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Erasmus: what are the pros and cons of studying abroad?

Jun 10, 2022 | Milan

I bet you must have wondered at least once in your college years whether to apply for Erasmus or not. 

“Does it suit me?” 

“Is it a necessary experience or can I do without it?”

“Will I really be able to cope with the language gap?”

“Will I be able to stay so long away from home?”

These are just some of the most common questions that grip the average college student, but let’s go in order.

Erasmus is definitely a unique and wonderful experience that so many students around the world look forward to but, on the other hand, it puts many others more insecure and fearful in crisis. Having doubts is normal and more than understandable, which is why we at In-Domus have chosen to list a series of pros and cons that will help you figure out if Erasmus is the right experience for you.

What are the benefits of Erasmus?

As mentioned above, Erasmus is a unique experience that so many students around the world remember with great pleasure and nostalgia. An important period of their life that inevitably brings benefits for future careers as well. 

Let’s find out in detail what are the main benefits of Erasmus.

1.1 Career opportunities

As just mentioned, Erasmus is an experience that will give your career a boost, that extra sprint that will surely help open many interesting doors. In fact, there are many companies that consider this path positive and very constructive. Reading on your resume the study abroad experience automatically implies the acquisition of many soft skills essential for the job such as, for example, the ability to adapt, the predisposition to teamwork, problem solving and flexibility; as well as hard skills such as the mastery of foreign languages.

1.2 Learning a new language

Learning a new language is perhaps one of the main reasons why students choose it. 

What better way, but more importantly a better opportunity, to delve into a language you are already studying at university or learn a new one that has always intrigued you? 

Living abroad you will be forced to express yourself every day in another language or, even better, in two! In fact, imagine that you want to learn German but can initially express yourself only in English. When you return home, you will not only have acquired knowledge of a new language, but you will have perfected your English as well!

1.3 Personal growth

Living far away from home, away from your loved ones, speaking a language that is not your own every day, facing everyday life, but especially difficulties alone without anyone’s help, inevitably involves significant personal growth. This is one of the most important and valuable benefits you will gain!

1.4 Getting to know new people and cultures

Last but not least, Erasmus is the perfect opportunity to get to know people from all over the world with cultures, languages and habits different from yours! Establishing deep and lasting relationships with people completely different from you opens your mind, makes you grow, and makes you feel in touch with the world!

2. What are the disadvantages of Erasmus?

Erasmus, like so many other experiences in life, has its risks and disadvantages. This does not mean that it is an experience to be discarded but that, depending on one’s person, it should be carefully evaluated. Let’s look at some of the most relevant and common ones.

2.1 Costs to be incurred

Not everyone is lucky enough to win a scholarship and leave (almost) at no cost. 

There are those who choose to seize the opportunity by relying only on their own finances or the support of their family’s finances, but the expenses are many, especially if one chooses to live in a foreign country whose cost of living is high.

2.2 Distance from home, friends and relatives

Distance is the most common terror! Being able to stay so many months away from home and family is definitely not easy. Still, there are those who do not want to leave their friends or those who are afraid to break up with their girlfriend or boyfriend because of the distance and time. It is crucial to approach this phase as something that will pass soon and become less difficult with time but, most importantly, as a personal challenge! 

2.3 Language difficulties

Another of the most common fears is definitely that of not being able to bridge the language gap. Thinking about having to speak another language every day scares many kids, especially the shyer ones. It will be difficult at first, but with time you will loosen up and become more confident while making it much less of an effort. You will see that it will become more and more natural and you will experience everything more carefree.

3. Erasmus alone or with company?

Some students choose to go as a couple in order to feel less lonely and to share the experience with their partner or friend and especially to feel more confident in dealing with critical issues. While this may seem advantageous, having a traveling companion beside you can bring some limitations to your personal growth. First of all, you will continue to speak your language on a daily basis, and this will diminish your foreign language learning progress as you make increasingly moderate use of it. Also, you will always have someone beside you to help you in times of difficulty. 

But how, wasn’t that an advantage? Sure, but if you think about it, this way you will never get out of your comfort zone, you will not overcome your fears and insecurities and you will always remain anchored to what makes you feel safe and comfortable, never exceeding your limits!

4. Conclusion

Each experience has its pros and cons and may vary with the individual. It is important not to be influenced by others but especially by your own insecurities. Jump in, get out of your comfort zone and try new experiences, even if they scare you. Don’t worry about distance or making yourself look bad if you get the language wrong. It’s part of your personal growth path that will teach you so much and leave a positive mark on your life. 

On the other hand, however, don’t feel obligated! Erasmus is not essential; don’t feel different or strange if you don’t feel the need to go. Don’t apply just because your family or friends pushed you to do it or simply because all your classmates are doing it. 

Erasmus should be a choice that comes from the heart, your dream, not someone else’s.

Here at In-Domus campuses, there are many foreign students from all over the world who have chosen to study in Italy through the Erasmus project. This has made our campuses international environments, where you can learn new languages and get to know many different cultures! 

And you, what plans do you have for your future?

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