Back in 2013, I had the great opportunity to do my international exchange in Santiago de Chile. During that incredible time of my life, I visited many places, met many people and learnt many things. However, at the very beginning, this unforgettable experience came with a bunch of obstacles. With a poor Spanish level and no help at my arrival, transportation, communication and usual day-to-day stuff became a real pain in the neck! On top of that, finding a proper accommodation has also proved to be struggling as my needs in terms of duration and location were very specific.
At that moment, I had the feeling that I was probably not the only international student to experience that kind of uncomfortable situation. Once back home I joined a local section of the ESN, for total of three years. This period strengthened my first feeling and I was convinced there was a gap to be filled between what international students were offered and what they were actually expecting.
With the help of one childhood friend that also has a strong international background, we launched Eras’must in August 2017, a startup based on a new concept made by former Erasmus students for future Erasmus students. Eras’must general and main mission is to help Erasmus and international students to maximize their experience abroad and facilitate their integration in their host city.
To do so, we designed a web platform that offers an easy and direct access to suitable solutions addressing international students’ needs. Somehow like a “Swiss army knife”, the Eras’must platform is practical and centralizes in one same place a multitude of complementary tools that enable students to start their exchange in the best conditions. Three hubs were then defined: accommodation, assistance services (such as airport transfer, bike renting or French classes), and small trips.
However, accommodation quickly became our main focus. In fact, according to various surveys and testimonies, we realized that none of the current housing propositions was really adapted or oriented towards the international students needs. That’s why we decided to create our own housing offer.
A good location, a short-term lease contract with all bills included, furnished rooms and fully equipped common areas, a cosy atmosphere, monthly activities, a small portion of local students mixed with the international ones… Those are the ingredients that make our multicultural shared-houses and international community so special. More than just a place to sleep, we want to offer a place where students will share, meet and exchange; a place they would ultimately consider as a second home. The home of their new international family.
In the future, we would like to develop this unique community through our constantly growing network of shared-houses across the country and hopefully, one day, Europe. Accessibility and reliability will always be two essential words for us, driving our team to achieve his mission and develop the Eras’must concept. More than just offering quality housing, we are looking for improving the overall exchange experience of international students.
To conclude this article, if there is one thing we are already sure about, it is that whatever awaits on the corner, we are already enjoying the ride. All we could wish is that the future members of our community will also do!
PS: We are always keen to hear new ideas and suggestions in order to improve our concept, so don’t hesitate to reach out!