To make my blog more diverse, informative and multi-functional, I asked my dear Erasmus friends who left Nancy after the 1st semester, to write about their experiences. Hopefully they also find this article, so that they are able to profit from each of our stories and remember all of us [heart heart heart].
When I post this article, I haven’t yet got everybody’s texts, so please remember to check this article couple of times. There will be part 2 for the May/June departures.
I also declare that this kind of shameless profiting from friends’ experiences to be trademark intellectual copyright property of LeBlog under Skinnarilan Henki, so other ”lappeen Ranta”-based populistic exchange bloggers who wish to use this same format need to pay me royalties in fine beer when we all are back to Skinnarila.
I didn’t specify for my friends what or how they need to write exatly, so the text don’t follow any pattern. But now to the substance, please enjoy each others company!
”I don’t know how I could sum up the whole impression of the experience called Erasmus. I would like just encourage the rest of you, wannabe Erasmus students. If you have nothing better to do than: moving abroad, living as an independent adult, meeting loooots of different people and spending enjoyable time together, being settled down to a country where almost nobody speaks your mother language, travelling around Europe on a budget with a backpack, getting to know a different educational system than yours, and being unable of holding so many wonderful memories in your head, then go for it! ”
Faidra from Greece (although borders don’t matter)
”So my Erasmus in Nancy… That is no easy task to describe almost 5 months of your life that were so full of, basically, everything. One thing’s for sure: if you’re hesitating about whether to start Erasmus studies or not, you most certainly should do it. Maybe my story will help you decide whether to go the town I picked myself.
To start with, I study French philology, which means choosing this exact country seemed obvious to me, but that automatically implies that you should speak French a bit or at least you should be willing to learn it, because most of the classes will be in French. Actually, I made my choice of University of Lorraine because it had good overall ratings. If you want high quality studies, this will do for you, if you want the ocean and sunny beaches – not so well. Nevertheless, Nancy has a lot to offer, for example, its architecture and the proximity of most of the neighbouring countries. But let’s get back to studies. I’d say that most of the professors were highly qualified and enjoyed the teaching process, which evidently made the learning part a lot easier. Of course, there was also the minority of them who knew their thing, but didn’t know how to teach it efficiently. Furthermore, most of the courses I chose were CM or Cours Magistral where a lot of students sit in one big room and the professor explains the theory without giving any homework. On one hand, during the semester you have a lot more free time to do whatever you want, on the other hand, the stress during the exam time is a lot greater. To each his own. Overall, I’d say the University of Lorraine is worthy establishment with a good quality of studies and you’ll probably find most of the courses you need.
If we continue with the everyday life, as I come from Latvia, to me everything seemed more expensive than it should be, but you get used to it quickly. The bright side is that everything is really close and if you live near the centre, most of the places you’ll need to visit are within a 15 min walk. You have to make a choice between living in a university dormitory, which might be cheaper, or sharing a flat, which might get you cool flatmates. I chose the dormitory (Monbois, in particular) and although due to the really complicated bureaucracy (that’s France, get used to it) I received the cheapest room, it wasn’t all that horrible. Keep it clean, get to know your neighbours and you’ll do just fine (and you’ll pay almost nothing).
Then again, most of you want to know about the fun side of Erasmus and here I’ll repeat that Nancy has a lot to offer. Want some culture? Place Stanislas, art nouveau, theatre, opera, several museums and exhibition halls. Want a good meal? They even have a special gourmand street for it, not to mention the numerous restaurants in the city centre. Want to go out for a drink? MacCarthy and Love Boat are the epicentres of Erasmus nightlife in Nancy, but you might want to visit L’Appart, Le Chat Noir or Les Caves if you’re more of a dancer. Want to travel? Paris is an hour and a half away, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium and then Switzerland and the Netherlands are at your doorstep. No doubt, the region of Lorraine in which the city is situated also has a lot to offer. You’ll always have new things to discover. What’s more, Nancy has a really great ESN team that organizes all kinds of events starting from cooking, visiting neighbouring cities to theme parties and if you have any problem at all, they’ll surely help you.
Well, that’s basically it. If you have any particular questions, you can find me on Facebook, or ask Antti or Google, whatever works for you. To conclude I’ll give you some stereotypes about France and Erasmus you might want to know about.
|French people are arrogant and rude.||During the entire 5 months I spent in France, everyone I met, French or not, was welcoming and ready to help. Smile and be patient, people are there for you.|
|They eat a lot of bread and cheese.||No stereotype there, a meal without a baguette is not a meal for them. And their cheese section in the supermarkets is enormous. Pick Emmental if you’re not sure.|
|French ladies don’t shave.||…. they do.|
|During my Erasmus studies I will party and drink more than usually.||That’s highly probable, but only if you want it. There’s always the calm part of Erasmus students who enjoy living abroad and experiencing a new culture, and they’ll have just as much fun, just in a different way.|
|After I get home it will be extremely hard to catch up with my studies.||To avoid that, check beforehand. Even if some city looks really tempting, but you get almost none of the courses you need, think twice before you leave your country. There will always be an option to have fun while making an academic progress.|
|I will get to know a lot of new people.||That’s the best part of Erasmus studies, but it’s not that automatic. You really have to be open and willing to meet people in order to make those connections.|
|Erasmus will be the time of my life.||It’s entirely up to you. One thing’s for sure: you’ll get to know yourself in ways you’ve never known before, because you’ll find yourself in totally new situations. And when you get back, I assure you, that’s going to be a more experienced version of yourself. So take the challenge, it’s worth it!|
Elina from Latvia