While the Erasmus programme is a unique and exciting experience for all, things can be bit more complicated when your link with Europe is a bit more obscure. Let me explain: I was born and raised in Hong Kong to Indian parents and then moved to London for my degree, which includes studying abroad in Madrid for a year. So whenever small-talk leads to the classic “where are you from?” question, you can see how a short answer isn’t always easy. In fact, my study-abroad experience has so far been defined by many “let me explain” situations, ranging from immigration dilemmas to social problemas, beginning even before landing at Barajas.
By far the most popular type of accommodation in Barcelona is a flat share as it is a great opportunity to find cheap accommodation and to make friends with native Spanish or Catalan speakers.
The money I received from the Edith Baer grant made a huge difference on my year abroad. Year abroad can be a very expensive year for a student, and makes certain aspirations a financial challenge, such as traveling around your destination country, as opposed to staying in the one host university city/town. However this grant enabled me to do the things that I wanted to do and see the things and places I wanted to see.
There are a few peculiarities in the German university system that you will notice: at the end of classes the students knock on the desks, for example! The classes at Heidelberg start 15 minutes past the hour and finish 15 minutes before the time stated on your timetables, to allow staff and students to move between rooms.
Top ten things
1. The Schloss: Heidelberg feels like a mixture of Oxford, York and Durham: it’s a quaint town nestled between two hills on the river Neckar, and the Uni is the oldest in Germany. It’s therefore no wonder that it’s full of american and japanese tourists photographing the architecture. This beautiful castle ruin is where they go first. This icon of HD isn’t just for visitors – your climb is rewarded by a stunning panoramic view over the town, as far as the hills of the beautiful Pfalz wine region. The ‘Schlossbeleuchtungen’ spread out over three separate nights between June and September draw a huge crowd: the castle is specially lit up and fireworks shoot up from the castle on the hill and the ‘Altebrücke’ below, their reflection shimmering in the river.