Whether it’s for your full term of study, a designated year out of a longer course, or even just a placement of a few weeks or months, it’s likely you could get the opportunity to study abroad while you’re in education.
This is a great chance to broaden your horizons and meet new people who you would never normally get the chance to talk to, and really immerse yourself in another culture. Whether this is something that emerges from a particular specialism you study, as a natural result of studying a foreign language degree or a formal programme like the Erasmus organisation, it’s an opportunity to be seized.
As well as being a personal opportunity, the independence and motivation to spend time studying abroad looks very good on a CV and will be a good way to help you stand out from the crowd when you’re looking for your first jobs. It also helps you broaden what will become your professional network, once you and your fellow international students graduate. The people you make friends with now, whether they’re like you, finding their feet in a foreign country or if they’re the students and teachers welcoming you, might well be in a position to recommend you for a job or speak on your behalf in the years to come.
One of the challenges you’ll face is feeling lonely and homesick – you shouldn’t underestimate this. The flip side of having a new country to explore and make your own is being much more isolated than you might be used to. Even if you speak the language of your new temporary home, it can be isolating to not be able to talk regularly in your native tongue, to be separated from your friends and family and not even have familiar programmes on the tv and radio.
One thing you can do to help combat this is make sure you stay in touch with your friends and relatives back home. With programs like Skype, and Apple devices’ built-in FaceTime app, having quality time with your family back home is easier than ever before. Depending on where you’ve travelled to, you may not be able to use your normal mobile network. Fortunately, using secure services, relatives can send top up wherever you are in the world so you can always keep in touch when you need to.