For those of you that know me I’m sure you’ll know about (be sick of hearing about) my study abroad experience in Australia. But for those who don’t, I studied BA Business Studies at university and got the opportunity to spend my second year abroad- so I opted for Australia, obviously. So way back in August 2014 I packed up my life, boarded the longest plane journey ever and dragged my boyfriend along for the ride too.
I absolutely loved the experience, I got to study at Bond University on the Gold Coast and it was easily the best year of my life! I met so many new people, got to study at an amazing university and lived in such a beautiful area- hello beach every weekend. Before I decided to study abroad my main reason for going overseas was probably just to catch a tan and chill on the beach, but having now experienced studying in a different country I can vouch for the benefits it has and so I’ve come up with my top 5 reasons for studying abroad…
- Meet new people/major networking opportunity
So a big worry for me when I lived in Australia was losing friends at home, I’m sure lots of people are concerned about this too. All I can say is that yes you may lose touch with a few friends from home (time zones, not seeing each other, busy schedules can make things difficult) but you will almost certainly pick back up where you left off as soon as you’re home. The new friends you make, colleagues you work with and even lecturers you click with will be invaluable to you creating a professional network all over the world post-uni (as well as almost certainly becoming good friends).
If you’re worried about making new friends while abroad just remember you’re all in the same boat and sharing this experience with one another will only cement your friendship for life!
- Personal growth
So in the life changing book The Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck talks about how life is hard and it’s only by overcoming challenging circumstances that we can grow – in mind and spirit (if you haven’t read the book I’d recommend it). Without doubt the experience of moving abroad to study is challenging, you’re faced with a new culture, new people, a new home and a new university, but by overcoming these challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone you really do grow as a person. Looking back at my time abroad I view it as a huge achievement and it motivates me to push myself and make risky decisions… if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough.
- Travel to places you never would have before
So from London it’s fairly easy for me to travel across Europe – cheap airfare, knowledge of the region and friends/family recommendations mean it’s an obvious choice when booking a trip. When you’re abroad the same applies for heaps of new places; in Australia countries like Bali, Thailand, Fiji, New Zealand are all prime destinations for trips! The same applies wherever you go you’ll find the locals tend to holiday in places you’d never have thought of visiting before, as well as the obvious chance to explore the country you’re studying in.
- Make your degree stand out from the crowd
Superficially, yes having a study abroad placement as part of your degree title does give you more to talk about at interviews and will most likely make your job application stand out. But studying abroad provides more than just the ‘label’, you’re forced to adapt to a new style of learning, new education systems and a new learning environment very quickly. This ability to adapt and be flexible is not only important in your professional life but will no doubt help you in your personal life at some point too.
- It’s a chance to travel cheaply (kinda)
Obviously air fare isn’t cheap but the reality is your air fare is probably the only expense that you wouldn’t be paying had you stayed at home. Whether you study in your home country or abroad you have many of the same expenses, in some countries where the cost of living (accommodation, food, bills) is lower it may even be cheaper for you to study abroad! So when you weigh up the pros of seeing a new country, experiencing a new culture, meeting new people etc. against the con of a few hundred pounds air fare, for me it’s an easy decision.
Honestly I could go on and on and on about why I think studying abroad was the greatest experience of my life and how everyone should do it so if you do have any questions please do comment/email. If you’ve studied/worked abroad feel free to share your experience in the comments too, and if you’re considering studying abroad and need any more convincing please do get in touch – I’d love to bore you with my endless stories…
Abbie May Travel