Why you should do a year abroad

With the exception of a few, most subject disciplines at most universities have the option to do a year abroad in several different countries around the world. And for those who don’t fancy a full year, anyone can apply to spend a term at various European universities with Erasmus.  

Granted, Freshers week and intro lectures still seem barely two minutes ago, but with deadlines fast approaching it’s already time to start putting the wheels in motion if you’re considering spending time abroad, either this year or next. 

And if you aren’t considering it, why not? 

No one could argue that leaving your family, friends and general home comforts behind isn’t a hugely daunting idea, and the prospect of getting your head around new languages, new food and new customs is overwhelming by anyone’s standards. But this is the ideal point in your life where you can so easily immerse yourself in something new for a year, before you’re bogged down under the weight of a job contract, mortgage and kids, and the crippling fear of old age.  

Potentially never again will you have such a plethora of vibrant, exciting cities at your fingertips and uni schemes that are so happy to accommodate you. When you’re crusty and old and sat reminiscing about your youth at the bridge club or fawning over the two grandkids sat on your lap, the memories you make studying abroad are what you’ll be wistfully looking back on, not the rainy 9am lectures or weekly, run of the mill club nights. Whether it’s the boulevards of Paris, the bright skyline of Hong Kong or the volcanic backdrop of Reykjavick, as cliché as it sounds, there’s a place out there for everyone.  

Jack Leigh, a third year Law student from Sheffield university, has recently moved to Prague to begin his year abroad at the Univerzita Karlova. Admittedly he was nervous at first, but just two weeks in he’s having the time of his life.  

“I’m so pleased I decided to go on my year abroad. It’s an incredible experience that I’ll never be able to replicate. In the first few days it was quite daunting, but it didn’t take long at all before it felt like home.” 

With so many cities available, deciding on a place is the hardest part. Once you’ve got that out the way it’s almost ‘plane’ sailing from there. There are financial grants to assist with the monetary aspect, the FCO’s Know Before You Go campaign to make sure you’re fully ready to travel, and big English speaking socials when you do get there.  

When you’re choosing your year abroad and getting ready to leave, make sure you get clued up on the local customs, health risks and necessary visas, or you’re setting yourself up for a fall before you’ve even got there. All this information is readily available on the Foreign Office’s website.

Are you thinking of doing a year abroad? Let us know in the comments below!