Unfortunately doing a year abroad is not a cheap adventure to embark on. There’s the price of flights, accommodation, visas, and insurance, as well as day-to-day living costs, transport, university materials, and any travel. The great thing is your tuition fees are considerably less during a year abroad and if you are on the ERASMUS scheme you can receive grants, and you’re still eligible for your normal funding from Student Finance. Despite this over the duration of your year abroad you will probably spend more money than you would during a year at Leicester. One way to try to limit the damage to your bank account is to get a job in your destination country; there are loads of good reasons to get one and it’s definitely something to consider.
- You meet new people – depending on job you get and your colleagues, you might make some new friends. If you work on campus, for example, it’s likely that a lot of your colleagues will be fellow students and you’ll get to know them well.
- It’s a skill for your CV – whether you work as waiting staff in a café or embark on an internship, you’re going to be gaining skills and experience that you can put on your CV. If you feel too stressed to take on a job when you’re at Leicester because of how it might impact the time you have for uni work, doing it on your year abroad is a good alternative if you just need to pass (for many Leicester courses your year abroad grades don’t count towards your degree classification which can leave you with more time to enjoy your year).
- You avoid exchange rates – whilst you might have enough money to see you through the year, when you take into account exchange rates your money won’t quite go as far as you’d hoped. So getting paid in the local currency means you don’t lose out paying bank fees.
On the fence:
- It can be time consuming – in many ways this can be good because it’s unlikely that you’ll be spending all your free time off on some epic adventure, and university work won’t take up every hour of the day. So a job can be a good way to fill some of that excess time productively. But you might occasionally find your friends heading off on day trips on days you have to work and it’s too late to change your schedule. This is a big one to consider because the last thing you want is to get back from your time abroad and realise you have loads of money, but you haven’t actually done much because you never had the time. My advice is, if you’re doing a year abroad, work for one semester and leave the other semester to do what you want because that way you get the best of both worlds.
- You might not be able to work – depending on where you are you’ll have certain visa restrictions. Some visas may prevent you from working at all, others may allow you to but on the condition you don’t exceed a certain number of hours per week. So check that out, because the last thing you want is to be deported.
- It could detract from your studies – even if you don’t need to excel in all your classes, you still need to pass and you need to keep on top of work (as much as anything, if you hardly do any work you’ll find returning to final year at Leicester a bit of a struggle). So make sure you’re not taking on too much and falling behind at university.
- It can be boring – quite simply, you might end up doing a dull job that you don’t enjoy and you realise that wiping down tables in a café isn’t quite the glamourous lifestyle you imagined your year abroad being. But when you can afford to fly somewhere new, or you can say ‘yes’ to loads of activities that your friends suggest because you have the money, it will all be worth it.