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Erasmus in the Mediterranean: debunking the myths

Tuesday - April 9, 2019

The myths of Studying Abroad in the Mediterranean

It is time to debunk the myths of Erasmus in the Mediterranean… Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal are some of the most common destinations for Erasmus programs and other “study abroad” programs in general. But they are also a typical destination for summer vacations. Nice weather, dense history, culture, intense nightlife… Even their large coastlines make the four countries very eligible. But wait until you find out about the best! Low life cost, hedonistic mentality… Do not be surprised if you end up staying there forever. Even if you just thought “I´ll go there for six months”.

Mediterranean destinations, you cannot miss.

But this popularity comes with a reputation that is based both on myths and reality. Therefore, it is important that you are well aware of how Portugal, Greece, Spain, and Italy really are and of how the Erasmus and exchange programs work. Let us quickly list some of people´s expectations and reality. This is: debunking the myths of Studying in the Mediterranean.

1. All play, no work

Many of us believe that when you study in the Mediterranean, you will just have fun and meet new people. We seem to forget that the main goal of studying abroad is… well… studying. Most Mediterranean universities are thought to be easy to course but are not. You can ask around and find out how many people had to take one extra year back at home because of not succeeding when being abroad. Remember that you will have to work hard, no matter the country.

2. Language

Italy, Portugal, Greece, and Spain have only partially adapted to English. Take the example of Spain, which was under a dictatorship up until the seventies, and was exclusively teaching French as a foreign language. Although you can find courses taught in English, you will also have to learn some local dialect. Besides, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, and Spanish are four romance languages with beautiful phonetics and rich origins.


That is the term that combines the word “Erasmus” and tequila at the beach at 2 am. Students coined this term to describe an academic exchange which excels in the practice of “chemistry” and “physics” and forgets about the other subjects taught. For those that believe that studying abroad in the Mediterranean countries means “Orgasmus”, you might be disappointed: just like with any subject, “socializing” and “getting intimate” is as challenging here as anywhere. Settle your focus and the rest will come.

4. Accreditations

Studying abroad also means risking that your university will not recognize one or several of the subjects you chose to study in another country. This is also right for South-European Universities, which like paperwork as much as the next. Make sure to test and inquire about accreditations if you are going to do an Erasmus program.

5. Weather

This is a big surprise to many. The weather in the Mediterranean is generally warm, but it is not like the Sahara Desert. Because we get the stereotype of beach and sun, we ignore reality. Besides very hot summers you get rain every now and then, and one can still see snow in Barcelona or Athens once every two years. If you go there to study, be prepared for the season, not the stereotype.

6. Job opportunities

Some people study abroad thinking that they will pay their studies by having a part-time job. This is quite a challenge since you might first encounter that your VISA or university does not allow you to do so. But more importantly, it is not easy to find a job there.

In conclusion

You can definitely have the experience of a lifetime by studying abroad in the Mediterranean countries. It is just important that you set your expectations and are prepared for the challenge. Give it a try, and you might even stay for several years! Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Greece have a lot to offer. Check our recommended Online Open Days for Programs in the Mediterranean in English and engage in one of our webinars to fully understand what you will be required to study an Erasmus in the coast of the Mediterranean.