As you may or may not know I have spent the last academic year in Malta on an Erasmus year abroad. The past two months being back on British soil and preparing for my fourth and final year at the University of Leicester have shown me the many ways my Erasmus year abroad has shaped me.
Firstly, when moving to another country where you know no one and have no connections, you learn how to make lifelong friends in a very short space of time. Within the first day of moving to Malta I met my year-long Erasmus friends who are now friends I know I will still be in touch with in years to come. You become a pro at small talk and how to develop that into friendship, a skill that I am sure will come in handy once I have moved on from university life.
Secondly, due to being in a country with a different and foreign currency I learnt not to be afraid of using the exact money to pay for things, even if it was in tiny 1 cent coppers! Coming back to Britain has showed me that I no longer need to have a ‘change’ jar as I tend to use up all of my coppers through giving the exact change even though it is not a commonly done thing here.
As well as learning to be okay with giving the exact change, having a different currency and more expensive items on my weekly shopping list has meant that I have learnt how to live on an even tighter budget. I am looking forward to my final year at Leicester as I now know how to do an extremely cheap weekly shop and still eat healthy!
Last but not least, having a limited budget but being in such an amazing country meant that I learnt how to make the most of what is around you when you have little to spend. In Malta, most of the time, the bus fair or perhaps just a long walk was all that was between you and an amazingly unique day out. I have taken this on board this summer and have done so much with very little and plan to do the same for the following academic year.
I have enjoyed my past two months back at home as they have allowed me to reflect on my past academic year and the things that I have experienced and learnt. An Erasmus year abroad is such an amazing opportunity and I am so pleased I was lucky enough to experience it.