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Moving to Marseille

Passed his exams and ready for Erasmus.

Written by Kevin Galvin and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"The idea that at the end of August, less than seven weeks now, I’ll be living thousands of kilometres away from everything I consider routine scares me"

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September marks the beginning of Kevin's year abroad. Read here about how he got on when he first visited his soon to be new home!


Who knew that a four-letter word could bring such relief? Weeks of waiting and wondering all came to an end at 4PM on a Thursday afternoon. Well I say four; the results weren’t actually out until closer to five, leaving a horrible 40 minutes wearing out the F7 button on my laptop refreshing the webpage.
The relief wasn’t just that I would be going to France, but also now I could finally put the wheels in motion so to speak. Tickets could be booked, accommodation sorted, trips planned.

The first prerogative was to finally book the trip I’d been planning for weeks. I’ve become an expert on flights into Southern France over the last few weeks, but eventually I settled on a Ryanair flight from Cork to Carcassonne on Saturday morning, the very same flight I took to visit the region a few weeks ago.

From there it was to the SNCF (French train company) website, to book my train which takes me from Carcassonne to Marseille. A three-hour intercity will take me from the medieval town through Narbonne, Montpellier, Nimes and Béziers on the way to Saint Charles station in ‘La Cité Phocéenne’, where I’ll be picked up and taken to my new home.

The five hour wait between flight and train gives me just enough time to head into the old town of Carcassonne, one of the highlights of the Languedoc-Rousillon region, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. I’d visited the 13th century streets and viewed the pointed roofs years ago, but the opportunity to go on the tourist trail the minute I reached France was far too appealing to turn down.

A lot of people have told me that seeing my name on the one-way tickets surely would have made it sink in, but in truth the concept of moving to another country and not coming back seems still so alien to me. I’m still working everyday and coming back to my family home every evening, the house I’ve never moved out of. The idea that at the end of August, less than seven weeks now, I’ll be living thousands of kilometres away from everything I consider routine scares me as much as it excites me.

Even now, watching the Tour de France in French, it’s really hard to place myself in the country I see on the screen. France has always been a holiday destination, a place where you can escape from everything for a while; school, money worries, the weather, anything dragging you back at home can be put on hold for that week or two of rest and relaxation.

This is a totally different animal; this time the worries about school and everything else will be set within this idyllic world, making somewhat of a contrasting situation, though in truth I’m looking for problems when they don’t exist.

I have a month left in Ireland before I finally bid farewell to my home, my family, and my friends, and being perfectly honest I’ve never been more ready to leave.

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Published August 5th, 2014
Tags travel erasmus
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