Why I Decided To Study Abroad For A Year

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hey bloggers, unlike the rest of the world I haven't done a lot of changing this new years but over the course of my stay abroad via Erasmus, I've had a lot of changing and it was mostly my decision to whether or not stay in Toulouse for the year or just do a semester. It was lot of "What should I do?" and "Should I stay?" questions but in the end it came down to what I really wanted for myself.

I initially only was supposed to do Erasmus for one semester for the following reasons:

  • I am in a relationship and the thought of long distance relationship really worried me since not a lot of them work out.
  • Mula. Money was a problem for me because I only had enough saved for a semester (Well that's what I planned but it didn't even last) Also, I was declined a grant so I had to rely on my savings and Erasmus grant to pay for expenses here.
There wasn't a lot stopping me after that except my uncertainty but I got over it and went for the trip. I was lucky enough to have people from my class to go with me so we can have some good craic (Irish for fun) because most people who usually go are alone. With my two friends, we left Ireland on September and lived together during our first few days in Toulouse. It was the same banter we always had. In class and outside of college. Having them around made it easy.

One of the first places I visited in Toulouse was the Couvent des Jacobins

My Realisation

Over the course of the last 5 months, a lot of things has happened and I've met friends and gone on several travel trips. The feeling that accompanied those experiences and encounters were overwhelming that it made me question why am I only staying for a semester? Whats so good in Ireland that I have to go back so soon when I haven't exploited the treasures and perks of studying abroad enough. Well to name a few... my family, boyfriend and best friends. I was homesick and of course it was normal. Other than them and a few shops and products that can't be found here in Toulouse or in France I was fine. I could manage, it wasn't all that bad. Another thing that made it easy for me was that I went back to Ireland on Halloween break. I was able to meet up and catch up with everyone.

Got these two copies so that they would help me get more organised

My Support 

As for me and my boyfriend we took this opportunity to travel and it honestly has made our relationship grow and mature. LDR is a lot of effort but its the effort you put in that makes it work. It's just up to the person whether they are willing to put the effort in something they want to work out. My boyfriend is also my support system. He told me to go for it if it benefits my education. One thing that helped me feel secure about this whole LDR was that we always communicate but at the same time give each other our space. We kinda mastered that balance so it further pushed me to continue on with another semester. 

Telling my mum that I wanted to stay for another semester was hard because that would mean she would have to help me more with my expenses and I didn't want to burden her with that. When I told her, she didn't even mention anything about more expenses but she said that if its for my education and a better future then she was all thumbs up. I know I've only mentioned about friends and trip and parties for the duration of my stay but what I learnt in the college here will certainly help look good on my CV (resume as Americans call it) If i was to use a metaphor, it would be the glitter on the highlighter make-up that makes it shimmer.

My Decision

I was constantly asking people for advice whether or not I should stay for another semester. I know adding 3 doesn't seem all that bad but a few month ago it was for me. My main concern was money and my relationship. The person that persuaded me to make up my mind was one of the the Spanish girls in Erasmus. She, like me was also in a LDR and she said wasn't in the most favourable stances financially but she's making it work and staying in Toulouse for two semesters till March. I asked her what made her decide to do this. Her answer was pretty much simple and direct yet it stuck to me.

"If you have the opportunity of extending your Erasmus, you don't have to doubt because its only once in your life"

After that my hands were down. I was staying here in Toulouse till March. But that wasn't the end of it. For the Christmas holidays, I went back to Ireland and while catching up with my mates and they discussed the work placements they're going to do in the next few months. They talked about the companies they'll be working for and the benefits of doing the work placement and I was just there thinking to myself...  I'm graduating soon...  and I've no experience...  and I don't know if I'll have as good chances as them being hired  since most companies require a certain amount of experience now a days. That got me decide to extend my stay in Toulouse again. The reason why my second semester ends on March is because from April and onward, everyone will be doing their internships. I didn't opt for it at the start because finishing March would allow me to have an early summer and look for a job just so I could earn some money. Then I thought that working as a waitress versus doing work placement for a company and be able to apply the things I've learnt in college while at the same time make connections and start an early career path for myself... it's pretty obvious which is more beneficial.

I used to love it when I was able to spoil myself and my loved ones with the money that I earned from my job. It gave me new found independence of providing for myself but as much as I want to be able to do that again I have come to terms that right now I should just work on my education and mold my career path because once I graduate and actually find a job I still will be able to do that but this time with more flexibility. The main reason why I went on Erasmus was so I could be in mainland Europe and travel meet different people, learn a different cultures and of course.. party but I didn't expect that the reason why I would extend my stay is because I'm better off being in abroad for career path purposes. Don't mistaken that all I think about now is getting my head down in the books and plan my future ahead (well... kinda) because I certainly am not fed up yet with the night outs that turn in to mornings at Mcdonalds, cheap wine soirΓ©es, travel on Tuesday trips and my broke girl binge shopping regrets. It been an amazing start to the year so far and I can't wait what else is in store for me for the next few months of Erasmus. Until next time...

A bientΓ΄t, Dawn

You Might Also Like


  1. Lovely post! πŸ’•✨
    I will be able to study abroad (although I'm basically already studying abroad haha 😜) in year 3 of my course and I'm debating as well whether to go for 1 semester or both. It's a difficult decision as the placement in my course is in year 3 as well πŸ˜• However, I think I will do the whole year because it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience isn't it? 🌈🌍🏞 and we have to take advantage of every opportunity to travel and explore ✈️
    Kisses, Laura 😘