Five Reasons To Study Abroad

Friday 12 April 2019, First year

by Charlotte Stevenson

Five Reasons To Study Abroad

Charlotte Stevenson
Since I've moved away from the UK for a semester, there are lots of things which I both did and didn't expect in my new home. Living in the Netherlands is quite different from life at uni as I know it back in England, but this is an incredibly positive thing for many reasons.

So far on my journey I have learnt everything from how the Dutch swear in illnesses to the fact that I am always going to need to keep up on my reading with the standard 100 pages assigned every day. I've learnt that this is a city which stays afloat literally (with the help of specialised foundations buried deep in the earth) as well as metaphorically. This is a place of hard work, of determination and of freedom. The atmosphere is charged with something which makes me want to remain motivated enough to become the best version of myself there is. And it provides me with just enough joie de vivre that I don't spend all of my time in doors with my books.

For those of you considering a study abroad, here are my top 5 reasons you should go ahead with your plans:
Sometimes we must learn to fall before we can learn to fly - Image copyright CLSS 2017
1. Language

It's the opportunity to put into practice those dusty old French tenses or German slang words. There is no better place to put into practice a language than somewhere it is spoken all of the time. Whilst English is usually available, you have the option to try something new first hand and acquire a useful skill as a result.

2. Unique Specialisation

The modules taught in universities around the world differ in variety. Currently a field I am fascinated by is Dutch history because it's so underrated and here too I can learn from teachers who grew up in different parts of the Netherlands. Hearing their opinions, and more on another culture, means I have a unique and niche element to my specialisation as a degree student.

3. Friendships

There are so many friendly faces all eager to introduce themselves and share their stories. I think it's an important thing to note that you learn as much from your friends when in higher education as you do from your lecturers. The books they recommend and their views make for interesting conversation and ongoing debate which opens up so many new ideas.
Plus, I never would have met half of these amazing people I know if it hadn't been for this opportunity.

4. Comfort Zone

It isn't all blue skies and daisies - if I tried to tell you that, I would be lying. Being in a new country on your own for the first time does have its pitfalls. For instance, you're not around your family all of the time and you have to adapt very quickly to a bunch of new things. But again, this can be incredibly useful.

By learning to be versatile in your approach to life in general, your academic skill also improves vastly (particularly when it comes to organisation). Learning to stand on my own two feet outside of my comfort zone means that I am building up my ability to function as a fully independent human.

5. International Perspective

Lastly, the sum of all of the above is the most amazing thing; An international perspective. This benefits everyone around you as well as yourself because you will have something fresh to contribute to conversation.

There will be things you know about the world that you never could have found out without experiencing them in person. The you that returns home will always be slightly changed, not quite the same, but with a wider outlook.
Thank-you for all your support and comments. It is a fantastic thing to be able to help answer any of your questions and to share my adventure with all of you.