So I’ve been away for the past fortnight enjoying the sun on the island of Gozo, off the north east coast of Malta. It’s been great to spend some quality time with my family, and visit the Azure Window in Dwerja (aka the Game of Thrones set for Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo’s wedding!).
Wifi has been scarce, but despite this I’ve managed to see many photos of my friends graduations from UoL this week, and offer them my congratulations. Mine, however, is a long way off. The end of second year marked the half-way point of my degree, and it is now less than a month before I begin the next half off in Florida.
Unlike modern foreign language degrees, my year abroad isn’t mandatory. When I first applied to Leicester, I went for a masters (MChem) course straight away, without the year abroad. I’d never really considered the concept before. But after making fast friends with someone in my rowing squad who’d just come home from hers, I was convinced, and before my first year was out I’d switched courses. (Just a side note, in the chemistry department you have to do a masters degree to be able to go on the year abroad. You can’t do one with a BSc).
So why? The short answer is that I would regret it if I didn’t. I had seriously contemplated taking a gap year before coming to university, but along with a lack of funds, I didn’t want to lose momentum and forget all the chemistry I’d spent two years painstakingly learning for my A-levels. A year abroad is the perfect combination for me; I will get to travel (both during and after I’ve finished my courses), experience new things, meet new people, and still study (which I thoroughly enjoy doing, and why I decided to come to university in the first place). Student Finance England offer help and grants for students studying overseas (including paying for flights, vaccinations and much more), which makes relocating for the academic year become much more manageable financially. Plus, I’ve never been to America – what a way to be introduced!
A year abroad also looks great on a CV. It’s pretty unique, and going to the U.S. like I am requires a great deal of preparation. Applying to the university itself, getting a visa, health insurance, accommodation etc is stressful. You have to be organised. It shows effort and commitment. It makes you grow up, become more independent and responsible for yourself. And that’s all before you’ve left the country!
Until next time, readers!