Studying Abroad! The Ins, The Outs, The Highs, The Lows.
Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity to put yourself out there and gain experience in a completely different environment you aren’t used to; both a daunting and nurturing experience. You may be very apprehension about applying to study abroad especially if you aren’t used to putting yourself out there and saying yes to new experiences. However, taking the plunge and diving in is the only way to overcome this and what you gain from this journey will be worth it!
Applying to Study Abroad
I knew I wanted to study abroad from when I began in first year so I started to think about the process early. When applying, make sure you apply with plenty of time before the deadline and do your research about each country that is offered to you, which area you will be staying in, what kind of attractions are nearby and accessibility to travel to other places. Decide what you would like to gain from your experience and choose accordingly to this.
I, personally, knew I wanted apply to study outside of Europe as I didn’t have much experience of this and wanted to push myself and have that exposure to a culture very different from our own in the UK. This is why I decided to apply to study in Singapore. I knew the work culture would be so diverse from the UK and I thought if I was going to live in another country for three months, I should go nearly half way around the world as I may never get this opportunity again!
When applying, show your interest in studying abroad to the team and ask plenty of questions. Finally, know what grades you need to achieve in your year prior to be able to qualify to go on your study abroad period and use this to motivate you!
Planning your Trip
Once you have secured your place to study abroad, it can be very confusing knowing what processes need to be done and by what deadline. Normally, there is a designated supervisor who is in charge of the study abroad students and they will organise a meeting to keep you up to date. Find out who this person is and get into contact with them if you have any questions.
My biggest piece of advice is to find a student who has already been to the place you are travelling to as no one knows the process more than someone who has been through it. They can help to reassure you if you are unsure of what is required to get to your destination smoothly! They can tell you how long a visa takes to come, what you can expect when you arrive, what documents you need and reassure you of any concerns you have. Reach out to these people and don’t be shy to ask endless questions so that you feel prepared.
What to Expect Abroad
Once you’ve made it to your destination, it’s difficult to know exactly what challenges you will face, what you will learn and adventures you will go on. The first few days/weeks will always be an adjustment period to your new location and your new routine and you may have a lot of things you need to organise to get you started. For me, I had a lot to organise to ensure I validated my visa and getting a sim card. I remember feeling stressed because everyone expected me to be having the time of my life only a few days into my trip when I was spending it adjusting and being slightly overwhelmed. This is to be expected and don’t feel disheartened if your first few days doesn’t live up to the expectations you have set for your time away.
As the title suggests, going abroad has it’s shares of highs and lows. You may feel homesick, you may feel lonely or you may be scared to meet new people and travel to new places you aren’t used to. This is so common and the situations where you feel uncomfortable will only strengthen you. I was so scared to introduce myself and meet new people without the support of my friends at home who always did this for me. But after a while, I thought to myself “What have I got to lose?” and this has massively improved my confidence when meeting someone new.
Finally, studying somewhere so diverse to the UK has definitely changed my outlook on all aspects of life. Experiencing the intense work culture in Singapore drove me to become more inquisitive within my studies and take initiative. Hearing how completely different the lives of others were in this part of the world made me open up my mind to not see the world in just one certain way and showed me that I could take so many paths in my future if I pushed myself to it. I travelled to countries around Asia and saw things I never thought I would, heard countless crazy stories and made friends for life! Take the plunge and apply to go abroad and I promise you will not regret it.
Please don’t hesitate to message me about any questions you have!