So, as I said in my previous blog, this one will be an overview of how the summer of living and working in France, not as an Erasmus student, has been and how different it may or may not have been to being a student on Erasmus. Firstly, and most importantly, I’ve had SO MUCH free time I nearly don’t know what to do with myself. Not that I haven’t been working (I’ve actually been working more) but I had never realised just how much time the college work took up during a normal week until all of a sudden I’m not a student any more. This, coupled with the intensely hot weather means that for the first time since last October I actually feel like I’m on a bit of a holiday now. At the beginning of our year here, back last September, college classes were sparse, money wasn’t so much of an issue, and the weather was amazing so we felt more like holiday-goers than students. Then the weather took a turn for the worse for about 6 months and the college work piled on!
Now it’s all over I have more time to explore the South of France and enjoy being employed here and mostly just working on improving my French more and more.
Initially it was quite a drastic change...by mid-June there was almost nobody left in the city from my rather large group of Erasmus friends. All of the people I’d come with from Ireland had left the city, and everyone else was leaving at a rapid rate...leaving just me and 2 or 3 others left in the city.
Work got a bit more intense from June on...the pub was now open an extra hour each nights, and I was getting more shifts than I was when I had college. Meaning, naturally, I was more tired but with more spare time it didn’t matter as much.
I had family and friends visit me in June meaning I had a great excuse to travel the nearby attractions around Montpellier:
Jet-skiing at the beach, kayaking up in the mountains, local markets that are only open during the summer, etc...
I also had to move to a new house as my lease in my student residence had expired...
Searching for somewhere new to live was extremely difficult but eventually I struck gold and found a beautiful house in the city with...of all things...a pool: it’s REALLY felt like a holiday this summer!!
So, as you can tell, there are several differences between what my life in France was like whilst an Erasmus student, and what it’s been like since technically saying goodbye to Erasmus and focusing on my “working holiday” in the South of France!
Now that it’s come to the end of the summer and I’m actually packing for the final time to return to Ireland I find myself reminiscing on this entire, amazing 11 (nearly 12) month journey! I’ve said before I could never accurately put into words what an amazing experience Erasmus is...it really is just something you have to experience for yourself should you ever be given the opportunity!
To any secondary school students reading this, unsure of what college courses to put down on their CAO’s, one thing I would recommend is: regardless of what you want to study, if at all possible aim for a course that offers an Erasmus or an exchange of some sort...you won’t regret it...EVER!
I look forward to reading the blogs and accounts of future Erasmus students and seeing how their amazing experiences relate to or (more likely) how vastly different yet still amazing they are compared to mine!
This has been the best year of my life!
I hope more and more people can say the same thing!!