I’m home now. Away from any uni work.
Then I had to remember the lingering Leicester award deadline.
I managed to pull myself together to complete it, and it got me thinking about the future. Nothing too remote, just thinking about the next freshers, travelling trips in the summer and studying abroad.
Surprising to some, the chance to spend a year abroad is very accessible, so long you don’t spend your first year clinging to that pass mark. For my sister, a year abroad had an enormous impact on her personal growth. After spending 5 months at the International Paralympic Committee last year, she was offered an unmissable opportunity – to work at the games in Rio!
Of course, I can’t guarantee your potential year abroad includes working with Ellie Simmonds, but it certainly gave my sister a chance to experience the world beyond your typical family holiday.
It seems perfect if you want to experience something new while sprinkling that little bit extra gold dust on your CV. But a closer inspection is always needed.
While scrolling through the International Office‘s website, I noticed only certain countries/institutions were available to me and that there was no real mention of timescales (The term ‘Year abroad’ doesn’t necessarily mean an entire year – some degree courses offer the chance to only study for a semester abroad). If I wanted to express interest, I had to state my 3 destination choices – but none of those ‘available’ to my degree course were that appealing to me. I started having reservations about the idea of an year abroad altogether.
In this instance, the best thing to do is to contact someone who will know, and the best way at university is through email.
Now, before you groan, you need to understand – emailing at uni is not the same as high school or college. If you email your teacher, you’d likely get a quicker response if you sent your message by pigeon (I actually based some of my decisions about my university choices on whether they actually replied to an email – Leicester was the only university that replied to my initial email within a week!).
I stuffed questions about timescales, destinations, Brexit and other opportunities into an email to my department’s placement co-ordinator and I got a fairly speedy response.
After reading through the reply, I decided it’s likely I won’t partake in a year abroad.
Sadly, a semester abroad is not available on my degree course and many of the countries I would be interested in visiting don’t offer an English course for me – learning a language is not really an option for me when I barely passed GCSE German.
But don’t be disheartened if you do want to study abroad and are reading this: there are so many ways you can spend time abroad.
I’m still going to register my interest because my circumstances could change – I still have a year. Plus, you can always look into a year in industry or summer internships – I hear Canada is a good destination around the time America starts to lose the plot. And they speak English! And if Canada doesn’t want me, I’d better hope my German GCSE proves I’m a ‘fluent’ speaker.