Daniel Lee, studying in A Coruña, Spain
As a language student, I’m lucky that my year abroad is compulsory. However, with the excitement of preparing for a year abroad, comes the daunting task of applying for universities. I am currently studying at Universidade da Coruña, in Northern Spain and want to share what it’s like applying for an Erasmus+ placement.
Many universities in the UK have links with others across Europe, making the application process faster. To choose our study abroad university, my course mates and I were given options and had to submit our top five preferences. Within two weeks, we were informed of which university we would be studying at. I received my second choice. However, if I was asked to switch now, the answer would be a definite no!
Wherever you are placed becomes your home, so don't be dissapointed if you don't get your first choice.
It’s so important to research both the university and area where you may be studying; this is a great opportunity to really understand where you’re going. Since you’ll be there for some time, I would suggest looking into the culture, food and surrounding areas as you’ll have plenty of time to explore! The likelihood is that online you’ll be able to talk with people who have previously been to places you’re considering, give information from those currently studying there and plan with those who will be going in the near future.
The biggest task is actually completing the application, which for most universities can done online. You will be asked for your personal details and information about your home university, just like UCAS . Erasmus students will then need to complete a learning agreement- a list of all the modules you want to study. Once you have done this, you are almost there. As it stands, UK students do not need a visa to study in Europe, but this will be explained in more detail to you when you apply.
Before my second year exams started, the international office at Bangor hosted a ‘Pre-Departure Orientation Day’ - a day full of information for all those studying abroad. It’s so important to attend these days as it’s a great opportunity to seek help and find out key information.
Finally, one of the most important things to know is that you can still apply for Student Finance. This is done via the same means as you would normally; you just need to say that you’re abroad for the academic year. As an Erasmus student, you are also entitled to the Erasmus+ Grant, which is available to everyone. But beware of the deadlines for this - they’re super strict and come around fast!
In my opinion...
There is one thing in particular I wish I’d known while applying- the universities can take a while to get back to you and you may be waiting for several days. If this is the case, don’t worry, they will get back to you!
My experience of applying was thankfully, a very positive one and generally the process is designed to be helpful.
My advice would be if you are worried about your application, ask for help from your tutor, your university’s international office, or a student who has been through it.
You are applying for an unforgettable experience - it’s worth the paperwork.
Daniel Lee is studying Spanish & Italian, currently on his Erasmus year abroad.