This post was written by Giacomo Pellizzaro, the man behind The Erasmus Bible website. Do you want to know if it’s better to spend your Erasmus in a big or in a small city?
In this article you will find the pros and cons of both sides, so you can understand which one is perfect for you!
Let’s see it together!
1) The location first
Two years ago, when I was about to order my preferences for my Erasmus application, I was quite uncertain between two Spanish cities. Madrid didn’t need any introductions, while Alicante was a bit of unknown.
Nevertheless, when I realized the benefits of being on the coast, it didn’t really take much for Alicante to overtake the Spanish capital (which I love anyway).
Another aspect you should take into consideration, especially if you love traveling, is its position concerning other tourist attractions and how the city is served by low-cost airlines.
Tip n°1: Spend some time searching for little towns near your possible destinations. They could be lovely Sunday trips or weekend getaways!
Tip n°2: Check which are the cheapest destinations you can reach by plane once you’re there. (see also: How to find cheap flights)
2) A matter of season
Is it the same to go abroad in the fall semester or in the spring one? Unless you’re in Gran Canaria, this is an important matter.
In the first semester, as winter approaches, I recommend you to go to a big city since it offers many more indoor activities (free museums, sports events and cultural activities). However, in the second semester, it doesn’t really matter where you go but note that in small cities there are often beautiful traditional festivals during the Spring!
3) On Financial Issues
One of the worst mistakes you can do in your Erasmus is not doing certain activities because of the lack of money.
A semester is long (not to mention a whole year), so if you can’t afford to do splurge a little, go small and save up to 50% on accommodation, groceries and clubs. At the end you’ll have twice the fun you’d have in a big city.
4) The nightlife
One of the most important aspects of your Erasmus, maybe the most important 😛
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that a big city will surely offer you a better nightlife. Often, in smaller cities, there are cheaper bars and clubs and also very active student communities that will make the parties a lot of fun.
What about pre-parties then?
In small cities, Erasmus students live very close to each other, so it’s easier to join one of the many house parties you will be invited at. Remember that these do not only happen in the weekends but also during the week! 😛
It’s also easier to find a room near the party area, so you don’t need to wait for a night bus to take you home at 5 in the morning!
5) Local vs. Erasmus friendships
In a small city you’ll know many other Erasmus students in the first week. I think this is great, but if you’d like to know more locals, you will for sure have to make a bigger effort than in a big city!
Tip n°3: Study with the locals, party with the Erasmus!
6) Your flatmates
In a small city it is easy to find flats where only exchange students live. Nonetheless, in a big city it might happen that you have to share a flat with young adults who already work. This is good as this will enable to you to study in a quiet and comforting area but, as you can imagine, this is not the best situation to throw a party on Wednesday night!
It’s all about the people
As you’ve seen, there are many pros and cons in each side but, at the end, there’s only one thing you should never forget: it’s all about the people you are going to meet. Really.
When, in two years’ time, you receive texts from your Erasmus friends everyday, you’ll realize you lived it the right way!
What do you think is the best choice for you?
I tried to be honest and fair in this article. I have a lot of friends that definitely prefer to live in a European capital, otherwise, as they say, they would get bored without having to choose what different activity to do everyday. In my opinion a small city is a bit better for such an experience.
But, again, it’s my personal opinion. Now I’d love to know yours! Please do so by leaving a comment below 😉
Thanks for reading this post! We hope to see you soon, coming back for more.
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