Year Abroad Series- Part 1: Should I Do A Year Abroad?
Hello everyone, today I will be talking about study abroad and how to decide whether or not to go through with it (based on my own experience)! I will be talking about the pros and cons of doing a year abroad (based on my opinions and experiences) and then in my next post I will provide you with some information about the year abroad programme for Law!
Pros and Cons: Timeframe
Firstly, you will be graduating a year later than your cohort, so you will have to be prepared to do your final year with a different cohort and with many of your friends and peers having already graduated. This can bring about the fear of being isolated in your final year, however keep in mind that you will have the year abroad cohort who will be in the same position as you when you return to Warwick, so it should not be too hard to find someone you can relate to and this could be a chance to make more friends! You can even share your experiences with each other which (from asking those who have returned) I have always found to be a very exciting and interesting conversation. Do not worry too much over the fact that you will graduate a year later than peers- especially those of you who have already had a shortened experience of university due to the pandemic! I would think of it as an opportunity to experience the university life that was not available last year because of Covid-19!
Pros and Cons: Challenges
Another thing you may be worried about is the fact that you will have to be prepared to live independently in another country and this can be very difficult- for instance, there may be language barriers, social barriers or cultural barriers to overcome. I cannot say that these will be easy to overcome, however upon asking returners about these issues most have said that overcoming these challenges was actually the best part about the year abroad! Many of them thought it was a good thing that they were brought out of their comfort zones and had the opportunity to push their limits- think of it this way: you have the chance to learn about a new culture, learn a new language, and to improve your confidence and life skills by living alone! Moreover, having a bank of experiences to draw from your year abroad can be super useful when it comes to applications and interviews, where you are usually questioned about times when you showed certain skills such as resilience, problem solving, etc (based on my experience with law applications) which can be easily answered by the sorts of things you will encounter while taking on a year abroad.
Pros and Cons: Funding
A final con of the year abroad may be the funding for it; there is a lot of money that goes into flights, accommodation, etc and I see how this can be a huge problem- especially since student finance does not always approve early loan schedules. However, if you put in your student finance application early enough, it will give them plenty of time to look over your application and approve an early payment schedule. Furthermore, there are numerous grants and bursaries available from the government and from the university which can help fund this opportunity- you just have to do a bit of research to see what is available to you! Additionally, the tuition fee for the year is also lowered greatly, for instance my tuition fee reduced from around £9000 to around £1400 (this will vary based on which destination you go to and whether you are an international or domestic student in the UK).
I hope going through these pros and cons has helped some of you make a decision regarding doing a year abroad, or perhaps even sparked some interest for it! In my next post I will be talking specifically about the Law year abroad programmes, so keep an eye out! As always, let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as possible!