Ask a person about his/her favorite period of life, and he/she will start off with: “When I was a student…”
Well, of course being a student is awesome! Besides the severe studying (which can also be interesting if you love what you`re learning), students just can`t get enough of all the parties, meeting new people, new experiences and, of course, traveling. Students love to travel. Especially when they`re up to a silly idea like hitchhiking or choosing a destination at the last moment.
What most students do during their studies is that they are trying to find a way to spend a semester or a year studying abroad. And, luckily, Erasmus and some other organizations are giving these great opportunities to students, especially the ones that could not afford to travel on a normal basis.
So, let me guess: You`re a student and you`re looking for the perfect city to do your Erasmus exchange. As a student, I guess your budget isn`t screaming to be decreased quickly. And you want the whole package: meeting new people from everywhere, partying until dawn and nice and quiet places where you decide to get serious about your studies. Am I right? Well, I hope I am close, because I`m about to reveal to you the best places for your next Erasmus exchange.
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So the first letter A goes for Amsterdam, the capital of Netherlands. Known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities, Amsterdam has everything you will be looking for during your exchange. All those beautiful and colorful little houses settled next to the river, people continually smiling and chilling in the parks, this city has a great chill atmosphere during the day. One thing that might be bothering you a lot is the massive amount of tourists coming to this city. However, if you are a people person, then the significant number of tourists can be an excellent opportunity for you to meet new friends from all around the world.
Universities: The most prominent Universities in Amsterdam that widely open their doors to exchange students are the following: UvA (University of Amsterdam), the VU (Free University) and the AUC (Amsterdam University College).
Discounts: If you are a full-time student between 12-26 years you may benefit with an ISIC card.
Language: People here talk in Dutch, which is quite hard to learn in a semester or two if your language has nothing to do with their language. However, be sure that you`ll have no problem speaking in English with the Dutch since they are good at it.
Study Places: Positioned on the Oosterdokseiland, Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA) is a great place to catch up with your studying. Plus, it`s Europe`s most extensive public library.
Erasmus Parties: If you are looking for an Erasmus party in Amsterdam, the nightclub Panama is the place to be.
Of course, Berlin is on the list; there`s a reason why this city never sleeps. Germany`s unique capital presents the most exciting mix of cultures, behaviors, and habits. You can spend a year in this city and still find something cool to see or do every new day, whether you prefer the daytime or the nighttime. With its rich history and dedicated working people, this city is busy and confusing, but you can always chill your head down in some of the huge and green local parks.
Universities: Berlin has universities which provide great quality, so having your exchange in this city will be a big PLUS for your education. Try out the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) or Free University of Berlin.
Discounts: Well sure some discounts exist here and there, but it`s so nice that the University helps you get your monthly public transport ticket way cheaper than the standard price.
Language: Of course German is the official language, and you`ve heard how hard it is to learn it (actually, that`s relevant…). However, you will hear a lot of other languages around you since a lot of people have come to Berlin to find that it`s their home. And English is spoken by almost everybody.
Study Places: Berlin is full of libraries, such as the following: Berlin State Library, Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek, Universitätsbibliothek der Freien Universität Berlin, Bibliothek des Ibero-Amerikanischen Instituts Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Department of Library and Information Science (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Philologische Bibliothek, Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum and many many others.
Erasmus Parties: Check out the Erasmus parties in Flamenca, Picknick, and Magdalena. However, don`t miss out on the spontaneous abandoned train parties or the big, hipster clubs.
How about choosing Slovenia`s capital Ljubljana, a city near the Alps. You`ve probably haven`t thought of visiting this city before, but if you have a chance to study here – then you`ll make the right choice. Even though a capital, this city breathes for the students. It`s a bit smaller than other capitals, but it has everything you need. A big plus is that it`s bicycle-friendly and the public bikes only cost 3 euros per year.
Universities: The University of Ljubljana is a respected University, which consists of many faculties and academies. It can offer a big range of study programs, and the professors are nice and helpful.
Discounts: When it comes to living costs, the best thing in Ljubljana is that the university, the restaurants, and the state have a collaboration, in which a certain number of meal coupons are given to the students every month. Students this way eat in great restaurants for low prices.
Language: The official language is Slovenian, and other than curse words, you wouldn`t learn a lot. However, there are a lot of exchange students in this city, so the Slovenians are used to communicate in other languages as well.
Study Places: Every Faculty has its library, but the best public library is the National University Library, which is enormous and pretty much looks like you are in a Harry Potter movie.
Erasmus Parties: Student parties can be found everywhere, but the most famous Erasmus Party Club is Companeros. All the Erasmus people know that Thursday night is Companeros night.
So you`re a fan of the Italian way of life, and you want to experience it to the fullest? Then apply for an exchange in Bologna, a southern city in Italy. Bologna is a real student city, rarely will you see someone older on the streets. It`s a nice city, close to many popular touristic cities like Genoa, Venice, Milan, etc.
Universities: the University of Bologna is a serious University which provides study programs of great and worldwide appreciated quality.
Discounts: Italians appreciate their art and music scene so that students can enjoy the benefits of the discounted tickets.
Language: Italian is, of course, the official language and you probably already know a word or two. Even if you don`t, you will want to learn immediately after you hear the magical sound of it.
Study Places: Bologna has many excellent libraries, but make sure not to miss the Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio. It`s like you`ve been taken back in time.
Erasmus Parties: Lime Bar is where a lot of Erasmus parties are being held, but also check out the local bars – they sure know how to make an Erasmus party!
There are a lot more cities to be added to the list, but the thing is – rarely did somebody say that he/she regrets going on an Erasmus abroad. So be bold! Take courage and choose something completely unknown. Dive into the adventure of life and learn something more about yourself in different situations. You are a student, and your life is ahead of you to be courageous and do something you wouldn`t think of normally doing. Meet new people. Meet the world!