A year away ‘finding yourself’ or ‘discovering who you really are’ is the done thing nowadays. When I think about my time at university I do wonder why I didn’t make the most of the opportunities that I could have used whilst studying. The UK isn’t the best country in terms of study abroad programmes and as an english speaking country we sometimes can have the mentality of not needing to go anywhere else. (Not me obviously!)
I didn’t get bitten by the travel bug until it was too late for me to start looking into studying abroad but it’s not too late for you! Whether you’re in the UK or not there really are plenty of options out there but if your still on the fence or haven’t even considered it, here’s why that passport should be ready and rearing to go!
You’ll have awesome stories to tell that all of your friends back home, the wildly used quote “it leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller” is true, I love sharing what I’ve seen and done and so will you. So your friends back home and went out and got drunk 3 times a week for a year… you probably did that too but in a new exciting place that had so many more places to explore. You sat on the top of a mountain supping a pack of beer or cycled through Rome looking for a perfect spot to drink that cheap (but still yummy) bottle of wine with your new European pals…they’re the stories you want to be telling.
Culture is something that gets thrown around a lot when talking travel. It seems you’re not a real ‘traveller’ if you’re not there to experience the culture, well you’ll not only be experiencing it, you’ll be living it, your new home will be the perfect way to completely absorb in a new way of life, you’ll be doing all the things you would be at home but in an amazing new place. Whether your still in Europe or have gone further a field every country has its own way of doing things and it’s your chance to become a local.
New student digs! You get to start all over again in a trendy ‘foreign’ house. New housemates, new rules, new bed everything will be new to you and although this may scare the hell out of you it’s a great excuse to clear out your crap whether that’s metaphorically or literally, out with the old in with the new! You’ve got the chance to build a new life for a year or a term or however long your there, make it home.
The world literally is your oyster, when will you ever get the chance to say that again? You could pretty much throw a dart at a map and decide that’s were your going to study. Obviously be sensible and make sure the university has the right courses and all that important stuff but the resources across the world allow students to hop from one place to another without it really affecting their education.
Living in one of the biggest student cities in the UK I have met so many Erasmus or International students that have chosen to study here, I hear that they are from Egypt or China or Germany. I met two of my best friends in my first year of university whilst they were on an Erasmus year, I now have two amazing friends based in different parts of Italy that genuinely are two of the nicest people I have ever met.
What is great about this modern world is that with the world at your fingertips you can log online and pretty much chat to any one anywhere in the world, so get in touch with people already living wherever it is your thinking of going. Ask them questions relevant to you, is the nightlife good? What is the library like? Is the uni campus based? Someone is going to help you out, I may not have had the chance to do a study year but I know if you approach people with a friendly smile on your face they’re usually happy to help you out.
Here’s some helpful links for you to start narrowing down your potential new home!