I studied French Law at Universite Montesquieu in Bordeaux, France. I was surrounded by French students all the time which was daunting at first, but they were very friendly and would often let you have their lecture notes...in exchange for a coffee and a croissant!
I took part in Erasmus because I love living abroad and enjoy speaking other languages. I love France in particular and the opportunity to spend a year surrounded by the vineyards of Bordeaux was too great to turn down! I definitely have a lot more to say about my time at university than someone who has not been abroad - I have become a more well-rounded person thanks to the experiences I had and the I friends met.
My biggest fear about going was not having anywhere to stay at the beginning of my year abroad. Having decided against living in university halls in order to try and move in with some locals, I had to find a place to stay. Despite my best efforts to get this done over the summer, I boarded the plane to France in September with only a youth hostel as my base! Nonetheless, I met some other Erasmus people as soon as I arrived and learnt that it was actually quite a common thing to do.
It was a steep learning curve, however within a week I had found my home for the year, just like the others.
The Erasmus scheme gives you a chance to experience opportunities that you would never have at home. Once university is over and you (hopefully) find a job, the 9-5 routine may mean that the option to live abroad for a prolonged period will not come up for a while. This is therefore your chance to live in a country in possibly the least work-demanding environment before retirement! That's not to say studying or working abroad is easy - it's a challenge but the people you will meet will make it one to relish. Not only will your language skills and cultural awareness improve, which is great for your CV, but you may also get something tangible as well, such as a degree certificate or links with future employment.
I'd recommend persevering with a language as long as possible from whatever background you're from. The ability to communicate with a variety of people is valuable at all stages of life and there is no better way to learn how to do this than through an Erasmus year! Overall, I had a fantastic year in Bordeaux and met some wonderful people. I stayed with the most friendly and welcoming family you could imagine and got to know students from all over Europe.
I did all sorts of activities that I would never have done in Birmingham. Two weekends skiing in the Pyrenees, wine-tasting in the French vineyards, lying on the beach in November, going to a rugby match in Toulouse and staying in the scenic Dordogne region were just some of the many highlights. Hopefully this summer we'll be able to go back there and relive some of the memories!