Words by Anya Lazarus
If you are anything like me, this will be the 17th study abroad related blog you’ve read today.
You’re still looking for that one last thing to tip you over the edge; to make you fill in that application and hand it into your university’s study abroad office once and for all.
Apart from the usual “, you will find yourself” (honestly) bullshit, you have read almost everywhere, the rest of it all is pretty much true. Now, I don’t want to be that person who comes home and starts every sentence with “on my year abroad..” but of course I will be drawing on my own experiences here to help you make the best decision of your life.
So, let’s start with a bit about me…
I was a second-year University student in a small town outside London, but in all honesty, I made my decision to go abroad way before my uni days even started. Why? I was just bored. So bored that it was leading to all kinds of problems; I was turning into the kind of person who was jealous and bitter of others who were truly enjoying their university experiences, and I didn’t want to be that person anymore. My course was becoming tiresome. I was waking up in a cold student house every morning to do the same tedious tasks day after day and, honestly, life is just too short not to enjoy it!
Sound like you? Ask yourself this:
Why Stay in the UK?
I don’t mean to sound snobbish, but traveling kind of does that to you. Why stay in the UK? In the same town, you’ve been in for the past 2 years with the same people? If you’re like me, you want to explore, meet new people, and have amazing new experiences before the real world starts after graduation. So what better way to do this than a (technically) free semester/year living in a foreign country and throwing yourself into a new culture?
If you can think of any better time in your life for this to happen, then please leave a message in the comments below, because I’d honestly love to know!
You grow, by golly, do you grow.
If you think moving away from home to university was a big step towards independence, imagine living an ocean away from the comfort blanket that is a 2-hour train ride home for the weekend. Living abroad gives you a whole other kind of independence. You have thrown yourself into the middle of a new culture and probably somewhere where English isn’t the first language. You learn to figure things out for yourself, even the small things like asking a local for directions in their native language because you don’t have data abroad. All these small exchanges, however unbeknown to you, actually increase your confidence when speaking to native speakers and increases your openness and ability to learn a new language. Forget the fact that you are 10 times as likely to get hired if you speak another language, it’s also so fucking cool to be multilingual!
You get free accommodation anywhere in the world!
You think you’re studying abroad alone, but as soon as you get to your chosen university, you will be thrown into an international student orientation where you will meet 70 more people from countries all over the world; and they’re all ready to share their experiences and culture with you. As you go through the struggles of being a foreigner in a strange land together, you create everlasting bonds and friendships with people in such a short space of time.
People make experiences. People can make a night out in your shitty local club the best night out you’ve ever had. People can also make or break your study abroad experience. Throwing yourself into university life is the best way to make friends with locals and to assimilate yourself. As a random Brit, who went to a random liberal arts school in a rando small town in Florida, being involved on campus was great and the only way to meet people. So, I joined a sorority (lol) because, why not? Studying abroad is about trying new things so while I was living in America, I thought why not be as cliché as possible?
Guaranteed, you will find your people abroad. The Christina to your Meredith or the Dick to your Dom. These people have the same ideals and outlooks on life as you (adventurous AF) and are honestly the best people to surround yourself with.
So go abroad, have adventures, do something different with your life! Why should you study abroad?
Why TF not!