I spent my Erasmus year in Strasbourg and it was probably the worst year of my life. I had made so many decisions about university on the basis that I wanted to do an Erasmus year and then it turned out to be a massive disappointment.
I know that this was at least partially my fault as I should have tried harder to make friends with people and get to know the other people from my college who were in Strasbourg but the college was not very helpful and I was one of very few Erasmus students in my faculty. Nothing ever seemed to go according to plan and I always had to jump through hoops to achieve the simplest things. I never managed to figure out my classes properly and I ended up completely failing the year. Furthermore I don’t think I improved my French a great deal either.
Erasmus is definitely a worthwhile experience but there can be a lot of pitfalls to look out for and the reality can differ greatly from any expectations you might have. Like one of the people in this article I spent most of my time in my room watching TV series and I became so depressed that at one point when I came home on a break I went to see a counsellor. Things improved a lot when I got back but I haven’t really felt right since that year.
In order to make the most of Erasmus you need money. I had lots of plans to travel but was constantly constrained as I was relying on my parents who were supporting two other children in college. Getting a job for the summer before you go and saving for the year is a must.