experiences of Erasmus yr abroad please (France)

(31 Posts)
ggirl Sun 10-Mar-13 17:58:05

dd is going to Bordeaux for her 3rd yr

she's v excited and happily planning..not expecting me to do anything, thankfully a very independent person

I am however a tad anxious and would like to hear some other peoples experience of theirs or their childs yr abroad.

how did you get all your stuff there?
were you homesick?

PhyllisDoris Sun 10-Mar-13 18:04:23

I did it un Tours years ago. I drove over with a fellow student who had a placement near me. Had a bloody fantastic time!

fussychica Sun 10-Mar-13 18:19:38

Lurking as DS has applied to Bordeaux plus two other regions for his 3rd year placement but as a Language Assistant in a school rather than going to Uni. Have to wait a couple of months to find out what's happening. I'm a bit anxious too though he's pretty laid back about it.confused

ggirl Sun 10-Mar-13 18:38:45

ooh fussychica , where does your ds go to uni?Maybe they'll meet up.

Bonsoir Sun 10-Mar-13 18:42:41

Could you drive her over at the beginning of the year? You will be much less anxious being able to visualise where she is living.

ggirl Sun 10-Mar-13 18:46:13

Was hoping to beable to do that Bonsoir, she thinks I'm fussing but is willing to let me, maybe a short family trip to get her settled .
<<overbearing mother>>> grin

otherwise it's a lot of stuff to shift

PetiteRaleuse Sun 10-Mar-13 18:51:04

Bordeaux is a fabulous city for students. Great climate, lots to do, good bars, and not too expensive compared to Paris for example. Close to the coast, easy drive to the Pyrenees, great hospitals and doctors in case of problems and lovely lovely wine.

getoffthecoffeetable Sun 10-Mar-13 18:51:46

I spent third year in Southern France as part of my degree. It was a brilliant experience. My Dad drove me and all my stuff there and sorted out accommodation with me. my mum wasn't allowed to come because she cries too much on leaving!
Bordeaux is a fantastic city, your DD will have a great time.
Get Skype set up on your laptops and you'll be able to chat.
It's also a great excuse for you to go over to France for some cheese, wine and good company!

ggirl Sun 10-Mar-13 18:56:56

aww thanks ..that's very reassuring

barnet Sun 10-Mar-13 18:57:23

I went to Bordeaux for my 3rd year at uni, you don't need alot of stuff! I had a rucksack of clothes and a few pots and pans, bought a bike when i was there. She will have a lovely time, don't worry!

noblegiraffe Sun 10-Mar-13 19:00:46

I went to Germany. I had a bit of a crap time at the start as for some reason my accommodation was on my own away from other exchange students. I decided if I was still miserable at Xmas I'd give up and go home, but luckily I then fell in with a great group of international students and even cancelled a visit home at Easter so I could tour Eastern Europe with them. I think it would be different these days as everyone has mobiles so where I was left out at the start, your DD would be able to get involved easily with texting and Facebook.

I brought a really heavy suitcase and hand luggage at the start, and then my parents shipped other stuff over when I was settled.

PetiteRaleuse Sun 10-Mar-13 20:55:39

Drive her over, drop her off then go have a lovely weekend at Cap Ferret which is about an hour away. Lovely bit of coast, dunes, beaches, nice restaurants. Then pop back in and see her for lunch on the way back to check she's ok and put your mind at rest. Other than at Christmas I doubt you'll see her for the rest of the year she'll be having too much of a fab time in a lovely corner of France smile

Indith Sun 10-Mar-13 20:58:26

oh I love Bordeaux. my mum is from there so spent lots of time there with family. I did languages too, spent time in Russia and Spain. I just packed a rucksack and got on a plane. great times smile

ggirl Sun 10-Mar-13 21:12:18

thanks I am very reassured smile

fussychica Mon 11-Mar-13 10:45:09

All sounds great - fingers crossed for Bordeaux then! Looks Very rural - hope he doesn't get placed too far out.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 11-Mar-13 10:51:55

It's a big city by French standards, with an excellent public transport network out to the suburbs and surrounding villages.

Indith Mon 11-Mar-13 11:06:01

Mmm I want to go to Bordeaux, it will be 2 years this Easter since we last went sad. I love pottering around, it is such a beautiful city and so lovely to walk round since the tram was built. And so easy to go to St Emillion for a visit (there is a train) to stuff yourself with very special macaroons (not the same as the coloured ones with filling, not the same AT ALL) and drink fine wine. And the coast is in easy reach (there are decent buses) with the most fabulous beaches and wonderful crashing waves for surfing etc. The huge lake at maubuisson is brilliant for all kinds of water sports too. Miles and miles of cycle paths inteh forests....oh and the amazing maitre glacier at maubuisson! There is a good campsite right at the edge of teh village too and bikes are easy to hire to cycle to the beach so I am sure they will all end up there for frequent weekends in teh warmer months! In Bordeaux itself they have their own Boris Bike system so great for visiting students. My German cousin did a spell there at uni and didn't bother to buy a bike, she just used the city ones as then there were no worries about somewhere to store it or it getting nicked.

And Bordeaux itself. If they ever go to see a match at the stadium (fun experience)then they must absolutely go to this patisserie. It is amazing and Daniel Cousin has won several awards. Tis our family local and even if I don't visit for years at a time (money sad) I still get recognised and hugged and teh children get petted smile Actually, go even they don't have another reason to be in the area, it isn't far to go and is only a couple of minutes walk from the tram.

Indith Mon 11-Mar-13 11:11:21

Oh oh oh and dont' forget the regional special which are a very local thing and personally I'd say only worth buying from one of the main makers of this small cakey wonder Baillardran. Most others just can't live up to them. Which reminds me, I've not made any in ages....<<goes to hunt down her copper moulds>>

woahwoah Mon 11-Mar-13 11:26:36

Hi, my daughter is on her year abroad at the moment on an Erasmus Thingy. If I'm honest she hasn't loved it, but it has been a valuable experience and her language skills have improved loads. The first term was pretty terrible - lots of homesickness and Skyping! But it's going better now as she has settled and got to know other people.
We've found it quite expensive - the Erasmus grant has been a godsend - as the cost of living seems high in Europe.
Buy a big suitcase and don't take too many clothes.
She came home at Christmas and for a wedding but that's it.
If your dd is confident and looking forward to it I'm sure she'll be fine.

AuldAlliance Mon 11-Mar-13 17:12:46

One thing she may need to be prepared for is choosing her courses once she arrives. I can't speak for Bordeaux, but in my university the Erasmus students I'm responsible for, who arrive fresh-faced from the UK, are a bit stunned at having to navigate admin and secretaries' offices to plan their study programme and work out their own timetable. It's hard going, but once they've done it they can do anything in French!
Bordeaux is a lovely town, she should have a great time.

ggirl Mon 11-Mar-13 17:51:35

Well I want to do a yr abroad now !

Thanks for all the insight.

woahwoah where is your dd studying?

Indith Mon 11-Mar-13 18:06:40

Oh yes, I remember how irritating and flipping impossible all the registration process was at the Spanish university I went to! It was mayhem! I found a really interesting module one day but when I turned up to the next class it wasn't where is was supposed to be and I never managed to track it down again.... You were just free to go to any class you wanted for a while and then you had to register for the ones you wanted. Different classes were worth different amounts of credits and you had to do a certain number of credits. However different UK universities have different requirements of their students on Erasmus so where some poor sods had to go to all their classes, write the essays and pass the exams at the end we pretty much just had to be registered and occasionally turn up. I think I was in Barcelona with by boyfriend when exams were being held grin.

Year abroad is fab. It can be tough, expecially if you need to do more than one country. Arriving at the start of the year you are on the same footing as the local students and you start classes with them and mix more. Plus if you are staying for a whole year I think you tend to make more local friends as they see it as worth their while making friends with you ikswim. Of course making local friends is the best thing for your language skills. It is much harder when you switch country mid year, everyone else knows what they are doing but you don't, local students just see you as part of a transient group and not worth making friends with. Plus you probably just got settled where you were and had to leave so you miss the other country as well as missing home.

Be aware that they really don't do societies etc like we do in the UK so it can be much harder to integrate. What interests does she have though? I may be able to help with contacts for various things (scouting/guiding, choirs etc).

ggirl Tue 12-Mar-13 21:29:26

very helpful post Indith -thank you

thankfully she's in the same place for the whole yr

Definitely ! she'll be v stressed at the beginning..as long as she's prepared for it she'll cope.

Interest of hers..well mainly socialising and yoga /pilates classes I guess.

CoffeeCrazedMama Fri 15-Mar-13 21:27:41

Dd1 is on her Erasmus year and has just gone from southern France to Italy. She flew, and just took a big suitcase and bought a few bulker items -like a duvet - cheaply at the local Ikea, then left them there. (Not very ecological but frankly from the state of the house she was living in, I wouldn't have had them back here anyway!). She came home by train at one point, too (changing to eurostar at Lille). She was able to take a bit more to Italy, as I went with her for a few days and could take one of the bags. The hardest thing for her has been the uni admin (nearly zero help this side, lots of confusion in the host unis) but she made great friends in France (other Erasmus) and seems to be doing the same in Italy (this time more locals. HTH

ggirl Sat 16-Mar-13 09:48:19

CoffeeCrazedMama good to know your dd enjoyed her time in france.Good idea about ikea

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