Because Cambridge may be the best preparation for rich kids aspiring for a career in academia, but not so good with respect to teaching basic life skills…
1. Ending up in a mouldy cupboard for the year after failing to grasp the idea of having to sort out your own accommodation.
We have the luxury of guaranteed college accommodation for the duration of our degree – shame they don’t have college houses in Italy…
2. Accidentally calling the canteen “hall” and dressing up for the occasion.
It just feels wrong going in jeans and a hoodie…
3. When you realise you have to actually clean your own room.
Because not all Cambridge students are rich kids who can afford to employ a housekeeper on their year abroad – or maybe you just don’t know how to say ‘desperate student needs weekly cleaner, must be able to make the bed’ in French…
4. That time you decided to cook a proper English meal in your first ever student kitchen.
We have an actual OVEN!!! :-O
5. Realising that your rent doesn’t include bills and having to live off pot-noodle for a month.
Then combine this with having to walk past cute Parisian cafes every day :'(
6. Buying too much stuff and having to pack a years supplies into hand luggage for your Flybe flight home.
But don’t worry – My Baggage has you covered!
7. Realising that you no longer have weekend lectures/ supervisions and spending all your money travelling around Europe.
OK, not sure this quite fits in the ‘disasters’ category, but I definitely took too much advantage of all that spare time…
8. Getting locked out your bank account despite specifically telling them you would be abroad.
And then you get this message on the end of the phone: ‘Sorry, we don’t support customers in your country, please visit one of our advisers in your local branch’
9. Completely forgetting about the year abroad project until the summer vacation.
Um… well I’ve had a last minute change of title, my project is now about reverse culture shock…
10. Immediately attaching yourself to the nearest group of English speakers/ ERASMUS students and not learning a single word of the local language.
How are you meant to make useful contacts for free travel accommodation in the future if everyone you make friends with is from the UK???
11. Discovering a whole new world of culinary delights and putting on a few too many kilos…
Not going to admit just how much I gained from a year in China (ohmygoodness, the fooooodddd…), but it’s a good thing airlines only charge suitcases by their weight…
Don’t forget if you’re bags have gained some kilos too, you can always rely on My Baggage to get your souvenirs safely home!
12. Spending your year studying in the library.
OK, you may have signed up to ‘study’, but we all know the key to a successful year abroad is making the most of your new-found freedom to travel the world, not hole yourself up in a library… Keep those weekends/ vacations free for holidays around Europe! And don’t spend every evening in the library – you’ll end up with even less friends than those making mistake #10…
13. Not keeping in touch with friends from home, then returning to Cambridge to find yourself friend-less.
We live in the 21st century, make the most of it! With Skype, Facebook and blogs there is no excuse for losing all your friends this year. Just a few messages here and there to keep in touch will ensure you don’t spend final year desperately chatting up freshers in an attempt to rejuvenate your social life.
14. Discovering just how much you need comfort food when you’re missing home…
Whether that’s PG tips, non-UHT milk (I’m talking to you, China) or Cadbury’s chocolate, sometimes you just can’t get it abroad.
15. Forgetting how to study.
The year abroad may be an awesome opportunity to travel, make new friends and relax, but next year is finals! Don’t forget that we’re Cambridge students and next year your DoS will be expecting your essays to be up to scratch.
Finally, enjoy the year abroad experience and make the most of every opportunity available to you – but be prepared for all these disasters and more to befall you during the adventure!
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