Erasmus Diaries

Half way through her Erasmus, Michelle Murphy talks us through her experiences so far.

As Dorothy said when she clicked her ruby slippers together “There’s no place like home”. This may be true but after hitting the six month milestone of living in France there’s plenty that I’ve learned while abroad as well as some things that I’ll truly miss when I wander back to Ireland.

When travelling, the cheapest route is not the shortest and it generally isn’t the most pleasant. Sometimes it is better to fork out that little bit extra for a direct route rather than wait on a cold platform for two hours in torrential rain. There’s no easy way to figure this one out but asking around with locals does make a difference and it can save a lot of hassle.

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“The tradition among Irish girls of bringing flats out for the walk home at the end of the night is unheard of here and one confused French friend asked a group of us why we didn’t just wear “comfortable” heels.”

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I was warned coming over that the nightlife is very different to back home; pubs and clubs are smaller with a lot less toilets and the dress code is also very different. Most students put more effort into their daytime closets and many girls come to class with heels and giant handbags in suit. Guys are groomed to an inch of perfection and there isn’t a tracksuit in sight. After a few nights out on the town in became apparent that jeans are completely acceptable in a club on both genders but not wearing nice shoes is just unacceptable. The tradition among Irish girls of bringing flats out for the walk home at the end of the night is unheard of here and one confused French friend asked a group of us why we didn’t just wear “comfortable” heels. The notions!

I also have to mention the lack of Penneys. I can no longer blow my grocery budget on cheap and cheerful dresses nor can I buy affordable dry shampoo. While the January sales in French franchises like Pimkie have been extremely successful they can’t quite match the bargains found in a Penneys’ sale. Instead I am forced to follow the European lead of buying small amounts of good quality clothing for a higher price. The environment is probably thanking me but that won’t stop me blowing a hole in my bank account upon my return!