Sunday, 12 June 2016

8 Top Tips for Students Moving Abroad

Hey guys,

So it's been two weeks since I moved out here and wow...what a two weeks it has been! It was a pretty scary concept moving country but its been the best thing for me. If someone said to me a year ago you will be living in Spain, I would have laughed as I didn't see myself as the person to just drop everything and move but I'm so glad I did!

I feel that the real me is finally out in force all thanks to this opportunity. So I moved out here to do an Internship in Online Marketing in the Tourism Industry and its the one thing I have always wanted to do and I am learning so much! I feel so comfortable out here that it makes me wonder why I was ever worried! So if any of you other students out there are worried about what its like moving country here are a few lessons I've learnt in order to get the most out of this experience!

1. Get to Know the Area

When I first moved to Barcelona my intention was to get used to the metro but my lovely mother convinced me to walk literally about 6 miles a day (I have a lot of blisters). But it was worth it as we saw lots of little streets and different areas of Barcelona that we wouldn't have seen on the metro! (the metro is the easiest thing to work out). But you've got to plan where you want to go...

#  Get a map (I looked really touristy but it was handy)
# Make a list of places you want to go
# Wear comfortable shoes!
#Take pictures
# Remember places you want to visit

2. Join a Social/Facebook Group

Barcelona was the chance for me to make the most of the last 6 months of 2016 and make sure I have reason to celebrate 2016. I wanted to meet tons of people and make loads of friends and I have already been amazed with how many people I have met! All from at least 6 countries! I liked a Facebook Page called Erasmus Barcelona 2016/2017 and their main page is 2015/2016 and they have ltos of events on from trips to public holiday get togethers! So far me and my amazing friend Rikke who I met through Housing Barcelona Facebook Page first went to their event on Sunday at Vila Olimpica Beach for a meet up and met so many people! We then caught up with the same group at another event at a nightclub called Shoko (amazing) and met even more people! I honestly have not felt more comfortable ever! It's made it so much easier to meet people and make the most out of what Barcelona has to offer!

# Don't be afraid to ask questions
# Say yes, yes and yes to going out
# Take pictures
# Have fun

3. Make sure you find local shops

Luckily where I live it is very close to town and there are lots of local and small businesses where you can find pretty much anything! It's taken me a while to figure out what shops are on what street, I know where they are just not the roads! Barcelona is basically like lots of squares and there are so many roads and everything looks the same so I have gotten lost a few times! Google Maps or a Map App on your phone is great for finding places like Supermarkets, Pharmacies, Doctors, Dentists etc... then you can walk about to find it.

# make a list of places to find
# google map it to preview
# take a walk around and list the road name

4. Learn Basic Language

It may not be the most important as English is commonly spoken and although I have been learning Spanish for the past 10 years I feel that it's important to know Spanish and Catalan as I feel its respectful to the locals. I've been offered the chance to live here and I want to respect that by learning the language especially when it's not during the busy tourist periods.

# get a dictionary or...
# google translate or...
# Memrise (amazing vocabulary site)
# Make a list of important vocab
# make notes

5. Know your Phone Contract Details

Luckily on my last upgrade for my phone I agreed to get a global plan where my calls and texts over here are included. But with data I use social media a lot to communicate with friends and use my apps. The first week I used data a lot and there was a deal where if I use data it will only cost me 3 Euros a day.. seems good for a holiday but not long term. So I decided to turn off my mobile data during the weekdays as I am at work all day then I am home and/or If I am out I will use the companies free wifi so there is no point using my mobile data. But turn my data on at the weekends when I am out. Its made it much easier for me to budget, even though financially its fine I don't want to waste money on data when I can use Wifi.

# Go through your contract
# Call your company
# Find offers for going abroad
# Make a plan

6. Experience the Local Culture

I've been on holiday (Ayia Napa) and gone to typical Irish and British Pubs that sell typical British food which was perfect for that holiday as when I was very very tired (hungover) I only wanted a fry up and food that I was used to. But being here I wanted to try and eat different foods as it's important for me to respect the country I live in. I went to Granada (southern Spain) 3 years ago and was in a host flat for a week and the food given to me was amazing so I couldn't wait to try the food here. I love Tapas and it was perfect for me to try new foods as they are small portions. You might even be surprised by what you find! When my mum was here for a week before she left we went to a Tapas bar and my mum ordered Spicy Tuna Salad (mums gluten free so gave me all the bread) and I've always hated all and any type of seafood especially tuna. Somehow this Spicy Tuna Salad was amazing and I had to finish it, now anytime I go out I try something new and always love it! The vibe over here is just different!

# Try something new
# Don't be afraid to ask about a dish
# Experiment
# Take Photos (can try and make it at home)

7. Find Public Transport

Being a small town girl I am used to bus's or you walk as there is no metro/tube and the only time I did go on the tube I hated it! Not the tube itself but getting there...the escalators I have a massive fear of heights and falling and I suffered from massive Vertigo on the escalator. Normal escalator lengths I can deal with but if anyone knows the tube in London you know the escalators in the tube are ridiculous, they are long, steep and enclosed and FAST! Luckily the metro here is lush, no horrible escalators and its so easy to find information on the metro. The first time I got it there were strikes so it was very busy but fine and now I'm like a local on the tube I don't look at maps anymore on it!

# Take a list of possible routes
# Find places you need to get to
# Find the cheapest/safest option
# Don't be afraid to ask for advice

8. Get to know Safe Places

Yes, moving abroad has been the best and the most exciting thing for me but like England there will be places that aren't known for being well... safe. Especially over here when there are places that offer cheap drinks but looks like it's in a rough area and especially when I do not look Spanish at all its always on my mind that I am the most vulnerable looking as I'm not a local but as I speak Spanish I feel better. When I go out I make sure that I only go to places that I feel comfortable and is full of people.

# Ask local advice
# Research the places
# Be aware but don't let it be a hinder

Most of all have a great time. Its been the best thing for me moving country and I don't even want to think about leaving! Although I have 10 months to think about it I am already planning to work abroad next summer because already I have learned so much!

It's life changing!

Mol xo


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