GUEST AUTHOR: Roma Sondhi, Spotahome Student Ambassador

As a student that has been on Erasmus, I can tell you that going on Erasmus is such an amazing experience and will create so many memories and friends for life. It is a chance to explore and develop and grow personally. Erasmus has opened my eyes and has definitely had a positive impact on my life. However, before you start your Erasmus journey, there are a few useful tips that can help make your experience a little smoother at the start.

Preparation is key!

Accommodation

The accommodation search can be stressful but here are a few tips to avoid the unnecessary stress! I can not recommend using Spotahome enough! It is often hard to travel to the country before you start Erasmus, and therefore this makes finding your accommodation even more difficult. Spotahome has over 40,000 properties and rooms in 36 cities all across Europe. There is plenty to choose from! Moreover, these properties have been validated by homecheckers that ensure that your next home is perfect for you. From professional photos to floor plans and even to videos of the property, you can be sure to trust Spotahome. For more information, visit our website: www.spotahome.com

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Spotahome would like to help you tick accomodation of your checklist as soon as possible by offering you a 15% discount on the fee if you book before the 15th of September 2018. All you need to d0 is enter the code: ERASMUSCHECKLIST (valid until the 1st of September 2018)

Stay connected! – Mobile phones

If you want to use your current phone abroad, make sure you check with you network provider first to ensure you know about any additional costs that could affect you. In some cases, there are no additional roaming costs and you can even use your texts and minutes as you would in your home country. For a full list of countries that this applies for, contact you network provider or find out more on their website.

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If you are looking to buy a good quality phone for a great price whilst you are out on your Erasmus experience, we recommend using Forallphones Not only is it affordable and reliable, but you can also choose the quality of your new phone! This can range from as good as new to minimal marks to usage marks shown. You can even trade your old phone in to save even more money. For more information, visit forallphones.com.

Sim cards

Buying a sim card can be quick and easy. The quickest way is to visit the network’s store in person. Make sure you take your passport and any useful documents with you. There are normally a range of options for both pay-as-you-go and contract. Once you have set it up in store, you can use it instantly! Stay connected!

Money, money, money

Whilst you are on Erasmus, it is important to be in full control of your money for a stress-free experience. Banking is an important part of this and there are a number of different options to choose from.

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1. Using your home country bank cards

Before you go abroad, make sure your bank knows that you will be using your card oversees as without doing this, they may block your card for security reasons. When you withdraw or pay using this card you’ll be paying a fee each time, and this can get expensive. Also, you will incur fees when transferring money to foreign accounts, e.g. if you need to pay a landlord. This fee varies and is dependent on the bank account.

2. Our recommended option: N26 bank account

Opening a bank account has never been so easy with N26! It is free and easy to set up. There is even an app, so you can check your balance wherever you go! There are no charges on foreign transactions and you can enable or disable foreign payments on your phone – leaving you in full control! You can make international transfers in 19 different currencies using TransferWise – ensuring you get the best exchange rate. You can even set payment and withdrawal limits, so you are in control of your spending and budgeting. Visit N26 for more information.

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3. Open a foreign bank

If you have a work contract, your company may suggest opening a foreign bank account. For students, this may also be an option. In order to open a bank account, you might be asked to pay an upfront fee. This is a longer process and it will require specific documents However, once you do set this up, it can be easier and cheaper to use than it would if you were using your home country bank account. Before doing this, make sure to check any terms and conditions carefully so you don’t incur any unexpected costs.

Erasmus Funding

In order to get Erasmus funding, several forms have to be filled out and completed by certain deadlines. This extra funding can help you pay towards accommodation and daily living costs, so it is very useful to have whilst you are abroad. For a list of documents and deadlines for all forms and funding, your university may have a web page set up with all the information or you can visit the Erasmus website.

Insurance

Taking out travel insurance to cover your time abroad is essential! Your university may have a specific insurance that covers this, and this may be cheaper than other insurance providers. Also, when you have secured your accommodation, you might want to take out insurance for your new room and possessions in your room. European Health Insurance Cards are also very important! EHIC’s will be used if you need to see a doctor or register at the doctors, so it is vital you take this with you.

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I hope that these tips have helped you get organised for your new adventure on Erasmus.

I hope that you have an unforgettable, amazing experience just like I did!

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