My name is Bethany Gascoigne and my decision to go on an Erasmus exchange was very much made on a whim. I attended the initial meeting as an attempt to postpone starting an essay that was hanging over my head. I couldn’t believe how enthusiastically past Erasmus students spoke about their experiences. I was immediately interested, and after I spoke to a good looking student in a Netherlands football shirt at the exchanges fair I was sold! Plus, I was slightly persuaded by the prospect of getting an Erasmus grant for 2000 euros. I’ve always wanted to go travelling and I believe that there is never going to be an easier opportunity to live abroad, with such a useful support network.
I made an effort to find out more about the Erasmus scheme and how it would affect my law degree. Fortunately, it doesn’t count towards my degree and all I need to do is pass the year in order to continue into 4th year on my return – good news all round.
It took me a while to finalise my university choices. Having never been to Holland, I thought it would add to the adventure to live in a country I haven’t visited. I had to choose an English speaking university, because my language ability leaves much to be desired. In the end I settled on Utrecht for my first choice, mainly because of its proximity to Amsterdam. I was overjoyed when I found out that I had been given my first choice, and it didn’t take me long to decide to accept the offer.
I discovered that Utrecht University doesn’t own any accommodation for its students, but they suggested I contacted a particular letting agency. I had been put in contact with a girl who was spending the current year in Utrecht and she suggested applying for a flat in Cambridgelaan, because it is so close to the university campus and is a in a student central area. I settled on a seven person flat, which would be a big change from my 2nd year in Edinburgh where I stayed with just one friend.
I can’t believe how easy the whole process has been, with the international offices both in Edinburgh and Utrecht passing on all the information I could possibly need for a smooth transition. Now with just 2 days to go before I try to cram my life into 3 suitcases and move abroad for the year, I am a combination of incredibly terrified, and overwhelmingly excited. I am most looking forward to meeting my flatmates, and I am hoping for an adventure that will be one of the best years of my life.