3I myself am just returned from my five month stint in Tarragona, Spain. There are some things I did well and some that weren’t as much of a success, but these are three tips that I wish someone had told me before I left, and I hope you find some use from them.
If like me, you have never lived alone before, then a little budgeting will go a long way. If you start a plan before you go and actually stick to it, then that means you will find it a million times easier to live and travel in your new country of residence. However, when making up this budget, I would highly recommend you do two things. Firstly you should look up the cost of living in your destination city and then compare it to the cost of living in your home country, this way you have a better idea of just the day to day costs to help make a realistic budget. The second thing I highly recommend is putting a little money aside for not only a rainy day fund but also for your return home. When you get back people will want to meet up and catch up with you and all of your adventures. And by this point you can’t wait to see all of your loved ones again, however the more loved ones you have, the harder it is to get everyone together for one catchup, meaning lots of meals and drinks will be bought to catch up with everyone you want to meet.
I’m not saying you need to book and plan everywhere you want to go before you even arrive. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a few destinations in mind as well as a rough pricing idea for when you don’t have classes of course. Just doing this helps you plan a better budget and look realistically at what you can afford to spend on living and travel. As well as this I highly recommend researching your new city. Things as little as small customs can make a huge difference on how you interact with locals and even how you plan your week. During my Erasmus I found it mind boggling at first that in Tarragona everywhere except cafes close for a siesta (that varied in times depending on the store) every day as well as all day on Sunday, making Sunday shopping for the weeks worth of groceries impossible.
3) The Golden Rule of Packing
Three words to live by ‘Less IS More’. Repeat it to yourself, make it your new mantra, write it on your walls while you’re packing. Do not fall into that holiday trap we women do when we begin packing. We start to imagine ourselves as this completely different person, who wears all these glamorous clothes and hats and etc. No. If you don’t do these things now, do not think you will when you get off of the plane in your new country. I overpacked and it nearly killed me when I was trying to bring everything back, to the point that I had to smuggle 23kg worth of carry on onto a Ryanair flight. I did it, but I nearly broke my back as well as all my luggage. So instead of doing this, pack less clothes that you can turn into several outfits, and cut yourself back to the essentials while getting ready to set off on your new adventure.