Seán’s decision to go on Erasmus and the supports he found on the way

Ever since 1st year of Secondary School I’ve known I wanted to study business in College. I always had a passion for the subject, and honestly I’ve always been motivated by money, which may explain my love of, and desire to get into business. In 4th year I started looking into college courses: it was at this point the idea of going away for a year to study in another country started to gain traction in my mind. I found that 3 of the major Universities in Dublin: DCU, UCD, DIT; all offered an International Business course wherein the 3rd year was a mandatory Erasmus year to the country of whatever language you chose to study. This would allow me to study business as well as continue to study French and subsequently spend the 3rd year of my course studying in France.

On my CAO form in 6th year included at least 6 business courses that involved at least 1 semester of an Erasmus to France. I was offered International Business and French in DCU and accepted it happily.

I knew actually very little about “real France” before coming on the Erasmus. I had been to Paris and Brittany before but never for more than 2 weeks. All I knew about the country was they drink a lot of wine, love olives and baguettes, and don’t cook steak fully. That said I’d been studying French since 6th class so, whilst still not fluent, I have enough to get by in the country.

The application procedure for the course was long. It took myself and the 5 other lads I came with all summer to fully apply, and even at that our registration still isn’t confirmed yet despite being here 2 weeks already. Many forms had to be completed, including tedious things like getting our birth-certs translated into French and filling out 2 different “Learning Agreements”. As well as that, in order to get the “CAF” accommodation grant from the French government we’ve had to get ours and our parent’s P60 forms, proof of addresses and so on. Like I said, it’s taken all summer and it’s still not fully completed yet.

As soon as I found out in about April that I’d be coming to Montpellier for my Erasmus I immediately started looking for a job. Knowing that I’d never be able to save enough money to keep my going for a year, I wanted to be earning my own money to fund nights out, trips around Europe, etc; rather than expect my parents to pay for my social activities when they’re already supporting me for rent and travel and all the important stuff. I figured the best chance I’d have of a job here would be in an Irish bar so I googled Irish bars in Montpellier (assuming there’d be at least one), and Fitzpatrick’s was the first link that came up.

I emailed the owner telling him who I was, why I was coming to Montpellier and why I was going to be looking for a job while I was there. He seemed interested in meeting me, it turns out they hire new Irish exchange students every year to keep the authenticity of an “Irish” bar. He told me to come into him when I arrived, so I did. I arrived on Sunday August 27th, went into the pub that night, and started working the very next day.

My initial thoughts on coming here were that it was going to be the best year of my life. Sun, sea, cheap drink, and 5 of my best friends and, yes, a fair bit of college work; all together in 1 tiny (compared to Dublin) Mediterranean city. I haven’t been here long but I’m pretty sure this city and this year of Erasmus will meet at least the majority of my expectations.

Overall I’m delighted to finally be here. In my next entry I’ll describe my first impressions of the college, the city and the new people I’ve met here so far. Below is a video preview of my first impressions…I hope to add more videos soon!!

Until then…

Seán

Date of post: 
Tuesday, October 8, 2013