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My Top 7 Reasons For Studying Abroad

The thought of studying abroad may be a terrifying prospect to many – living far away from home in a country that has different social expectations/language/culture can be quite daunting. However, for me, studying abroad has been a rewarding and life-changing experience. If you are considering studying abroad (or even if you have never given it any thought!), I hope that by the end of this article, you will be persuaded to give it a try! These are my top 7 reasons for studying abroad.

 

1) Meeting new people (and life-long friends)

During my exchange at McGill, I have met so many weird and wonderful people (who have come from so many different walks of life). During the months leading up to my exchange, I was so worried that I was going to be lonely, especially because I didn’t know anyone at McGill. However, thanks to activities such as Frosh, Society meet ups and the International Student’s Network (which exists at most universities around the world!), I have been able to meet so many people who have had such a positive impact on my life. In fact, during my year abroad, I have met life-long friends (that I will still be drinking wine with when I am 60… ?). Meeting new people from a completely different continent has been incredibly eye-opening and I have shared so many hilarious and heart-warming experiences with them.

Study Abroad Advice: If you are going abroad, make sure to really put yourself out there in order to meet people! Join as many societies as possible, go to as many meet ups and events as possible. You really have to make an effort, but it is 100% worth it!

(My frosh group!:)

2) Travelling!

During my exchange, I have been able to travel to places that I’d never thought I’d be able to go to – you don’t just have to stay within your country of exchange! If you have always dreamed of travelling around Europe, then studying within the UK or within Europe provides you with the perfect pathway for travelling! London, Paris, Brussels, Rome, Venice…. All at your fingertips! Being able to travel to new places with new people is an experience you’ll never forget.

Study Abroad Advice: Make sure to plan trips in advance in order to prevent them from coinciding with any midterms, finals or in-class tests. It is easy to just book a train/plane without thinking about future exams.

some friends and I at Niagara Falls:

3) Learning a New Language (Or Perfecting Language Skills)

Studying abroad provides you with the perfect opportunity to learn a new language or perfect any language skills that you already have! It is a well-known fact that in order to become fluent in a language, you should attempt to live in the country that speaks it. Even though living in a country that doesn’t speak your mother tongue can be incredibly intimidating, think of all the possibilities and how this can help improve your skills. Furthermore, learning a new language through living somewhere is an exciting journey that not many people get to experience.

Study Abroad Advice: Don’t be put off by the fact that you will make (many many many) language mistakes. People are always understanding and native speakers will be so happy that you are willing to learn their mother tongue!

4) Study Something New!

During your year abroad, there will be many opportunities to study new subjects that your program at McGill might not provide. Even though my major is Linguistics, I was able to take classes on Feminist theory, music history, psychology and philosophy during my year abroad. Because of this, I feel that I have been able to expand on my knowledge as well as learn new things that my course at UCL would not have taught me.

Study Abroad Advice: Before applying to a university, make sure that you are able to get enough credits in order to stay on your major pathway!

5) Embellish your Resume!

Studying abroad can provide you with so many unique additions to your resume – We all know that employers are constantly looking for employees that stand out from the rest of the crowd. Make sure to take on as many activities as possible during your study abroad (there are endless volunteering possibilities!). Who knows, you might even find a new passion! During my exchange at McGill, I was able to volunteer at a secure juvenile centre as well as work with a young person suffering from a language disorder. All of these things have been insanely eye-opening. Studying abroad can help you get a step closer to your dream job/Master’s/PhD.

Study Abroad Advice: Go to all of the activity days and sign up to as many clubs as possible! Use up your free time (you will find that you will have a lot!) and really make an effort. It will be 100% worth it!

6) A Fresh Start!

For some of us, studying abroad can be a way of re-starting. University can be incredibly difficult and overwhelming and can take its toll on your mental health. Studying abroad can provide the perfect escape/clean slate by being able to re-write yourself without feeling tied down by school work (most year abroad schemes place very little pressure on grades. My year abroad scheme only required me to pass my modules whilst at McGill). Making new memories, meeting new people and being able to re-invent yourself in a new environment (most of the time without even knowing it!) can really help to overcome some of that stress.

Study Abroad Advice: during your year abroad, don’t place to much stress on ‘trying to find yourself’. Even though many students claim to have ‘found themselves’ during their year abroad, they probably did this without thinking about it. Sometimes seeing new things and experiencing new things help to form a new mind-set! Just relax and focus on having fun! Never put stress on yourself!!!!!

(After struggling with mental health, my year abroad helped me to regain my happiness: 

7) Making memories that you’ll never forget…

I am incredibly sad to be leaving McGill in the summer. I have made so many wonderful new friends and have spent many early mornings and late nights travelling, laughing, learning new things and just seeing the world (in both positive and negative lights). Everyone to whom I have spoken to who has studied abroad always says the same thing: “I will never forget it and I’m so glad that I did it!” – So even though the thought of studying abroad can be intimidating, it might be the best decision that you’ll ever make!

A friend and I made it to Disney Land during my year abroad:

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