I remember before I left, some people asked me why I was going to study abroad. I didn’t need student testimonies for me to understand the benefits of doing this but I realise that not everyone can see them as clearly. Studying Abroad was an incredible experience and I would love it if I could persuade someone to do it too. I won’t lie, it was also the scariest experience of my life. There were moments where I hated everything and would have done anything to go back home but I wouldn’t change a thing! Studying Abroad definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you think that it might be for you ,then see what I think have been the reasons why I am so pleased that I took the leap.
I thought that moving to university gave me independence, I thought that renting my first house gave me independence too, but in comparison to studying abroad, these were nothing. Packing up your life in England, and moving it so far that you have an entire ocean between you and everything you have ever known, is really something else. When you move away to university you constantly have a safety net, a few hours plus a £50 train ticket and you can be back at home with all of its comforts making you feel better. When you arrive in a new country, you are alone. Even as you leave your loved ones at the airport you are alone. Some people deal with this in a few hours of arriving, it took me a lot longer. However long it takes you, you do eventually call your new country home. This was the first time I had travelled abroad alone and that in itself is a responsibility. Even when you are all settled you are still gaining this independence. Everyone studying abroad has their own aims for what they want to do, different budgets, different interests which means that sometimes you just have to do you own thing. I usually had partners in my escapades but occasionally I had to go solo. I’ve grown to relish in this independence. When you’re doing your own thing, you don’t have to please anyone; you see the exhibits you want to, eat when you want to, have a rest when you want to.. Before I came here I would do things by myself but never anything big, and I’d never really choose to. After this experience I have learnt to relish in independence.
This has always been something that I have wanted to do as I believe this is the only way to really experience a culture. I admit, I only lived in Canada for four months and some people go travelling for this long, but they don’t live there. Obviously I did the touristy things but I went to the supermarket every week too. I was living amongst Canadians, not staying in some hotel, somewhat secluded. It really does give a new perspective to a new culture.
I had no idea how much degree’s could vary between country. It has been strange. I have had a phenomenal work load here but the blow was softened by the fact that I got far better grades here than I would at home. However this does not stop you trying to put all your effort into every assignment here. The work was constant and I have never worked that hard in my life. It is such a relief now that it is over and I am glad that I have done it. I have returned to England with such motivation towards my studies. I know that I will not work as hard as I did here as I nearly had a breakdown but I will certainly work a hell of a lot harder than I did last year. During first year, although a lot of it is partying, I did still feel that I put in as much effort as possible but now that I have experienced education here, I know how much effort I am capable of it and last year was far from it. I am sure that when I have exams here I will have far better grades.
Studying Abroad is quite simply, a lot of fun. I jumped out of planes and into lagoons, visited museums and galleries, ate new foods, made friends, saw exciting cities and even managed to cram in a bit of skiing too. Don’t get me wrong I worked jolly hard, but I made sure that I made time to enjoy myself, and believe me, Canada provided plenty opportunities for this.
Admittedly I have not applied to a new job yet so cannot say whether studying abroad has had a positive effect. However I have updated my CV since I have returned and can tell you it is far more impressive. The experience demonstrates skills that are sought after by many employers that I can now boast. The experience also gives me something interesting to talk about if necessary during interviews. Like I said I cannot say for definite that this will help my job prospects, but I certainly am optimistic.
All I have to say is, what’s stopping you?