My free time in Cy Cergy Paris Universite
CY Cergy University is located near a large shopping centre called "les 3 Fontaines", where you can go shooping and do activities such as bowling or going to the cinema. It has just been rebuilt and is even more modern than before, with a large restaurant and fast food area.
In the city centre, next to the RER A station, there is the François Mitterand park where you can eat on the grass and rest before going back to study.
The Cerclades library, which is located just above the RER A station (without the noise that this implies), has been my favourite place to study and has a huge amount of books.
If you have more time to walk around or go out in the open air, there is the Cergy leisure centre which is a 20 !minute bus ride from the city centre. This leisure centre is amazing as it offers many activities throughout the year surrounding many connected lakes, which surround an arm of the Oise. You can swim on one of the artificial beaches and go on the big slides, do accrobranche, water skiing, archery, fishing, rafting and many other things. And, of course, a little barbecue with friends.
The main axis is a large park that starts at Cergy le haut and goes down to the leisure centre. For sportsmen it is really ideal.
A little further on, a large skating centre has recently opened and people are increasingly going to see hockey matches of the local team: the Jokers.
If you want to go out in the evening, I recommend Port-Cergy, it's a harbour on the banks of the oise where you can relax on the terrace with your friends.
This year really made me more independent and gave me the curiosity to travel and discover things by myself !
During my year in Granada, I travelled several times. I was able to visit on weekends or holidays the whole of Andalusia, the biggest cities like Seville, Cordoba, Malaga, Cadiz, Jaen, but also beautiful places in the nature, villages, Ronda, Setenil de las bodegas, lost beaches, Cabo de Gata, the Sierra mountains, Gibraltar, Tarifa and the coast next to it, the olive fields, the caminito del Rey, etc!
I also discovered that I like to travel alone. I went to Madrid for a few days, by "blablacar" it's not that far or expensive. I also visited the centre of the country, Toledo. I also went to the Canary Islands with a friend I met during my trip to Madrid.
And I took the opportunity to go alone with my backpack to tour Portugal during the Easter holidays.
This year really made me more independent and gave me the curiosity to travel and discover things by myself!
During my free time in Granada, I did many different things.
I was lucky enough to stay for almost a year (11 months), so I was able to discover the region (and the country) when the weather was good (or even very good !!) but also when it was cold in winter. Yes, Granada is located very close to the Sierra Nevada mountains, at about 800m above sea level...
So I did a lot of hiking (accessible by bus or we sometimes rented a car with friends): there are great places to run and/or walk with beautiful landscapes, in summer and winter.
I was also lucky enough to arrive the year the ESN section was organising a lot of open mic in a night club. We were a whole group (the "erasmusicians") of international and Spanish people playing music ! It was really nice ! We rehearsed in parks, in a music studio, but also outside the city, at the Mirador San Miguel Alto (for me, the best viewpoint in the city where I spent a lot of time admiring, relaxing...), by the sea, etc.
I also went to the sports sessions that the university offers (tennis, football, dance, and many others), I recommend ! Because you meet local students who are not necessarily close to the international world and so you meet different people and you can learn more about the local culture :) Because my goal was really to integrate myself as much as possible in the local life !
Sport as a student in Munich
Zentraler Hochschulsport München (ZHS), the University Sports Center, offers student in Munich to practice sport for cheap prices. At the beginning of the semester, you can purchase a basic ticket (10€) on their website that permits you to register for a wide variety of sport. Some sport may require additional fees. The first semester, I registered to the swimming pool. Therefore, in the week-end I could swim in the Munich Olympic swimming pool. The second semester I registered for a traditional dance course and an orienteering course. Courses are in German but a lot of exchange students take part in it. It is a lot of fun ! In the winter you can register for ski lessons and in summer for sailing lessons ! Tip : Find your perfect sport for next semester on https://www.zhs-muenchen.de/zhs/startseite/. Be fast to register once registration opens as spots are limited and are usually gone in a few minutes !
My free time in Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
At the beginning of your mobility, the university will let you choose your courses. You have a lot of choices: I was in 3rd year and I could choose courses from 2nd, 3rd, 4th year. Register for classes as soon as possible !!!
1) You will have more choices
2) You will have the possibility to gather your courses on 3 or 4 days to have a long week-end
3) You'll able to choose course only in the morning so you can work in the afternoon if you want.
During my 5 months stay in Athens I could easily travel around Greece. Both with organized tour by ESN local sections and autonomously. I can say that national trasports by busses are easy and cheap for students (50% off). If you want to reach the most famous archaeological sites, such as Delphi, Olimpia and Cape Sounion you can go there with KTEL company. I also took once the train to Corinth, it is just one our trip. To reach the islands you have the Pireus port (jus 8km from the center of Athens) that takes you everywhere, and, again with 50% off if you are a student.
Of course! I didn't have a very busy schedule at university, and there are several organisations that run discounted trips for international students. During my 5 months in Granada, I took the opportunity to visit Malaga, Sevilla (during "las ferias"), Valencia (during "las fallas"), Murcia, Alicante and Cordoba. I preferred Cordoba and Sevilla, they are cities with incredible architecture, history and culture. I went to the Canary Islands too, to Gran Canaria and Tenerife, the landscapes are beautiful and I have great memories. But Granada will always remain number 1 in my heart, I will never get tired of the charm of its Alhambra.
I have also travelled outside of Spain, to Portugal: to Lisbon and the Algavre region. During the school holidays I had there, I didn't go back to France but I took the opportunity to visit Morocco (Fez and the desert of Merzouga). The culture is so different from Europe that there are no words to describe this trip as it was so rich for me!
I came back from my trip full of memories, with lots of images of beautiful landscapes.
My free time at the Universite du Mans
As a young student full of life, I'd decided to enjoy my time at the University of le Mans by going out and meet new people. Not only did I do this by volunteering at ESN Le Mans (Erasmus Student Network) - helping international students, planning activities, meeting people from all over the world - but I also had some time to practice different sports at the SUAPS. Located on the campus with truly accessible prices for students, you can try and enjoy sports you would never do usually, with people with the same mindset and just have fun sweating !
The best moments of my weekends in Universitat Linz
In a way, Austria is located in the centre of Europe.
During weekends, I was either going to other places in Austria or abroad.
Regarding the places in Austria:
- I have been to Salzburg and Innsbruck which are very nice cities in the Alps
- I have been multiple times to Vienna, which is an amazing city (lovely castles, parks, cultural facilities…)
- I have visited a lot of cities with beautiful lakes (Gmunden, Hallstatt…)
I have also been to the neighbouring countries including:
- Germany (Munich)
- Hungary (Budapest)
- Croatia (Zagreb and Split)
I still have to visit Czech Republic, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, and the eastern of Switzerland as well as South Tyrol in Italy.
For sure, you will have a lot of things to visit: nature, big cultural cities, opportunities to party…
How much living in the Netherlands costs and how to save some money
If you’re planning to go on exchange in the Netherlands here are a few things you need to know regarding your finances: - accommodation costs on average between 500 to 600€ per month - since life is pretty expensive you might need around 1000€ per month considering rent, food and leisure activities - public transports, in Rotterdam, cost a fortune if you don’t have a personal OV chipkaart (which I’d advise you to get, to have discounts also on NS trains to travel across the country). To get one you need a Dutch bank account, which is going to make life a lot easier once you are in the Netherlands since some place (including supermarkets like Albert Heijn) do not accept Visa or Mastercards but only Maestro cards. If you get a Dutch bank account you can easily pay online through iDeal, widely spread and secure online payment method in the Netherlands. - to visit museums and save money buy a Museum Kaart as soon as you arrive! It costs 64,90€, is valid for one year since the first use and with it you can visit more than 400 museums, art exhibitions and historical places across the country (even the most famous ones like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank house). Average cost to visit a museum (without the card): 10 to 15€.
What to do after school classes?
The Université de Lorraine has an extremely good sports programme for every student in Nancy! Its name is SUAPS. It consists in paying 10 EUR (maybe more expensive nowadays) per year to have access to a lot of sports classes such as volleyball, basketball, football, tennis, swimming, martial arts and even circus jugglery. Normally, every Thursday at afternoon students don't have any classes so they can practice a sport or do some physical activity in any sports centre in the city thanks to this programme!
Living in Nancy is super interesting because it's a small city with several enjoyable places! Among the main touristic spots you can find the Place Stanislas, which is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe! In the square you can find nice restaurants, clubs, tobacco shops, the City hall and the Lorraine's opera. The Place Stanislas is located at the city centre and can be reached by biking, walking, numerous buses and the tramway.
Discovering a new activity
As soon as I arrived in Liège for my Erasmus, thanks to my new Italian friend, who was very motivated to do sport, I joined a local gym very convenient for students called Jims. Besides being my very first experience in a gym (I had always done group sports before), I discovered very varied and stimulating activities. Among them I found an exceptional class that could motivate me even to wake up early on Sunday mornings: Body Combat. This high-intensity fitness class, choreographed and based on the movements of martial arts and other combat sports, exercises all the major muscle groups and was a real way for me to let off steam and release any tension accumulated during the day. I didn't think I could create such a systematic routine and feel part of a group in a short time. Thanks to this new discovery, today I continue to practice this activity in other cities and places I go to.