The first thing to do before, or when you leave, is to look for any facebook groups that might interest you. That is to say in connection with your school, campus, activities you want to do in Newcastle, the city in general etc… What I did first was to add my Newcastle University school before I had even set foot in Newcastle. Then, and as you integrate, you will quickly be added to different groups. That’s where it all happens. Indeed, it is important to know that it is thanks to these facebook groups that you will really integrate or more easily. Don’t hesitate to offer to do activities with your new knowledge. Once you have made your circle of friends you can choose to continue to invest in these groups or not.
Which groups to add?
Make sure to add various groups, there are for outings, trips, discovery of the city, sports etc… Don’t panic, everything is done as you go along. If you’re not aware of what’s going on, ask one of your Erasmus friends who, even if you don’t know him, will be happy to add to you. Because yes, that’s the Erasmus spirit! Everyone wants to make friends, no one is left behind so feel free. The more crazy we are, the more we laugh! (@viva4newcastle / NEWCASTLE Erasmus – Exchange – Internationals 2018-19)
Staying with French during my exchange? To do or not?
For the record, there is even a Group of the French in Newcastle. This group brings together all the French expats in Newcastle. However, even if we may sometimes miss French culture, I do not advise staying only between French. Indeed, what is the point of going abroad, if it is to stay only with French? Living your experience internationally is for me to share with international people.
Of course, it’s always more reassuring to be with people who speak the same language as you, but not wanting to stay with French was one of my best decisions. You’ll learn so much from international students. You will see how different cultures are and you can teach them things about your country and your culture that they do not know. And then at least you can blow it off with your little french accent. What you can’t do if you only stay with French people. So hanging out with French people, yes…. but not too much anyway.
Visas and formalities to know
For students of the European Union, it is not necessary to have a visa. The same goes for American, Australian or South African students. You should know that if your nationality is not part of these different nationalities, you will need to check with the British embassy closest to you.
As far as Brexit is concerned, it is still unclear how it will impact students in the autumn of 2020. Don’t hesitate to stay informed on this subject.
Strengths and weaknesses
Newcastle is a city on a human scale full of qualities and strengths, especially when you go to live there as a student. That said there are a few small shadows that are important to know.
- Small town on a human scale
- Young and easy-to-reach city
- Ultra friendly and welcoming people
- Buildings and architecture
- Well located, easy for day trips
- Cost of living
- Changing climate, although rarely rainy the grayness is quite present, but I was surprised by the climate, it was at least very mild during my stay (don’t forget the big jackets if you spend the winter there, we still stay in the North of England)
- The accent, my god you have to cling to understand them but here too you will get used to it, no worries.