If you’re interested in living abroad, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, travelling, and stepping outside of your comfort zone studying abroad may be for you.
During your second year at university in the UK you’re faced with three options for your third year; continue onto your final year at university, spend a year working in your industry, or uproot your life and move to another country to study abroad. You can choose to spend your third year studying abroad in second year when applications open, or when choosing your university course in year 13.
Your university will have exchange programmes set up with hundreds of universities around the world, you apply directly to your home university, and they place you at one of their partner universities. You could study abroad in South Africa and spend Christmas on the beach, or spend your winter skiing in Austria, or going to football games in the USA, or soaking up the culture in Venice, the possibilities are endless.
Here's 5 reasons why studying abroad is one of the best decisions you'll ever make.
Studying abroad allows you to live somewhere you’d never normally get the chance to. You’ll be able to take advantage of the long university holidays, half terms, and national holidays to travel around your host country and neighbouring countries. For example, if you’re studying in America you’ll likely have Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Labour Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving break, winter break and spring break off school. Make the most of the holidays, you’ll be surrounded by like minded people so there’ll be no shortage of travel buddies. After term has finished you’ll often have some time left on your visa to travel the country.
If you’re studying abroad in Europe you’re in luck as train travel is easily affordable so you can easily travel around your host country and nip to other countries. If your friends from your home university are also studying abroad you can visit them or they can stay with you - you both get free accommodation & a free tour guide!
2. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
What better way to get out of your comfort zone than to move to the other side of the world and be faced with new languages, people, cultures, and laws. Moving abroad is a crash course in growing up, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures which helps you to mature and grow into a more rounded person.
3. EMPLOYERS LOVE IT
Research shows that employers love students who’ve studied abroad as they’ve learnt transferable skills and have a more global outlook on life. A study by the University of California, Merced found that 97% of students who studied abroad were employed within 12 months of graduation, compared to 49% of graduates who were employed 12 months later and did not study abroad.
Here's some of the transferable skills you develop on your year abroad that can help you later on in the workplace.
- Cultural Awareness
- Interpersonal Skills
- Independence & Self-Sufficiency
4. EXPERIENCE NEW CULTURES
Meeting new people and living in another country really immerses you in the culture. You can try new foods, learn new traditions, participate in local festivals and celebrations, gain a greater understanding of different religions.
If you’re studying a language you’re really thrown in the deep end and you have to improve your language skills in order to survive. Of course, it’s likely a lot of the people you meet will speak English, but you should still sign up for classes and make an effort.
Often universities will require you to take one third cultural modules related to your host country. You can learn more about the history and culture of your host country, and can often take classes you’d never be able to take in England relating to your host university’s location such as skiing and snowboarding classes.
5. YOU HAVE YOUR LIFE TO WORK
Once you graduate you’re more than likely to just go straight into a 9 to 5 job, why spend a year in industry doing something you’re going to do for the rest of your life? This is probably the last time you’ll have a chance to take time off and travel for a while. It’s a lot harder to leave a job to travel once you’ve got a mortgage or are on a solid career path.