Everybody says “it’ll be the best time of your life” or “you’re only young once” – and they’re right! Taking the plunge and spending a year or a few months studying abroad really is one of the best choices you can make at uni.
I can tell you this as I am currently spending a year abroad on placement myself in Malta. Unlike a lot of students I have already experienced working abroad, but when the option came up at university I decided to take another chance. Why? It is full of opportunities and different days to the norm.
Hopefully you will land yourself a good work placement and a good bunch of people to live with. How much you enjoy a particular placement can be a gamble, but the people you meet will make it. Wherever you go you’ll always find fabulous people who are completely different, yet you’ll bond like you’ve known each other for years because you’re all sharing the same experience – taking the plunge and jetting off to experience somewhere new.
Another huge advantage of doing a placement abroad at university is that you’re being funded to do it! Most placements are unpaid but you can find some that will pay you – and it helps that living costs are a lot cheaper than the UK in some countries.
You need to keep your wits about you though – being skint somewhere without the easy access help of mum and dad can be a little daunting! But remember you’re still entitled to help from your university if the worst happens.
There are so many placements available through Erasmus and via your own searches so travelling to some exotic destination is in reach if you want it. I landed myself in Malta after originally being destined for America – plans change and there may be hiccups along the way – but if studying abroad is something that really interests you, you will persevere and make it happen.
Even if you still don’t know exactly what you want to do (I’m still the same!), find something that interests you or you think you enjoy and try that position out. You can even try and arrange a placement where you have a few different roles so you’re not stuck in the same place for the entire time. My friend is doing that now and she’s enjoyed her placement so far – some areas of it more than others, but then you learn from it and realise your preferred interests.
Again, as everybody says, you will experience new cultures and it will broaden your horizon, it truly will. Considering we live in a multi-cultural world and living in Cardiff is as diverse as any major city in the UK, living and breathing in another country is completely different.
Each place has something different to offer that isn’t part of your usual day to day routine, and it will definitely give you a different perspective on life. Any experience is a good experience!
Want to know more about studying abroad while at Cardiff Met? Catch up on Jenny’s India experience, or read Grace’s tips for preparing to study in another country.