Whenever I thought about studying abroad I always imagined the nice people I would meet there, my future house where I will be living together with some really nice roomies, the independence I will get and just the generally awesome feeling of being abroad on my own. What I wasn’t thinking about was all the preparations that an exchange would require me.

It all started last year during the spring semester when I received an offer from my university to go on an exchange. When I opened the e-mail they sent me I couldn’t be happier. It said “We are pleased to inform you that ESCM has selected you to go on a student exchange to Southampton Solent University in the United Kingdom”.  Ever since that e-mail  arrived…the drama started: those were the times of filling in forms, waiting for people to sign the forms, asking questions to teachers, searching for accommodation, asking more questions and so on. To cap it all, I also had to cope with a lot of schoolwork and exams that I had to pass before even being allowed to actually go on my exchange. All this meant one single thing: lots of stress going on!

However, I am now starting to realise that it all somehow went away. It’s probably because at the moment, I am in the phase where the main things have already been sorted out: tickets, housing and modules. It is now time to start to relax a little and just look forward to my exchange period...because looking forward to my exchange is something I forgot to do during the time of strife I just went though. But you know what? I have not left for England yet, but I can tell you that every single effort I did to prepare my exchange was totally worth it! I am so pleased by the idea that somehow I managed to sort everything out on my own, as a strong and independent person who is  going to live abroad on her own for an entire semester! 

Anyways, many things are still a surprise to me.  I have no idea whom I will end up living with, how my classes will turn out to be, whom I will meet and what experiences I will go through. All I know for now is that I have a flight to catch to Southampton TODAY, the 14th of January and that I am very excited to go!  Something tells me the best is yet to come… If you want to follow my adventures around Southampton, please stay tuned to the Erasmus+ Blog! I promise to write to you again!


Lots of love,



Written by Natalie Ratsma

Natalie is a Dutch student looking forward to having her first living and studying abroad experience. She is currently studying International Communication Management and she would love to do something in an international environment after her studies. In her free time she likes reading, acting, singing and hanging out with friends.