The Erasmus Diaries #1: A New Chapter Beggins

Hello, my lovely readers!
Today I come to you from somewhere different, I am not in Portugal anymore! I have started a new adventure and came to England, to study abroad for a semester. I have talked about this before in my The Reader Diaries posts but never have I ever gone into detail about what I am doing and on how I actually got here.
Probably, the best way to start is to tell you that this opportunity arose from a European exchange programme called Erasmus+. This programme allows students from various European universities (inside the European Union) to study on other European institutions with no additional costs and, most times, with some monetary support from the EU. Since I study at the University of Lisbon and I am majoring in English Studies, I took the leap and applied to study in the University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom, for a full semester.
Resultado de imagem para University of Leeds
Resultado de imagem para erasmus + logo

The application process was very long and somewhat painful, at times even discouraging. There is a lot of paperwork to be filled out and, in my case, I had to find all of my module equivalences by myself, which included going through all of the available classes in my receiving institution and trying to make them fit in my study plan. Those equivalences have to be all written down in an official document, called the Learning Agreement (LA). My LA has had many shapes and sizes since I first filled it out. To be able to apply you also need to have good grades and have a recommendation letter from one of your teachers, as well as good Personal Statement. I am in England, which means that my application was accepted and, even though I still have some documents that I need to send to my university this week, the worst is done. 
After your acceptance, you are in charge of everything: your travel plans, your accommodation, your food, your study supplies... like I said, everything! If you have difficulties planning trips you should ask a more experienced traveller for help. Get cheap flights, check how things work in the country your travelling to, check if you need further vaccination or medicine (in my case I had to bring vitamin D pills) and if there is some immigration paperwork that you need to deal with.

I am very lucky, the University of Leeds has been great to work with, the staff is always nice and ready to help. They answered all of my (many many) emails and answered all of my (many many) questions, they still do. I was able to find university accommodation, which is really great! The arrivals team met me at the train station and arranged for transportation to my residence, which was one less thing to think about.
On the second day after arriving, I had already bought sheets, ordered some books for my literature classes and gotten my student ID card. The staff were always there to guide me and always ask if I need any guidance or help, or even if I need to talk to someone.

Leeds is a beautiful city! It is actually the third largest city in the United Kingdom and it mixes the typical red brick buildings with more modern looking ones, creating a unique landscape. I have already noticed that there is a big community of foreign students in this university and that they are very welcome by the locals and the university members.
There are many activities these first two weeks, even though classes only start on the 1st of October. Teachers have already contacted us and told us what we need to have ready for the first lectures and tutorials, which resulted in my recent reading frenzy. At the same time I have been enjoying the "freshers" events (even though I am certainly not one) and slowly working my way through my academic tasks and life tasks, such as laundry, cooking and food shopping in a foreign town.

I always forget to take pictures but my friend Beatriz has been so kind as to give me some of hers so I can embellish this blog post! You can find her on Instagram at @beatrizggomes, she takes very nice pictures (believe me, I would love to have her skill).

The days pass and the experiences vary, I will try to keep you updated as to what my adventures are. You can count on me using this experience as a source of content for this blog, you already know that I love academia and studying and believe this could be valuable information.
I leave you with a photo of the amazing latte I shared with Beatriz today at the Laidlaw Library!

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