How to overcome the Year Abroad Travelling Bug
The sad reality is that we’ll be in their situation in a year’s time. Which is all the more reason to completely ignore any future responsibilities and make the most of our year. Year abroad students suffer from a crippling syndrome known as YOHOYA-itis (You Only Have One Year Abroad, obviously), which makes us say yes to virtually every bizarre and unusual opportunity thrown at us, meaning it is the perfect opportunity to travel the world. Because the only travelling we’ll be doing next year will be to and from the library.
Travelling around Europe is much cheaper when you’re already in the mainland (even cheaper when your non-repayable Erasmus grant rolls in). This is your chance to see all the sights you’ve dreamed of but never got round to visiting. Buying an interrailling pass, which gives you the freedom to travel around many European countries, is always a popular and cost-effective way of travelling if you find yourself with a few weeks free. Perhaps you could send a tweet to @ThirdYearAbroad to see if any other year abroaders have any tips for visiting their new city, and you might even end up with a free tour guide. Get in touch with any friends who are also living abroad and arrange to meet up with them.
In my experience, people are always proud of their temporary home and eager to show you their favourite places, and it feels great to return the favour if they visit you. And don’t just limit yourself to Europe: the world is well and truly your oyster; for example, if you’re living in Spain, now’s your chance to hop on a surprisingly cheap flight to Morocco.
Ultimately, the only way to overcome the year abroad travelling bug is take a leap, jump on a train or hop on a plane and go travelling. I have certainly suffered from the bug myself: when I found myself with an unplanned three weeks off uni, I went interrailling and met up with Erasmus friends in the south of France, as well as making new friends along the way in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands; tomorrow I fly to Marrakech with a group of year abroad pals after recently returning from a skiing holiday in Andorra with them; the week after that I’m heading to Milan to stay with a friend who lived in Madrid in first semester. Travelling is cheap but fulfilling, and is only fuelled by the reminder that next year I won’t have the opportunities that I do now. And it’s a great way to instantly make those friends back at home, with their silly dissertations and exams, ridiculously jealous of your new, albeit temporary, jetsetter lifestyle.
About the author: Jack Kenny is studying Law at the University of Leeds, and is currently on his year abroad at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Check out Jack's blog for his latest update, and follow him on Twitter @JackKenny