University life is fun and exciting for many reasons, from the workshops available between courses where you can learn new things to the society’s and clubs on offer. But one of the most amazing opportunities available to students is studying abroad. Whilst it differs between campuses across the UK, most institutions offer the chance for their students to apply to study abroad in a sibling site somewhere else in the world for either a semester or a whole year. For me this was something I knew I wanted to do before I decided upon my course, but you don’t have to have always wanted to do this to get involved. There are pros and cons alike when it comes to deciding whether this opportunity it is for you, but today we are going to focus on some of the positives.

Firstly, going to university in the same country you were born in is a challenge in itself, but going to a completely new place (in my case the Netherlands) is lifechanging in how it helps you find your feet. By adapting to the cultural norms of others, from learning the language to shopping for groceries, this is a situation in which you will be completely adult and doing things for yourself every day 24/7. For me this seemed a little scary to begin with but, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this is a mission of sorts. By acquiring new skills and really pushing myself to achieve them, I will appreciate them more and feel much more comfortable with being away from home once back in the UK also. This pro is quite a personal one, so everyone will have a different list.

Next on the list, the academic side to studying abroad. This is a chance to get to know another culture just as a local would and to learn things to a level you might not be able to anywhere else in the world. The reason I chose the Netherlands is because in my opinion, it has a very underrated history and this is something I want to learn more about. The modules offered by my chosen university focus in upon these aspects all the way from the Dutch peoples of 1648 to the present day. This is something I would not be able to learn to the same degree at my current university, though by learning about it elsewhere it may be something I can develop further myself individually when I get back to bring other people into the know on a wider scale.

Overall, studying abroad period is just a fantastic opportunity to push yourself to the max and develop your individual voice even further. You will make new memories, see the world in a different light and return home to your next semester a slightly changed person. If you are eager for adventure, I cannot recommend it more. For whilst there are cons, the pros always outnumber them.

So if you plan on studying abroad, take a look at this checklist to see what you should do first…

Written by Charlotte Stevenson