I attended a discussion today regarding studying abroad. I must say, I find the whole thing quite appealing.
I have travelled extensively around Western Europe and Asia over the last couple of years (close to 20 countries now or so I think, I haven’t counted the total number) and was going to stay abroad this year to just travel (I love travelling if you haven’t yet noticed!) and experience the world. Alas, I chose to go back to university instead, sadly, but not regretfully.
Although I find the whole experience appealing, there are a few limitations to studying abroad though compared to holidaying:
- You actually do have to study… or not… if you are one of those people (although why waste your tuition money if you don’t?)
- Studying restricts you from travelling around to see what other countries are like – having said this, you could always travel around on the weekends and holidays. European countries are close enough for you to do this
- Money – ahhhh yes – can be a problem if you don’t have any!! I was very surprised though, on the different scholarships or aids you could apply for to assist you monetarily! It is very beneficial for those who need financial aid. But wouldn’t it be better to work first (to save up for your trip) then have an abundance of free time where you can splurge your money (sometimes) guilt free?
- Yes, you meet lots of new friends and interesting people when studying abroad – but you have to put yourself out there!! It is the same if you are holidaying as well! If you know how to communicate effectively with people, it is not a problem to struck up a conversation with a stranger! Try it!
- You may or may not get credits for the subjects you undertake when overseas… and what happens when you fail that course? Oh damn.
- You need to have studied 2 years into your course already (well that counts me out!). But there are summer programs you can do in between which are 4-7 weeks only!
- There are so many exchange programs UQ has with other universities around the world! I was flabbergasted by the list!
- You have to plan 2 semesters away before you travel – all my holidays, I have planned 1 month before I travel – I know it’s not cheap to do it this way, but if you are working two jobs which are unpredictable, it is hard to plan long term – You don’t know what will happen down the track! Rather than saving $200-500 in fares, tours, discounts etc by being an early bird and booking a year/six months in advance, then finding out that you can’t travel on those particular dates, then having to go through the process of changing your flights and tours and flights again (multiple stop overs when travelling to and from the land down under!) – which will end up costing you extra of anywhere up to $1000!
Having said all this, the experience you receive living overseas, in one spot for 6 months, and learning about their education system, their culture, ideologies or their way of life would be totally mind blowing. I know I wouldn’t be doing it any time soon but I would be totally jealous of anyone who has or is going to do it.
Where are some places you have been? Would you live there for 6 months?