by Natalie Froome
It’s come to that time of year when module choices need to be made. This also means that, if your course allows, you can decide to take a semester abroad.
UEA has connections with universities around the world, and travelling is an exciting idea. However, it can be hard to know ‘is this the right thing for me?’
We’ve compiled a list of considerations for you to think about…
Exchange rates change and prices vary. Make sure you have some idea of how much it’s going to cost you to get to your destination, and how much it’ll cost you to live there.
A unique opportunity
It’s the kind of experience you can only really have at university. We’re old enough to look after ourselves, but young enough not to have too many responsibilities. Will you get this chance again?
There’s a whole world of people you haven’t met yet. Who knows? You could meet your new best mate in Australia/Japan/Canada/Germany…
Leaving old friends
Will you be able to keep in touch and keep the friends you have while you’re abroad? It’s a long time to be away and people can change.
There are usually requirements that you have to meet in your first year in order to be considered for a semester abroad. It would probably be a good idea to check what these are and if you’ve met them!
If you’ve already signed a contract on a house for the next academic year you could find yourself paying rent for the term that you’re not living there, as well as paying for accommodation in your destination country. Check with your landlord about your contract length, or ask about sub-letting your room to another student while you’re away. Remember, in the gateway to union house there’s an advice team who can help with any problems you have.
If you don’t speak the language of your destination country you’d better be a fast learner or you’re going to have a problem.
…something goes wrong? It probably won’t, but do you have the maturity and means to deal with things if they do? If you’re very disorganised or tend to panic in a crisis then this is something to consider carefully. If you’re in another country Mum and Dad can’t come and rescue you easily. While going abroad can build your confidence, it’s probably a good idea to have a bit of confidence already in case something goes wrong. Also bear in mind that other countries have different systems, for example if you get ill in America and don’t have insurance you could face a hefty bill.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that your university experience is what you make it. Also, remember it’s your decision. Whether you stay or go, it’s got to be the right thing for you.
(photo courtesy of Lena Bell at https://unsplash.com/@lenabell)