Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Unit 2: Saying goodbye

Providing that you have friends (as I hope you do), I'm sure you'll want to say them goodbye before leaving to your destination. Most part of your friends will live in your city, but in my case, almost all my friends live in other cities or even abroad. Anyways, I've spent a lot of time with friends in my city, but also had to travel a bit.

One of my best and oldest friends came to visit me and stayed a few days here. I really like to spend time with him cause, though we know each other since we were 16, we've just met 4 times. I recently came back from Valencia, were I visited my dearest and new friend Bea. I also met a lot of people there and I'm gonna miss them so much.

Well, here you have some tips for saying goodbye to your friends before leaving:

Local friends

- Meet them a lot! You never have enough of the people you love, so don't waste the opportunity of spending some quality time with them: go to the cinema, to the beach or pool, shopping or wherever you all enjoy.
- Go somewhere. It might be a camping or a house of one of you a little far from the city. You'll have time to talk about everything you want and to tell each other how much are you gonna miss each other.
- Party, party, party! Well, you'll party a lot in your Erasmus destination, but honestly... Its not the same when you're not with your friends. You can be yourself and say all those stupid things that you say when you are drunk or play those funny dance steps you'd be ashamed to play when being with other people.
- Treat them with a small gift. It may be handmade or bought, but something that they can carry with them or put in their rooms for you to be with them at any time.

Foreign friends

- Look for super cheap transport! You can find cheap flights, coaches or trains in lots of webpages if you buy them 2 or 3 months before travelling or just a couple of days before.
- Stay at your friends' house. That's the cheapest option, of course, but be kind and bring some present with you. In case you can't, youth hostels are always cheap and usually comfortable. Anyways, you won't probably be there so much.
- Look for nice and unexpensive restaurants. Unless you can bear a 4-day McDonalds marathon, you should find any other kind of place. Anyways, you can always go to a supermarket and buy something there.

And, in both cases, you'd better buy lots of tissues. At least, I cryed a lot and needed tons of them!

My Loli friends and me in my last night in Valencia.
(Pic took by Bea)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Unit 1: finding a property in Southampton

Once you have been accepted in the Uni (Solent or University of Southampton), your first think in mind (after all the "OMFG I'm gonna party hard next year!!"s, of course) is "Where am I gonna live?"If you are a Solent student, I think they provide you an accomodation in a student residence, so, in that case... you are very lucky! But if you are attending University of Southampton (and so do I), it will be a little bit difficult if you are going there as a full year of first semester student.

What I have done (and what I recommend you to do) is going there in August and looking for a house there. You can look for one through internet in some sites such as:

- SASSH (which is suggested by the Uni; you'll need to enter the pass "SASSH")

but I strongly recommend you to go there and visit some properties. There are lots of tentan agencies in London Rd, and you can visit Tenant Direct in New Rd, which is on a 5 minute walk from London Rd. There, they will check their databases looking for a property that suits your needs (price, bedrooms, area...) and will take you to the own properties in order to visit them. This fact is VERY IMPORTANT. Please, visit a property before you let it, cause English student houses are not the best quality ones and nobody would like to live in a pigsty for a year.

The standard English student house is a 2 floor terraced house with a rear garden and a small front garden. They usually have from 4 to 8 bedrooms, so in case you need a property with less bedrooms than that, you should start looking for one sooner. I started looking for a 3 bedroomed house and finally got a 4 bedroomed one so my mates and I will have a spare room. You'll have to pay a regular rent of 65-75 pounds per week. If they ask you for more, you better ask them why.

Once you find a property, you'll have to provide your agent with some documents and information:

- A copy of your passport, which will be the most important ID for you during your stay.
- Any document confirming that you will be studing in the UK (eg. your Letter of Acceptance)
- A guarantor based on the UK.
- In case you don't have one (which is very likely), you'll probably have to pay 6 months in advance.
- A person confirming you're a reliable tenant.
- Your tutor's contact details.

Usually, furnished properties come with one bed, one desk and one wardrobe per bedroom plus a couple of sofas, fridge, freezer, washing machine, cooker, oven, microwave and that sort of things. You can buy anything you may need in Ikea or ASDA, which are in the city center. The second one is cheaper, but you'll probably prefer the Sweeden brand.

My house's front door!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hi! It's me!

Hello everybody! My name is Isa (from Isabel), though some people call me Chii - after the Chobits character. I created this blog some months ago to write about my Erasmus experience in Southampton, England. Anyways, I had nothing to tell in that moment but wanted to keep the name.

Why did I choose Lolita in Albion? Well, the first part may be obvious: I'm a lolita. For those of you who are not very familiarized with Japanese fashion, Lolita is a... something (urban tribe/fashion/way of life... whatever you want it to be for you) inspired by Rococo and Victorian styles. You can find out more info in Wikipedia and in the EGL Livejournal community. So, what about Albion? For those of you who are from Great Britain or study something related to English history or literature, it's a stupid question. But this blog is also (and maybe more) for Erasmus students, so... Lesson time!

Albion is the name the Romans gave to England when they first went to the British islands, while other say that it was previously used by the Celts. Anyways, the Romans understood it as "white" (albus) because of the White Cliffs of Dover. Of course, nobody calls England for that name nowadays (or since so many centuries), but it has remained in literature as a symbol for the country which I find very romantic and nostalgic. William Blake, for example, used it in his poem "Visions of the Daughters of Albion". It's the same that when we use Iberia in Spain. Oh, by the way... I'm Spanish!!

Well, so by now you know I'm Spanish, I'm a lolita and I'm a bit nerdy about England. In fact, I'm studying Filología Inglesa in my university in Malaga (sth about English studies: literature, history, linguistics, language... as well as US literature and history). In my year abroad, I'll take some linguistics and literature courses, as well as one about law. The British legal system is quite different from the one we have in most part of western Europe, which comes from the Roman one and I got very interested when we studied a bit of it in history this year.

And why am I into this? Well, I've seen so many blogs in which lolitas write about their lives or the style or so. I've also seen other blogs by Erasmus students in so many places. But I've never found a blog about a lolita Erasmus student (maybe there are lots! but I dunno them), so I decided to talk about all the things from a different point of view.

So, this is me! I'll try to write about how to find a house, moving there, my courses and (when I got there) my daily life. Hope you like it or, at least, find it helpful.