You’ve probably been sent- or at least been threatened- to the Gaeltacht at some stage in your post primary language career. Did you know that French summer colleges exist in Ireland too? Just in case hinting about a family trip to Nice isn’t working out…
The terms “Erasmus” or “year abroad” have various associations. There’s the idea that your only real involvement in the culture is by socialising in the town, yet there are also the terrifying tales (often recited by your lecturers…) about those mysterious students who somehow failed all of their exams and ultimately were left without the elusive “international” degree certificate.
C’est normal. One moment you’re revelling in your new found ” exotic traveller” status, wearing a beret and Googling permanent residency in France. The next moment…it’s all fallen a bit flat. The fifty baguettes that you’ve just eaten are lying uneasily in your stomach, and suddenly the Aer Lingus seat sale home seems tempting…
“Why are you going to France? It’s so dangerous- it’s asking for trouble going there. I know I’ll never go. You’re foolish.”
The CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales) is a godsend for Erasmus/ Year Abroad students. Provided that you meet the criteria for obtaining CAF (which you more than likely will), the magical CAF payment will reimburse around 30% of your rent prices. The stress of applying for the CAF risks knocking years off your life expectancy however- so I’m here as a survivor of the CAF application process to help.
Je sais, je sais. You didn’t move to France to take up a sport you retired from at the age of twelve. You didn’t even plan to have any free time between becoming a master macaron chef and getting wooed by French romantics. Indeed, I found myself reflecting on these very thoughts as I sat in a Irish bar watching a Gaa match in the hope that I would pick up some skills for my own impending GAA match in Paris the week after.
Opening a French bank account? Here’s how.
Exercise may be necessary when in Lyon- those crepes and cheese come at a calorific price! I only wish somebody had told me this when I actually lived in the city… I still have the added “fluff” as a bittersweet souvenir of my glorious time spent there.
I’m somewhat of an expert on this topic. I treated the majority of the Erasmus year like a holiday, and on holiday, we eat out- right?