Studying abroad – not sure if it’s right?
After finishing lectures for second year at the end of last term, my third and final year of GSD is becoming more of a reality. My degree is a three year BASc, with the option of doing either an integrated or intercalated year out – the integrated option is a six-month study in Warwick’s partner university at Monash in Melbourne over the second half of second year and counts towards your degree marks. Instead, I chose to do an intercalated year that extends my degree by an extra year but allows more time to study and travel.
Intercalated years do not have to be years abroad, but can also be work placements, however study abroad was what interested me the most. After applying for university in the USA, I’ve always been interested in taking the opportunity but talked myself out of it for several reasons. Luckily, I decided to apply for a place at Queen’s University, Canada, through my department and was offered it in term 1 of second year – and preparations are now ensuing for the year there! My blogs in the future will definitely be centred around finding places, how to apply, and how to prepare, but for now I wanted to share some concerns I had before applying in case you were worried about this opportunity.
1. Not graduating with my cohort
I argued internally about this for a while – being in the first cohort of GSD students meant that I was really keen to graduate with the coursemates that had had the same experiences that I did, and that I spent the majority of my class time with. After speaking to different people, I soon realised that a year abroad was an option for a lot of people and that 18 of us would all return in the same year to continue at Warwick. Not only that, but I found that so many people who had studied abroad said the experience was worth the extra year – and the opportunity seemed too great¬
2. Not knowing what to expect
This terrified me while deciding whether or not to go for a year – coming from a 15-minute drive from Warwick, I was worried about the support system that would be around me for the year there. Speaking to students from Queen’s/other Canadian universities that are at Warwick (through Study Abroad events) and current Warwick students there helped this – the unexpectedness is something that makes the challenge greater but more worthwhile, and can bring some amazing opportunities from what I have heard!
3. Leaving behind societies and friends, and having a lot graduate before my return
Finally, not knowing who would be there at Warwick after a return from the year abroad was a large influence on me not wanting to go. Making this decision in first term of second year meant that I hadn’t had much time to get to know the first years that had joined, so I wouldn’t have known that there would be friends that I had made that’ll still be here upon return. Not only that, but so many students look at doing a fourth year here that there’ll still be people here when you get back – which stopped my final fear.
I hope that this blog helped a little if you had any of the concerns that I did before deciding on a year abroad! I’ll be blogging about my journey to Queen’s as it goes, and I can’t wait to share it with you!