Why study abroad?

Samantha Lister
Sunday 24 May 2015

There are numerous benefits to studying abroad, but here are the Collaborations and Study Abroad team’s top three:

1. Broaden your academic experience

“I was able to take classes not available in St Andrews and the different teaching methods really stimulated me.” Iben, Social Anthropology, studied at the University of Copenhagen.

Studying your degree subjects from a different perspective and in a different academic culture is an intellectually invigorating experience. Courses may complement your St Andrews studies but offer a new dimension, whether it is geography field trips in North America; modern European history in Strasbourg; or marine biology on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. You may have the opportunity to study specialisms not offered at St Andrews. Study Abroad will open new doors academically and may help you to discover new academic passions. It could encourage you to think about postgraduate study in a certain field, or in a certain location.

2. Develop life skills and enhance employability

“Students who have studied abroad show future employers that they have a strong commitment to their own personal development as well as an ability to interact with different groups of people.” Katherine Reynolds, Teach First

Study Abroad demonstrates your self-motivation, willingness to embrace new challenges and your ability to adapt to new situations. It can develop your confidence and independence and teach you a lot about your own capabilities, personally and professionally. Study Abroad will set you apart in competitive job markets and open doors to new ventures and contacts that could influence your career

3. Experience another culture and improve language skills

“It is one thing to spend time studying, preparing for classes, sitting exams; it is quite another to live, eat and breathe the language around the clock: the challenges of using it in everyday life, of being able to order food and drink, converse about current affairs, the weather, philosophy or the arts, deal with bureaucrats and plumbers, landlords and librarians, negotiate one’s way around a new country and a new way of life.” Annette Zimmermann, Language Development Officer, School of Modern Languages.

Immersing yourself in another culture is a great way to learn a new language, enhance your existing language skills and discover a new world. Even cultures which may initially seem very close to your own will surprise you in many ways. However, you don’t always need a language to study abroad. Many of the University’s European partners offer courses in English for students from disciplines other than languages, while offering the opportunity to try language classes alongside your studies. Whether or not you are taking classes in a foreign language, your education will definitely be extended beyond the classroom.

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