Erasmus Exam Season Compared To Regular Exam Season

For it's the most wonderful time of the year. Exams - the biggest killer of adolescent/young adult joy since your parents told you that, no, pursuing your career as an acrobatic lion tamer in space was not the most feasible plan (screw them, you can be anything you want to be!). No one enjoys this time of year; neither us, the super-stressed out students who forgot that university isn't all about fun and partying until now, nor our lovely/loathable lecturers who must now waste their own precious time marking our confused, time-compressed rambles, relish in this odious yet necessary part of academic life.

Despite every student in the world being united by this utter hatred of the spawn of Satan that are "university assessments", I cannot help noticing there is a slight difference between exam seasons as a regular university student, in the land you were born and raised, and those in which you are a slightly gawking foreign student, trying to get by in this new terrain. Whether it's just the difference in attitude of your peers, or your levels of motivation, it is fair to say, your period of examination will vary as you embark upon life in a new nation:

1. Realising how near your exams are.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

To be honest, the over-whelming fear and nauseating dread is pretty much the same wherever you are in the world...

2. Going through your notes.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

Sure, your lecture notes may be usually a scrabbled heap of nonsense and the half-completed musings of your university professor, but at least through extra-reading and just staring at your notes whilst donning your best Sherlock Holmes thinking cap, you can normally work out what the hell you meant to say. Add in the extra-element of actually attending a class in a different language and your notes go from a bit unclear to an utterly abominable letter-spewed bombsite, as you attempt to word out a) what language that word is supposed to be in and b) if that even makes sense in the context you have been studying...

3. Finding comradery amongst your fellow students.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

It seems that every university has different exam periods and for a lot of continental European universities even have different ones per faculty. Thus, whilst at home, you know what your university comrades will be battling exams at the same time as you, it appears here that you will most likely find yourself studying solo; most of your Erasmus buds from other faculties will either have already done their exams before you start, or way after so they are making the most of their god-damn glorious freedom. Depending on the modules and assessment methods you have chosen, you cannot even rely on your course chums to be there to hold your trembling, nerve-ridden hand. At least there will be no one to distract you from studying I guess...

4. Looking to your home friends for comfort.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

As, most likely, your time abroad does not exactly count hugely towards your final grade, it can be very hard for your friends back in your dreary old country, who are most likely studying for their ultra-scary and super serious final exams, to have too much sympathy for you, particularly as they have seen photos from your all too recent travels...

5. Finding motivation.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

Most likely due to the fact that you know how serious your exams are back home, as well as the fact your home country seems about as interesting to you as a documentary on toenails, you can usually find the (probably last minute) motivation you need to study. However, due to the fact that your life away still is as extraordinary and intriguing to you as the bizarre shade of skin Donald Trump has curated for himself, it is hard to involve yourself in the world of academia when you know the real world is out there for you to explore.

6. Asking fellow students for help.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

Although your friends are always willing to help you through anything in life (as they are the utter bros that you could not live without), it always seems to be slightly harder to ask people you don't know that well for help or if you can use their notes. It is understandable: if you've missed a lot of classes and just haven't really bothered to do any of the work, you can see why someone who actually has would be reluctant to lend you their notes; why should you do as well as them for doing less? However, with your status of a wide-eyed and confused exchange student, people here are a lot more understanding to why you might actually need to use someone else's notes and are, more often than not, willing to help you out as much as they can.

7. Asking lecturers for help.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

In a similar vein as your dear fellow students, your home university lecturers normally have no time for your confused nonsense during this time. Not only do they have a crazy amount of stuff they need to do during this terrible time, but often they kinda feel they have done all they can for you; it is time for you to spread your wings and try not to fall too hard. Your foreign status however really does help you out during your Erasmus semesters, as professors are much more willing to help you out and do what they can; they know it is that much harder for you.

8. The stress you feel during this whole time.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

Despite both exam seasons being an infernal hell of anxiety and held-back tears, studying back home is probably slightly worse. Not only do you have to work to just pass, but you also want to actually do really well; we have it in our heads that we will face a life of poverty and homelessness if we don't. Whilst it is good to be ambitious and want to do well, do remember that exams are not the end of the world; one grade will not define your future. So in other words...

9. What you feel when this time is finally over.

At your home university:

At your Erasmus university:

Because freedom is a pretty epic feeling wherever you are.

Whether you are home, or away, I wish you the best of luck for this dreadful time of year; I am sure you will do swimmingly.