Students who are studying languages get an opportunity to work abroad, either in industry, at university or as a language assistant in a local school. But other courses also offer a chance to spend a semester or so at an overseas university, usually in an English-speaking country, as well as opportunities to do an industry placement. If this is an option as part of your degree, you might be wondering if it’s worth it and what you could gain from the experience.
Here are 15 great reasons that you should spend time abroad as part of your university degree.
1. The best year of your degree
Feedback from those who have spent a semester or year abroad is overwhelmingly positive. It’s could be the adventure you’ve been looking for. You learn a lot, you experience things that are outside your comfort zone and most importantly, have fun.
2. Practice your language skills
Your year abroad can take your foreign language skills from acceptable to local. This will be really handy for those final year exams, but it can also help out your career, as it makes it far easier for you to work in another country after graduation.
3. Study something different
For those who go down the study route, you get the chance to learn things that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Different universities offer so many different modules, and you may discover a passion that you never knew you had.
4. It helps you grow up
University is a big change, but going to another country is even bigger. You have to get used to a whole new way of doing things, from paying bills to food shopping. But it also helps you to become more independent and gain confidence.
5. It impresses employers
As well as honing your communication skills and language skills, spending time in another country shows that you can cope in unfamiliar surroundings. Knowing that change doesn’t scare you is really important for graduate employers, as they want employees who are flexible and adaptable.
6. You learn to cook new things
Spending time overseas can make you more adventurous, and opens your eyes to a whole new cuisine. There may be fruit and vegetables you may have never seen before and the opportunity to try local delicacies that may have looked unsavoury only a few months before. Being able to rustle up something exotic from your year abroad is sure to impress your friends and your parents.
7. The weather
Are they grey days in the UK getting you down? You could head to somewhere with more sun, or lots of snow, depending on what takes your fancy.
8. If you work, it’s great experience
A lot of people spend their year abroad working for a business, and it’s a great way to gain excellent workplace experience that enhances your graduate job applications. If you’ve already got an idea of what kind of industry you want to work in, then try and find something relevant.
9. You could get paid
Whether you’re a language assistant or doing an industry placement, it could be the first time that you take home a monthly wage for a full-time job. If you can save a little, it could come in handy for some more travel or your final year at university.
10. You’ll feel more comfortable considering overseas jobs after university
Graduate schemes aren’t just based in the UK anymore. Enterprise is just one of the companies that hires for positions abroad, and their business has branches in France, Spain and Germany. If you want to work abroad, then spending a semester or more in another country whilst you’re at university makes the next step so much easier.
11. It’s great for finding a dissertation topic
You might have only been at university for a couple of years, but going abroad can broaden your horizons not only in terms of language, but also culture. If you’ve always wanted to discuss about American politics or Italian literature for your dissertation, then being in the country you’re gives you a fresh, local perspective and access to research and documents.
12. You can travel more
If you’re in France you can hop across the border to Spain, Italy or Belgium. Go to America and you can get to Canada and Mexico on low-cost flights. You won’t just discover the country that you are staying in, but other places too.
13. It helps you appreciate home
One thing that most people realise when they are abroad is all the great things that they love about living in the UK. Missing home is something that most people experience when they spend a term or a year abroad, but it also helps them appreciate what they’ve got when they get back.
14. The extra year helps you focus on your course
There’s no doubt that you’ll grow up a lot in your year abroad and that can really help you to get your head down and study when it comes to your final year exams. Those who spend a year working will have honed their time management skills, so there should be no more last-minute essay panics.
15. You make great friends
One of the biggest worries for those who are going to spend time abroad is that their friends will have graduated by the time they get back to university. What they forget are the pals that they will make when overseas. There are many advantages to having friends around the world.
Going abroad as part of your course isn’t just useful for developing personal skills and meeting new people, it can also help with graduate job applications and your degree.
If you’re looking for an exciting opportunity that it’s a bit closer to home and that can complement your studies, then take a look at our internship opportunities.
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