The time has come, you have selected your Erasmus host city for your semester abroad and you´re counting down the days. However, there are still many things you need to do before you arrive:
It´s advisable to start looking for your Erasmus accommodation before your arrival in your host city. That way you have much more time to assess your options. There are many websites aimed specifically at offering flats to Erasmus students and also many Facebook groups. Flat sharing is always the best option, that way you could live with a friend or even a native –so you can easily practice your target language with them. Don´t pay any money before you actually see the place for yourself – unfortunately there are many scams around, and some don´t look anything like how they appear in the photos.
Spotahome is a very useful site which validates and creates virtual video tours of apartments, with fun and informative commentaries, operating in 15 major European cities.
PapayaPods not only helps you find rented accommodation easily, they also let you manage and maintain the entire tenancy online. As well as paying rent online you can also file repair requests for any wear and tear, attaching clear pictures as evidence.
Passport and ID
Make sure that your passport is up to date along with all relevant identity documents. You will also need these when enrolling at your host university. Remember to also make photocopies of your passport and ID.
Medical insurance card
Make sure you have some form of medical insurance in case of emergency – you never know when you could need it. Make sure you have photocopies of this too, along with your EHIC card. Another useful tip is to make sure that you know the translations for any allergies/medical problems that you may have.
Try and join all of the Facebook groups that you can, so you can make friends even before you arrive at your city, and you can find out about cool events happening after you arrived. You can also use them to find accommodation and ask any questions that you have about Erasmus or just things in general about your new city.
Make sure you have signed and returned all of the necessary learning documents, without these you may not be able to enroll at your host University. Make sure you have a printed copy to take with you to show when you arrive. You may even have to show it as proof when renting accommodation.
Having a bank account set up in your host city would be incredibly useful if not essential. This would mean that you can avoid paying transaction fees when paying by card for in-store items, and the other mountain of fees that are involved with withdrawing cash at ATMs. If you don´t make a new account, you will quickly notice just how many fees can pile up on a weekly basis.
A super useful site to use to send money between cards or to friends/family members is TransferWise, which is a much cheaper option than standard bank transfers which charge a lot of commission.