Vienna, Austria, one city which has my heart forever. The best experience of my whole life captured in one city in central Europe. Why? Because I got the must surreal, beautiful joyous experience to go abroad on an adventure. I have to stress so much to everyone to consider doing Erasmus, it even brings me to tears nearly writing this text because all those memories come flooding back. 5 months since I came back to Ireland, and in a cliché sense I still think about it every day. Random memories flood my mind always. I remember taking a 7am flight with all my luggage in the airport, boarding the Aer Lingus flight alone, it feels like yesterday. So bittersweet. How scared I was, how excited as I started my whole new life in an unknown city, alone. I wish I could go back to that scared self, that self who was afraid, she seems so far away, and I cannot grab her back, like a stranger, I don’t know who she is anymore.
Erasmus made me who I am, it brought every sense of life to my soul, every international person I met brought the big world into a miniature huddle of my own. I made friends from all over the world, or should I say family. I have little pieces of languages in my brain. I think of all the parties, all the laughter, all the glühwein. “Studying” abroad opens up new opportunities, it helps you grow, become independent, open up yourself more, think broader in terms of life goals, yet also think more of living in now. I lived in a student dorm in central Vienna, and shared a room for the whole year, that brought challenges in itself, the best and worst of times.
Erasmus is not a long holiday, you come back and you have all these questions thrown at you like it was just a few days’ trip. No it was not. It was an emotional, mental and physical (yes dragging luggage everywhere gets to you :D), and all of this gives a person strength. With the deadline coming up to apply for Erasmus, I promise you, that no matter what will come your way on your continental voyage, you will not regret it. Erasmus is about not regretting a thing. You come home, and you do not take things for granted as you used to. You appreciate homemade meals, walking your dog, and your own bed. Yet all of these things that you think you will miss will not be permanently on your mind on Erasmus, you will be too busy discovering your city and making worldwide friends with high aspirations like you. You will get the courage to travel alone to places nearby, get help from strangers, learn how to use a real map! Most importantly you will forever have heart-warming memories for the rest of your life, too many #throwbackthursdays, and too many photos captured from your experience. You will look at them over and over again and wonder “was I dreaming?” Yes, yes you were.
I miss Erasmus all the time, and even feel more willing to move abroad again after I graduate. No matter what city you choose, Erasmus will become a lifestyle, brave little soul, go forth and venture. <3
“Erasmus is not one year in your life, but your life in one year.”
2nd year students can apply to spend their 3rd year abroad in European destinations. For more information, visit the International office on the campus. Anybody who has queries about my experience, Vienna or Erasmus in general can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also new Facebook page: ‘Maynooth Globetrotters’ – give it a like, read some wonderful stories from past students/ those currently studying abroad. Have you got an international story to share?