Last week, I went along to a session for second year geology students interested in doing a year abroad to share some of my experiences from my year abroad in New Zealand and answer their questions. This got me thinking back to this time 2 years ago when I decided to apply for my year abroad. My year abroad was an absolutely incredible experience which I thoroughly enjoyed (have a look at my blog posts from last year here), however choosing to study abroad is a very big decision so it’s important to make sure you are making the right decision. It’s an incredible opportunity to travel to new places, meet new people and experience new cultures, however there’s a few things to consider before signing up. Don’t let this post put you off considering a year abroad, I’d recommend that everyone considers doing it but it’s important to make sure it’s the right decision for you.
- New Styles of Learning – Whilst studying in another country the university system will probably be a bit different so you may have to contend with different styles of teaching, learning and assessment such as more coursework, more exams or more lectures. This is something that might take a bit of getting used to.
- Being Away from Home – Probably one of the hardest bits of studying abroad is having to deal with being away from your family and friends back home. Homesickness is something you might have to deal with, but chances are you’ll be having too much of an amazing time to get homesick anyway!
- Being at Uni for an Extra Year – Doing a year abroad will most likely mean you that your course is 4 years in length, so you have to be willing to commit to an extra year of study. This is great if you want another year of being a student, but not if you want to get out into the world of work as soon as possible.
- Cost – A common worry for students wanting to study abroad is that they won’t be able to afford it. However, there’s lots of financial support available such as Erasmus+ and the student finance travel grant. You also pay reduced tuition fees for the year. It’s worth thinking about roughly how much it will cost to go to your chosen destination, but extra cost is worth it for the experience.
- Nerves – It’s completely normal to be nervous about the prospect of studying abroad, it’s a big decision to make and living and studying in a new country is a big thing. However, don’t let being nervous put you off, studying abroad is an incredible experience and you’ll soon stop being nervous when you get there!