Anyone's DC about to start an Erasmus year in Germany?

(23 Posts)
grumiosmum Fri 16-Aug-19 18:06:24

DS is just getting ready to go for his 3rd year as part of a 4-year course, I would be interested in sharing tips & experiences with others.

e.g. what are you doing about bank account?

OP’s posts: |
Wildorchidz Fri 16-Aug-19 18:09:21

My ds used a Revolut card. No need to open a bank account.

grumiosmum Fri 16-Aug-19 18:15:13

wildorchidz is that like a travel money card?

OP’s posts: |
Wildorchidz Fri 16-Aug-19 18:16:49

It’s connected to a current account and you can transfer money to it using the Revolut app.
It’s brilliant.
Google it and see what you think

proseccoaficionado Fri 16-Aug-19 18:17:11

@grumiosmum it's a virtual account card. Has amazing exchange rates and you can open accounts in as many currencies as you like (£€ in this case). It's free and it's great. And it transfers money instantly. I love it! We all have it in my family

Notthebradybunch Fri 16-Aug-19 18:20:15

Hi, mine is about to go to Spain, using a Monzo card, has got accommodation sorted so fingers crossed all goes well for all the Erasmus kids!!

grumiosmum Fri 16-Aug-19 18:36:18

Mine only heard about his accommodation 3 days ago, so it's been a bit of a mad rush!

Will get him to look into Revolut & Monzo. Can you set up direct debits, as he will need to pay his rent monthly.

I can't believe how cheap it is compare to his UK uni!

OP’s posts: |


CBear99 Fri 16-Aug-19 19:04:56

My son's about to go to Canada for his 3rd year and has set up a Starling account. Similar to Monzo, app based and no fees or currency transaction fees. My daughter has just used hers for her inter railing trip in Italy and it worked really well.

CBear99 Fri 16-Aug-19 19:52:48

Forgot to say that the reason we chose Starling over Monzo was that there are restrictions as to how much cash you can withdraw with Monzo -£200 a month then 3% fee - we weren't sure so chose the one with no restrictions. It may well be that you wouldn't actually need that much cash. Hopefully not!

CherryPavlova Fri 16-Aug-19 19:58:37

Not Germany but just back from Italy. Had a fabulous time. She had Monzo and also had to open a bank account as they’d only pay her directly into that.
She had a host who was her landlady; she shared a flat with her which was paid for her, which enabled true immersion into Italian family life.
There were good arrangements to meet other Erasmus students and some from USA. Introduction meals, speed friendships, mentoring from previous year person etc.
We went to visit a couple of times but usually she couldn’t fit us in.
Top tip would be use time off to explore the country. Make the most of it.

Chocolatedeficitdisorder Fri 16-Aug-19 20:18:36

DD is heading off to China soon with Erasmus+. She has a Revolut card.

Notthebradybunch Fri 16-Aug-19 23:17:50

Her maintenance loan is getting paid into the Monzo account for this year as she is able to use the card worldwide, you can set up direct debits to be paid into the account, totally agree about the rent being so much cheaper than the UK!

BubblesBuddy Sat 17-Aug-19 01:06:08

It’s a while since DD did year abroad but I know she valued sessions run by both her universities for Erasmus students. They are worth going and Geneva took students on various trips as well.

It pays to be friendly! Try and chat to others. DD found it more difficult to make friends with Italian students because many live at home and have known each other a long time. Her landlady was young and DD was friends with her and the other Erasmus students in the flat. As the home Italian students were not interested in travel, she made friends with Aussies and other pro active DC who wanted to travel a bit. There was a nice group of 6.

The Swiss took her to meet their parents!! Lots of parties and lovely days out with them.

So, you never quite know what you will find. The main thing is to keep positive and find like minded people. It’s great to see more of the country you are living in and use the lower accommodation costs as an excuse to travel. No one regrets it.

bevelino Sat 17-Aug-19 09:09:31

@CherryPavlova, how did your dd find her accommodation in Italy?

My dd is currently in Latin America, but will be going to Italy after Christmas. I don’t think she has any idea where she is going to live while there.

grumiosmum Sat 17-Aug-19 10:01:07

DS's accommodation is provided by his German Uni.

It looks very similar to his first-year accommodation at his UK Uni.

He is doing a language course for the first 3 weeks, before the academic term begins, so I'm sure he'll meet lots of other international students then.

We are going to help him get settled in the first weekend.

OP’s posts: |
berlinbabylon Sat 17-Aug-19 12:21:01

I was also going to suggest a Starling account.

Hope your ds loves it, it was the best year of my life!

BubblesBuddy Sat 17-Aug-19 12:54:43

bevelino: if it’s any help, my DD responded to ads for accommodation before she left Switzerland (first semester) and lined up viewings when she got to Italy. We paid for a hotel for 4 nights to ensure a base and get breathing space for familiarisation. The hotel owner was very helpful and really looked out for her. Not too expensive in late Jan. You could go with her if that helps.

Which university is it?

BubblesBuddy Sat 17-Aug-19 12:56:24

How is your DD now, bevelino? Has she got over home sickness?

bevelino Sat 17-Aug-19 13:06:52

@BubblesBuddy, thank you for asking about dd, she is beginning to settle and has made some nice friends. Now that the term has started, the university have laid on lots of trips and activities for the international students and dd is throwing herself into it all.

Thank you for your helpful tips regarding accommodation in Italy. Dd, will be studying at the University of Bologna

CherryPavlova Sat 17-Aug-19 21:10:04

bevelino She didn’t have to find it; she was really lucky. She worked for British Council in northern Italy. They had a host sorted out who was a thirty something woman who had a large apartment adjoining her parents villa. We thought our daughter was being offered accommodation for a few weeks to tide her over until she found her feet but it was for the year - and free. She had a room and her own shower/loo but shared sitting room and kitchen. She cooked separately most of the time due to working hours but each week Mamma cooked the whole family including ours a huge seafood pasta on Friday evening and a big slow, drunken meal on Sunday. She had her shopping bills reimbursed too, so was very well off.

She got on well with her host and they had an evening a week which was half English tuition for the host and half Italian coaching for ours. Not formal but meals out, theatre trips etc. She also had some private tutoring work to boost her income and allowed her to travel around and see Italy with friends also on Erasmus.
We paid a few cheap flights out for her boyfriend and she flew back to see him a couple of times. It was literally about ten pounds each way.

Challenges we’re getting a bank account, sorting a bus pass and helping her friend sort the pill. Plus getting antibiotics out to her as seeing a doctor proved too complicated when she got tonsillitis so we did Skype appointments with a GP friend and posted them out.

BubblesBuddy Sat 17-Aug-19 23:21:56

DD went to the University of Bologna and it’s very different from the British Council placements. There are no host families allocated at the university that DD knew of and getting a room appears to be down to the Erasmus student. The University, unless it has changed, has no Erasmus student accommodation. Although they welcome around 5,000 overseas exchange students a year, most students live at home so halls of residence are not in evidence. Bologna has around 88,000 students so it’s huge.

The best bet is to look at accommodation adverts and set up viewings. I guess you could do that before she gets there! We left it up to DD as described in my earlier post. Landlords know the semester change over dates and students will be leaving and others taking their place. There will be accommodation.

Most of DDs Erasmus friends had a bedroom in a flat with a kitchen, shared bathroom and living/eating space. Some have live In landlords and some don’t. DD was near the university so it was convenient.

Quite a few British Council language assistants were in nearby towns and felt a bit isolated. A couple DD knew decided to come and live in Bologna to actually socialise with people their own age. They then commuted to work.

The University is somewhat disorganised and has old fashioned lectures with large numbers present. DD said Italian students either smoke, eat or snog during the lectures and it’s not a brilliant learning environment! No small seminar groups for her subjects either and the exams were a farce. She got used to it of course and didn’t come home until mid July. Bologna has great transport links!

CherryPavlova Sun 18-Aug-19 00:00:53

I think there’s huge amounts of luck involved. A friends daughter went to Naples and was miserable initially because of picking the wrong people to share with after a couple of weeks in a student hostel. She loved Naples but didn’t get on with flatmates.
Luckily she did two six months and moved to France for second half where she worked rather than attended uni and was much happier.

CherryPavlova Sun 18-Aug-19 00:04:08

Our daughter had also au paired for a couple of months with a family living in Garda area the previous year, so near enough to feel she had someone close by in the event of problems- luckily never needed them but still enjoyed a couple of weekends being indulged.

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