The thought of studying abroad may seem unrealisable – but in fact, there are numerous fantastic opportunities out there, waiting for you to become involved. How you go about this is simple – read on to find out.
Study abroad is suitable for anyone. Regardless of your area of interest, location and availability, there are so many courses on offer that your programme can be tailored to your needs. These programmes give you the chance to open up your perspectives with life-changing experiences.
There are so many websites, programmes, organisations and locations offering opportunities for study abroad that it can be hard to know where to begin. There are several decisions you need to make to get started: firstly, where you want to study, secondly what you want to study, and thirdly for how long. Your budget also need to be taken into consideration.
When you choose your destination for study abroad, consider somewhere that offers more than a lively tourist industry. Think about places with a rich cultural heritage, sites of historical or modern economic, social or cultural significance. Your chosen destination should appeal to your field of interest, be applicable to your career choice or course of study, and most of all give you something lasting to come away with – this may be enhanced language skills, accumulated study credits, or simply broadened horizons.
The many fantastic study abroad locations available range from New Zealand, for those after conservation or ecology courses, to Morocco, for Arabic classes, to India, for a vibrant cultural experience in a growing technical economy, to London, Paris, Rome and many more. There are schools in which to study abroad all over the world – some closer to home than others. Often, you can choose a multi-country programme, rather than remain in one location.
For some, the choice of subject will be determined by their current course. This does not need to be the case, however. Many study abroad programmes take on students who do not major in that particular field, so not only can you improve and develop your knowledge of your own specialist field, you can add complementary disciplines that you may not otherwise have the chance to explore.
Subject and destination are fairly closely linked, in that some places are more relevant for particular subjects than others. Often one city or country has all sorts of experiences on offer: one example is New York, where you can get involved with programmes ranging from business and economics to art history and curating. Look at the local institutions – universities, language schools, architecture, museums etc – and be guided by the existing infrastructure to orientate yourself among the myriad of courses and providers.
Length of study and budget
Deciding how long to study abroad for should fit in with your current course, and be long enough to ensure you derive a real benefit from going abroad in the first place. If your location is a considerable distance away, a longer period may be justified. All sorts of lengths of courses can be found to suit all kinds of agendas. Sometimes you may want to split your study abroad between different places for different amounts of time: anything is possible.
A less attractive but nonetheless important consideration is your budget. Often, going to study abroad with your university on a transfer programme is a cheaper option. Booking early can secure considerable discounts. Where you stay makes a difference: big cities will be more expensive than elsewhere, and the living costs of London, Paris and New York in particular are not trivial.
Getting out there
Study abroad is an eye-opening and rewarding experience that makes you globally engaged and supplies you with lifelong skills. Not only this, but it is affordable, with a diverse and individual range of locations and subjects to choose from, and easy to access, thanks to a whole host of providers, online and off. Your passage is eased every step of the way – these companies help you with visa applications, accommodation, travel and much else besides.
This article was supplied by the University of East Anglia International Summer School - one of the UK’s top 20 universities and a world top 150. For more advice about studying in the UK, visit The British Council website.