It’s no secret that I think studying abroad is one of the best things you can do at uni. The experience you have is something you won’t get ever again, and it feels surreal from start to finish. In previous posts, I’ve dealt with some of the more serious aspects of it. I’ve given you my top tips for preparing to study abroad, and my advice for when you’re feeling low. This post, however, is going to explain why my year abroad was the best thing I ever did.
The travel opportunities
One of the best things about studying abroad has to be the travel opportunities. Firstly, you get to live in a brand new country and city, which is incredible in itself. You also get to explore a new part of the world, one that you might not have been to otherwise. I don’t think I ever would have gone some of the places I did without my year abroad! Living in a place also means you get see the sights usually reserved for locals, and there is something very special about that.
The people you meet
I was lucky enough to live in an exchange house with 30 other students from all over the world, so I met some amazing people. This was definitely the highlight of my year because I made lifelong friends from everywhere from London to Melbourne! Living with other exchange students is great because you’re all in the same boat. You all want to travel, you all want to explore the city and you all want to make the most of it! It is bittersweet though, because you always know that at some point you’ll all go back to ‘real life’. But, you’ll have friends in so many places that you now have an excuse to visit
Obviously you’re studying abroad, so there will be some sort of learning involved, but I mean the learning you do beyond your degree. In my first year at Nottingham I learnt how to live alone, how the uni education system worked and so much more. In my second year at McGill I had to do the same thing, in a new country on the other side of the Atlantic. It was tough at times (there’s nothing like an ocean to make you realise how much your parent’s cooking means to you), but it meant that I learnt SO much! I learnt how to survive the Canadian education system (just about), how to live with people from different cultures, and how to properly fend for myself. You definitely come back from studying abroad with so much more than just part of your degree done!
Let’s end on a cheesy one…
The memories you make on a year abroad and ones you will carry with you your entire life. I’ll never forget my first night, sat in the kitchen in my new Montreal home. I was surrounded by people from 8 different countries who I hadn’t known existed 24 hours before. There are so many other moments that pop into my head – and they never fail to make me smile.