How to adapt to your new Erasmus city?
You have just arrived in your new Erasmus city and you are more lost than an octopus in a garage. We advise you on how to adapt quickly to your new environment.
Erasmus is one of the most important and challenging years of your life that, for several months, will lead you to live in your new city. The phrases that will define this stage will be "studying in another country", "adapting to another culture" or "having a great time".
Study in another country. This issue is clear. You will have to study, but we can also tell about the well-known benevolence of teachers towards Erasmus students.
Have a good time. This aspect does not generate any doubt. And you also have it mastered.
But what about cultural adaptation? How do you adapt to living in your new Erasmus city?
We are going to talk about this in this post. How to live like a local in your new host city and feel at home from day one.
During the first days, it is not uncommon to feel lonely, confused and even a little scared when you start living in a new city and even more so in another country. It takes a while to get to know the new routines, rhythms and generally the culture of your foster home… so be patient and follow these tips.
1. Take personal memories with you.
When packing your suitcase pack, take a few things to decorate your room. This will remind you of home and make it more welcoming and personal. They do not have to be large objects. Simple things, like your bedding, a candle that you love or some photos of family and friends will make your new home seem more welcoming.
This way you will begin to feel that you are part of your new city and you will feel at home in your new place.
2. Be flexible and tolerant.
Starting almost from scratch in a new city is not easy. Especially during the first weeks, you will have to adapt to situations that will not be completely to your liking and that will condition you in some moments.
Living with strangers and with customs other than yours will be a super enriching experience, but you need to be flexible and tolerant. Not all of us think alike, however, none is better than the other.
The key to enjoying your Erasmus experience is to open your mind. Be flexible with roommates, with your new friends and with everything that your new city offers you, the question is to get used to it.
3. Speak the language of your new Erasmus city.
This is a more than key aspect for cultural adaptation and integration in your new city.
Even if it is difficult at first, always try to speak in the language of your new city. People tend to appreciate that newcomers make an effort to speak their language, so they will also respond positively and try to make you feel part of the community from day one. In addition, it is the best way to perfect the language and to increase your self-confidence.
4. Master the jargon.
No matter what city you are in, you will hear expressions and colloquial terms that you have not been taught in class and that you may not have heard before. For example, if you are in London you will hear that people have a cuppa (cup of tea) or in Sydney a stubby (cold beer). Pay attention to all these terms that people use and adopt them in your vocabulary. You will internalise it soon and you will say so naturally, you'll feel like one more.
5. Walk around your new Erasmus city and be a tourist.
Before arriving in your new Erasmus city, find out about its history, traditions and neighbourhoods. In short, take some time to find out more about your new destination city.
When you arrive in your new city, walk around it with a tourist map. Visit the most emblematic places to learn a little more about their history and begin to have references to the city.
Stroll through your new neighbourhood and see what it offers. Are there gyms nearby? Is it a more cultural neighbourhood? What kind of stores do you have? You will discover all these things as you get lost in its streets and they will give you a deeper knowledge of what life is like for local people.
6. Wherever you go, do what you see.
This is the golden rule for your cultural adaptation. Does everyone ride a bike in your new city? Well, you know what to do, get a bike! Or is the metro or tram the usual form of transport? In this case, get your transport card as soon as possible. Exploring and touring the city easily like the rest of the city's residents will make you feel like one more.
7. Stick to local time.
Related to the above, another basic aspect that will help you in your cultural adaptation will be to get used to the new schedules. Of course, once you get used to it, you will get hungry at noon and meeting for dinner at 7 becomes common.
8. Eat where they eat and shop where they shop.
When looking for a place to eat or a cafe for a drink, watch where the locals go. You will discover the best places to taste the local gastronomy and you will taste the richest dishes.
The cafes and restaurants preferred by the locals are normally far from the touristic streets. What dishes do they usually order? What drink do they usually have? Dare to ask for them too, you will be surprised.
When buying, we recommend the same. Observe the frequented supermarkets and see which brands trends most and compare them. Sometimes when we go to the supermarket in another country, buying a simple yoghurt can take us a long time. And there are many brands, but we do not know any. Check out what the locals are buying and do not hesitate to put it in your basket.
9. Make local friends.
When we go on Erasmus it is very easy to make friends with other Erasmus, especially from our own country, who are also in the same situation. And this is great.
But to adapt to your new Erasmus city and its culture, you should try to make local friends. Now you may be thinking... yes, it seems like a good idea, but how?
Surely the university and the city itself offer endless leisure activities such as language exchange, craft workshops, team sports, courses of all kinds ... etc. Participate in some of these activities and start a conversation with a local. It indeed takes an extra effort, but you will feel more comfortable in your new city and all kinds of doors will open for you. Surely those people are eager to tell you where the best bars and restaurants are and they will give you all kinds of recommendations on places to visit, street food stalls, etc.
Knowing all these things about your new environment will help you feel like just another resident before you know it.
10. Ask family and friends to visit you.
Encourage your friends and family to visit you. Keeping in mind that in a few weeks your friends or family will come to visit you will help you when it comes to saying goodbye. Also, by the time they arrive, you will have had time to walk the streets of your new city and you can show them your favourite places as if you were just another local.
We hope these tips help you quickly adapt to your new city.
In which city did you do or are you doing your Erasmus? What has surprised you the most about her? Did you easily find accommodation?
Tell us if this post helped you. Leave us your comments!