What’s the Point in Studying Abroad?

Before I even applied to university I knew I wanted to study abroad and it was the amount of options to do so on offer at Essex that made it my first choice university. Most of the courses here allow you to do either a term or a year abroad in one of many countries around the world. I’m now studying at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and I’m really enjoying my time here and I feel that I have already improved so many skills and that the experience has really enriched the already amazing time I was having at Essex. If you’re thinking about doing some of your course abroad or are not sure then I have some reasons that should convince you!

“Shall we go to Las Vegas this weekend?”

DSCN2196.JPG Vegas’ very own Eiffel Tower

One of the best things about being in Arizona and just studying abroad in general is the ability to spontaneously decide to go on a trip somewhere that would usually be a long haul flight away! This past weekend, myself and a few friends from Essex met up in Las Vegas, as it’s only a 5 hour drive away. Weekends away and day trips are a great way to explore your new home and there’s plenty of opportunity to do so. I’ve also been to the Grand Canyon and will be heading over to Los Angeles in a few weeks time. I have friends all over the world who’ve taken trips to rain forests in Australia and waterfalls in Canada. Why not take the opportunity whist you have the chance?

“Where’s my passport?”

13531949_799815480119597_1712336630_n The paperwork pays off when you get your visa even if it does look like a mugshot!

I’m ashamed to say it but I have asked myself this question more times than I care to admit! I’m not a very organised person at all, but the process of studying abroad has really improved my admin skills (although I think my bedroom will always be in a state of organised chaos). There is a lot of form filling when it comes to studying abroad and nobody else is responsible for it except you. It’s so rewarding though when you finally arrive at your destination after university, visa and accommodation applications. Depending on where you’re going you better also watch out for writing your date of birth the wrong way around, like I’ve done in the US! It’s all this paperwork that gets you to your destination and you have to be so organised and on top of it which are great skills to have in the real world. And, if you’re like me you might even enjoy some of it!

“I can’t find my classroom!”

giphy1

Studying abroad is like being a fresher all over again. You’re not only starting at a new university, but you’re in a different country and have to find your way around and get used to a new way of learning. Here at NAU, my campus is huge compared to Essex and I have been lost so many times. I used to take a different route to class everyday! The method of teaching in America is also quite different. I don’t have lectures, only classes, and everyone is expected to participate because we are graded on how much we get involved with the discussion. At first I found this quite daunting but now I find myself speaking up more than I ever have before and I actually really enjoy it! Whilst it has taken some time to find my way around and to adjust to new ways of learning it has definitely been worth it.

I hope that if you’re thinking about studying abroad that this has given you an insight into what it’s like and that you take the chance to go out and explore the world and what studying is like in different places. The Essex Abroad website with more information can be found here https://www.essex.ac.uk/essexabroad/.

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