that you really will not know how you ever lived without. You can keep in close touch with family and friends for free and is a lot more personal than a postcard. Also make sure you teach your parents how to use Skype before you leave, there’s nothing more stressful than a frustrating twenty minute discussion over a computer screen while trying to describe to them how to turn the camera on!

5.    Ease your nerves: Don’t worry about the small stuff or the bigger stuff like making new friends or dealing with accommodation woes. Take everything as it comes and enjoy the once in a lifetime adventure.