Where is this street? Probably, it is better to ask this man. I want to see my mom...
Do you know these phrases? Surely, everybody faces the problem of orientation in a new place. For Erasmus students, it is one of the first tasks that they have to deal with just after arriving in the city of their dream. It is important to understand that orientation in a new place, namely abroad, is rather not about spontaneity, but a well-thought-out plan. You should ask yourself: "What should I do before I go to the city X?"
First of all, check all train and bus schedules on foreign websites. Even if you are picked up from the airport or railway station, you should know this, because, after all, you are going to live here and it is good to have a backup plan.
Secondly, download travel apps. For example, RailPlanner for travelling around Europe. It shows a detailed schedule for all stations and how many trains you have to change offline.
Also, download offline maps, for example, MAPS.ME. It is one of the best offline navigation apps. MAPS.ME is able to find routes, has a high-detailed map and excellent speed. The app is completely free and does not contain any restrictions on the number of downloaded maps. Do not forget to download the map of the city you are going to in advance.
Thirdly, pay attention to signposts. Sometimes, it is worth looking around – you will see what you need.
Well, last but not least, do not panic! Of course, it is easy to say that, but still. Even with adrenaline pumping, do not panic. It is better to wait a couple of minutes, collect your thoughts and come up with a plan than to yell for help. While asking passers-by is also a good option, consider learning basic phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. Not everyone speaks such a native-to-every-Erasmus-student language ̶ English.
Well, what to do next? I have been here for 3 weeks and still have some orientation problems.
This is probably the most enjoyable moment. Armed with offline maps, Internet gigabytes and a good mood go to explore the city. It is better to begin from the centre. It will be your starting-point that will ease the whole process. Even if you get lost, you will already remember that after you have reached the central square, you need to turn right (or left) to get out of this labyrinth.
Don't forget about sights and cafes. This is not only a pleasant pastime, but will put in your memory some reminders about the route.
Written by: Anastasiia Kutafina