Why should I study abroad?
Hi everyone! Thinking of studying abroad? University of St Andrews offers many wonderful partnerships across the globe. With the deadline for study abroad applications on Wednesday 9th November 2022, I thought I would share my experience about some of the best bits of being abroad!
Studying abroad can be an incredible opportunity to enhance your academic skillset and broaden your perspective. Getting used to new teaching and examination styles can be a bit of a learning curve but ultimately gives you a wider understanding of your discipline. It’s great to see how your subject is understood in different countries.
I had the opportunity to broaden my historical research skills through writing a research paper in Norway and built my confidence through taking face-to-face discussion-based exams in Prague. I have been able to carry these skills through to my fourth-year studies upon my return to St Andrews.
I chose to take many courses which were designed specifically for Erasmus+ students. Our lecture halls were filled with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. This made for interesting and thought-provoking discussions on topics such as how work culture differs across the world, and how the Cold War is taught differently in the East and the West. Similarly, I was able to share my own historical background. For example, I gave a presentation to my class about the Northern Irish troubles. This diverse blend of learning and perspectives only comes through studying abroad.
- See the world
It may sound obvious, but there’s no better way to escape the ‘Bubble’ than studying abroad! Getting the opportunity to explore the area that you’re in can make every day feel like a holiday. I loved the opportunity to go to museums, music festivals, Christmas and Easter markets, and on hikes. I was able to walk across Charles Bridge on my way to class and enjoy the view of Oslo fjord from the library.
Many students also find the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas as well. In both Prague and Oslo, I often took daytrips to other cities with my friends. We spent our Easter break interrailing around Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Switzerland. An opportunity I never imagined would come from studying abroad!
- Enhance your employability
Studying abroad grants so many wonderful transferrable skills. From cultural awareness to newfound independence to language skills, your CV will be jam-packed! In our increasing ‘global village’ of a world, these skills prove invaluable to many employers. Many students also find professional opportunities after studying abroad. For example, I spent my summer back in Norway doing an internship!
- Make friends
One of the great things about the study abroad community is that everyone’s in the same boat. Those around you have also packed up their lives and started fresh in a new place. Consequently, I have found that individuals studying abroad are often much more open and welcoming, each keen to meet new people and have fun adventures. I still talk to many of my study abroad friends almost every day. You never know who you’ll meet!
- Improve your language skills
There is no better way to learn a language than being immersed in the culture, and so if language-learning is your thing, it’s time to sign up to go abroad!
That said, many of our partner Universities offer courses in English. During my year to Oslo and Prague, all of my classes were taught in English, but I was also able to learn a lot of Norwegian and Czech through the teaching of my friends from those countries, free language classes offered by the University and independent learning (thank you, DuoLingo!). Making friends from across the globe can also enhance your language skills. (Somehow, I ended up learning more German than Czech when in Prague…).
If you have any more questions about if studying abroad is for you, feel free to drop me or Duncan an email at: [email protected]
Good luck with your application!