How my time on Erasmus made me feel more independent

By Anna Henderson

A mandatory part of BA New Media and English is the opportunity to study abroad for a semester/academic year in another university under Erasmus +. Erasmus is an EU funded programme that allows 200,000 students study abroad every year. UL is one of over 240 European Universities in the Erasmus network and hundreds of UL students every year take part in this programme.

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I was initially very nervous about the whole Erasmus experience. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to study or if I would enjoy moving to another country for a few months. After visiting Manchester on a weekend break I had fallen in love with the atmosphere of the city and the friendliness of the locals reminded me of home. I was delighted to see that the University of Salford was one of UL’s partner universities.

I chose the university based on their connection with MediaCityUK and their offerings of modules. Although England is so close to Ireland, I was still moving country and it was a daunting task. Two other UL students were also offered places at the University of Salford so none of us were completely on our own.

Manchester is a bustling, lively city with something to do for everyone.

  • Football matches at Old Trafford/The Etihad.
  • Shopping in the Arndale and Trafford Centre.
  • Beautiful restaurants and pubs along the many side streets.
  • Showbiz gossip at the Coronation St Tour.
  • Stunning European style Christmas markets that run right from the end of November through til the end of December.

I was also lucky enough to visit LiverpoolBlackpool and Birmingham during my time there.

The University of Salford itself made their incoming Erasmus students feel very welcome, and to make the most of my Erasmus experience I picked modules that were very different to those offered in UL. ‘The Test of Evil’ in particular was a standout module. We examined three high-profile cases of serial killers in the locality, and even  had a field trip to the local cemetery where some of the victims had been buried. While some of the content was very challenging, it was great to be able to experience different teaching methods to what I was used to. I also had the chance to take a Children’s Literature module that involved studying books such as Winnie the Pooh and an in-depth analysis of Harry Potter.

MediaCityUK is associated with the University of Salford, and this is where some BBC and ITV studios are located. We even got to be audience members for the filming of Celebrity Mastermind 2015 which was an excellent experience.

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I’m very glad that UL has such high emphasis on the Erasmus+ programme. Erasmus is a mandatory element for my course and I’m grateful for this. Had it been optional I’m not sure I would have taken part and would have missed my favourite part of the degree programme so far, and has helped me shape my future as I plan to move back to Manchester after I graduate. Erasmus is a excellent opportunity to become independent, get used to new ways of living as well as making friends all over the world. Erasmus is offered as part of most UL courses and I couldn’t recommend it enough. You’ll never know what’s out there until you try it!

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Anna Henderson is a 4th year New Media & English student at the University of Limerick. Here she writes about her Erasmus experience at the University of Salford in Manchester.

 

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