Six Important Facts to Know for Your First Erasmus+ or Turing Mobility in a Big City
If you’re thinking about undertaking an Erasmus+ or Turing mobility, not only will it broaden your professional horizons but also offers great opportunity for your own personal development. Not only will you be experiencing an exciting work environment but you’ll also be on your own in a new city (sometimes for the very first time!). We often hear that it will be students’ first ever time living and working in a big city. If that sounds like you and you’re visiting a big city for the first time, there might be some surprises, especially if you come from the countryside. You’ll discover lots of new, exciting things like attractions, shops, food trends, etc. The following article will give you an overview of six important factors to consider before visiting a major city for the first time. You can also read our Top 10 Erasmus+- Destinations piece if you want to get more of an idea of our most popular Erasmus+ destinations. If you’ve just heard the word Erasmus+ for the first time, you might want to check out our article Erasmus+ In General. If you are interested in Erasmus+ and you want to learn more about it, see our Guide For Erasmus+- Application read ourHandbook for Erasmus+ Project Management & Execution.
Lots of Noise!
Once you arrive at your Erasmus+ or Turing destination you will soon realise that a big city is rather noisy, especially during daytime as the streets are crowded. Perhaps even on your first night there, you’ll be surprised that even at night-time there’s still a lot of noise due to the continuous road and air traffic, as well as night-owls strolling around the city. Luckily, you’ll soon get used to those noises!
During your Erasmus+ or Turing stay, you might live in an apartment on your own which means that you are in charge of providing yourself with groceries. However, in bigger cities it is very usual to have supermarkets open 24/7. So you don’t need to panic if you come home from work and still need to go shopping. That first visit to a supermarket at night-time might seem weird but enjoy the silence, when there are only a few people shopping (hopefully 😉).
It might feel strange and impersonal when going to a bakery with self-service. However, if you miss that personal service when ordering your rolls, you should look for a smaller bakery that offers a more personalised service.
There will be so much to discover due to the variety of shops so you won’t get bored during your stay. Your Erasmus+ or Turing movement offers you more than just a professional experience!
Finding your way through a big city is not always easy, especially if it is your first visit. Even though getting lost isn’t anyone’s intention, look at it positively because it offers you the possibility of discovering something new. This is how the best memories are made; you might find beautiful spots you wouldn’t have found out about otherwise! If you try to avoid getting lost, consider using a roadmap (either on your smartphone or try a printed version).
Food connects people so a substantial part of your Erasmus+ or Turing experience will be to try new, local food. No doubt, you will soon learn that there is a great variety of food when it comes to different kinds of restaurants. You might choose a restaurant where there might be meals on the menu that you are not familiar with. Ask the waiter for advice and get a recommendation. Big cities usually offer a number of national and international cuisines too so there’s lots of choice. Additionally, most menus offer a huge variety of food, lots of allergy advice too and all of it is rather impressive but can sometimes confuse your choice! Be adventurous – it’s a good way to learn what you like and don’t like!
While we organise your Erasmus+ accommodation close to your Erasmus+ placement, sometimes you need to take public transport to get work. We advise you to research beforehand the different ticket options available for public transport. There are usually different options. You can choose between single or multi-day tickets and even monthly passes, which are usually cheaper than single or multi-trip tickets. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding!
You don’t need to panic if you miss a bus or train when in a big city because the next one will not be far behind. Also, sometimes there are several routes that take you to your destination.
Even though you might be used to to walking or driving a car you should consider using public transport in the city. It’s usually quicker and as a first-timer in a city you probably don’t know if a walking or driving route takes you through an unsafe area or along a busy road.
If you need to get home after a night out, you can, besides walking home, either call a cab or take the night bus available in big cities. These usually run from major tourist attractions and nightlife districts and cover many areas to bring people home safely at night-time. Please note that the night buses might not follow the exact route as day buses!
Taking a cab is also recommended – you get to experience the chaotic traffic including a live lesson on regional swearwords 😉.
Finally, you could make use of the bike rental stations offered in almost every big city. The bikes can be picked up and returned to several public areas throughout a city.
If you come from a rural area you are probably used to knowing everybody by name, whereas when you start your Erasmus+ or Turing mobility in a big city, you will learn that people prefer to be anonymous. Don’t be surprised if your greeting is not returned. Unfortunately you need to get used to this. However, there are still lots of people that appreciate a friendly greeting, especially the older generation.