○ STEP 1 > choose the right place to go to

The first thing is to think through in your head what do you look for when it comes to your Erasmus experience. If you are looking forward to studying at one of the top universities in Europe for a bit then definitely check the ratings of the schools offered by your home university. Some people are tight on money and really want to make most of the Erasmus scholarship, then the best choice is to go to countries such as Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Poland. If you are a party person Bulgaria, Romania or the southern states are the best options for you. You should also consider the subjects the universities offer and whether they are similar to what you are studying at home so that your university can approve at least a few of your subjects. If it is really popular to go on an Erasmus then also think about the less desirable places to have bigger chance of actually setting off.

○ STEP 2 > apply

Each university has a different way of how to apply, but generally, you should first apply at your home institution and when they approve - go to the website of your dream university and find out how their application process works. If you want to earn some extra points during this process then you should definitely obtain some kind of language certificate (at least FCE) and join the 'buddy team' at your home university.

○ STEP 3 > paperwork

When you are accepted by both universities only the paperwork remains. Learning agreement is the biggest and hardest part when you need to find subjects from your home university for the next semester or a year and find something similar at your dream school abroad. Truth be told, you should fill in the 'before mobility' part, but you will definitely change it and will have to send home the 'during mobility' part as well. It happens every time. Some subjects change, or the university won't open them or they are in the end not available to exchange students. Be prepared for a lot (like a ton) of paperwork and try to keep up with all the deadlines to the dot.

○ STEP 4 > accomodation

Before you go you should definitely find a place to stay. Everyone values their privacy and wants their own room or even their own apartment but Erasmus is a completely different world from real life. It is best to find a dormitory that is cheap, available of course and has tons of roommates because that is how you'll make friends. Don't be afraid to share a room with somebody as this will help you with your homesickness and loneliness a lot. Find your accommodation as soon as possible as they are hard to find in the university cities and on campuses.

○ STEP 5 > what to pack

For your first longer stay abroad it is best to try a country not too far away so that your parents or friends can take you there by car and you can pack all the essentials. Find out what your apartment or a dormitory provides (mainly kitchen stuff - does it have a kettle, a microwave, plates, cups, pans... and also blankets and pillows or how much they cost if not, is there a washing machine, dryer, copy machine nearby and so on). Not all rentable properties are furnished so be careful about that. The best thing to pack is an extension cord, bag for groceries, reusable water bottle, plastic boxes to store food in, sturdy bag for dirty clothes that you can move around easily and a colour-coordinated wardrobe to make washing easier. (I mostly wear blacks and darks for 2 weeks and light clothes for 2 weeks and I don't pack anything colourful.)

○ STEP 6 > find friends

There are many FB or WhatsApp groups created for your university abroad so join them all and you'll have access to the information you wouldn't normally get. Don't be afraid to contact other Erasmus students before you go, you will be feeling much better knowing you know at least one person at your final destination and they will be glad as well.