Experience on Erasmus – Orientation

The first three weeks on Erasmus were spent taking part in an orientation program. What this program involved was morning German classes, important form filling and a chance to get to know your fellow year abroad students. So from 29th September until 21st October, I took part in the orientation program in order to get me ready to actually start studying in Trier. 

Admittedly, at first, I wasn’t very impressed with the orientation program. If there is one thing that I have inherited from my father, it’s impatience! To be honest, I just wanted to get started on my course right now! 

Posing for a selfie on a trip to Bonn. Credit: Eidhne Gallagher

But, looking back over those first three weeks, I realise now why I put myself through the orientation. It was to help me see my level of German, enable me to fill out the last of the ‘necessary’ documents and getting to know other students who were in the same boat as me, so to speak. In a way, I was lucky. I mean, imagine if you arrived in your college after any orientation program has finished. When all the forms have been filled, all the classes have been taken and everyone has mixed in with everyone else. To be the new student arriving after everyone has gotten to know everyone…, it’s extremely, extremely difficult.

So I am glad that I took part in the orientation after everything. I got to know many amazing people in the last three weeks and I would meet a lot more when I would finally begin my course.

Besides, it wasn’t all completely about learning German and filling out forms. On 8th and 15th October, day trips were organized to Bonn and Cochem respectively. As I was determined to make the most of my year abroad, I immediately signed up for those two day trips.

8th October was the trip to Bonn. This day trip featured a trip to the ‘Haus der Geschichte’, an amazing museum that covered the history of Germany. After that, we were allowed some free time – or as they say in Germany, ‘FreiZeit!’ – to have a look around and do what we want. After a big of lunch with some friends, we have a brief look around the place. Some had wanted to visit the museum dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, but unfortunately our time was restricted. One thing that I will say is that people are very punctual in Germany. The students involved said that if we weren’t back on the bus by five o’clock, they would leave without us!

15th October was the day everyone headed to Cochem. For this trip, there would be a visit to Reichsburg and a wine-tasting experience. 

I have to say that Reichsburg was absolutely beautiful. The scenery was breath-taking and just stunning. The castle was beautiful and the village itself was…I think I’d better stop rambling now! 

The beautiful castle in Cochem. Credit: Eidhne Gallagher

But in all seriousness, I really enjoyed visiting Cochem and I plan to definitely return. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was the wine-tasting. I’m not much of a wine drinker, I prefer a good vodka with a hint of coke! Or a Sex on the Beach, I’m not fussed!

One thing that I definitely planed to do over this year is travel. I would end up visiting eleven places in total throughout my Erasmus, a feat I was certainly proud of.

But back then, I wasn’t thinking about that, My main focus was finishing my orientation and finally beginning my course.

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