Following one of most unexpected referendum results in the UK on 23rd June 2016, I was one of the many disappointed youngsters who felt like her future had been decided for her. Either way this wasn’t going to stop me from doing my Erasmus. It wasn’t easy following the result and although nothing had yet taken place as such it still had an effect. So for all of you that are moving abroad, you can read all about my struggles and how to get around them.
Money: terrible exchange rate
Money was really the height of my struggle.
The pound dipped dramatically throughout the year. When you’re converting your student loan into 100s of euros every month just to survive, you end up paying more bit by bit to receive the same. You end up being the one that gets the brunt of it.
TIP: Set up a bank account in the country if you can. With a bank account you can use transfer sites where you are guaranteed to get a better rate than using your British bank card. I’m a big fan of Transferwise personally. This will also be great for any part-time work you can get alongside studying.
If you’re only there for a short stay or a semester, why not use a currency card? You can compare them online to see which has the steadiest and most reliable rates.
Accommodation: another money related struggle
At the time of choosing my accommodation, I went out in the summer. I ended up paying a fortune for flights and accommodation whilst looking for accommodation. I also ended up settling for a fabulous room, that I could no longer afford come January, forcing me to move. Let’s be honest…
TIP: Don’t pick something that you can only just afford, especially if you are relying on converting pounds to pay it and not euros. If you want a quick easy fix and to avoid spending money of increasingly expensive flights and hotels, check out the great selection at Spotahome.
During my year abroad, the shock was all still very fresh. All my friends, roommates and their friends wanted to know about it, what I did, what I thought. For me, it got a bit tiring but the less attention I give it, the more I could escape it and enjoy being away from the daily stresses at home.
TIP: If you don't want to talk about it, don’t bring it up. But, if someone mentions it, don’t run away from it or get heated. It’ll just bring more attention and stress you out more.
Receiving the news
Being away from home and receiving all the news from foreign people is a weird experience. It’s also sometimes a bit frustrating because no one apart from your other British friends can share your frustration.
TIP: Sign up for Travel updates on the GOV.UK website for your relevant country if you don't want to be blissfully ignorant like me. All you have to do is find the relevant country and select ‘get email alerts’. You’ll receive emails on any political moves or change in activity that will affect your residency.
The unclear future
If you’re anything like me, you won’t be done with your host country when it comes to going home. The uncertainty of how easy it will be to come back and work is a nail biting reminder of it all.
TIP: If you can, get all your documentation now. When I was in Spain I registered for my NIE (Foreign Identification Number) just in case. For more information on how to do this visit the Spotahome guide.
Were you living abroad when the Brexit results were announced? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments.
You may also like:
Why You Should Live Abroad at Least Once
Moving Abroad: How To Settle In
FREE Essential Apps for Living Abroad
Studying Abroad: Costs and What You Need to Know
What's The Cost of Living Like in Europe?
Housing for Students at EAE Madrid