In a rowing boat on a canal in Amsterdam

July 11, 2022, by Jackie Thompson

Stand Out From the Crowd With International Experiences (Part 1)

Do you aspire to be a global graduate? Want to enhance your employability while travelling the world? Dreaming of an international career? 

If yes, then studying or working abroad during your degree can help you on your way. Two students talk about their time abroad and what they’ve learned. You can also read about Lauren and Olivia’s experiences in Canada and Switzerland. 

Charlie Herring, history

Charlie Herring sitting in a field of tulips

I chose to study abroad as part of my degree as I saw it as a unique opportunity to live in another country and interact with their culture which would allow me to experience travel in an immersive way. I also knew that it would allow me to meet people from all over the world and thus not only learn about Dutch culture but also a multitude of others.

Living and studying in Amsterdam

I lived in Amsterdam and studied humanities at the University of Amsterdam, taking courses in history, philosophy, economics, and literature. Not only did it allow me to study material outside of the University of Nottingham syllabus, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn about the history and literature important to the Netherlands and specifically Amsterdam.

During my stay, I visited many museums, parks, clubs, restaurants, and bars as well as food and flea markets. I have been on canal cruises, rented a bike (despite being an inexperienced cyclist), and tried Dutch cuisine. I have also visited the northern border of Holland (where I saw tulip fields, windmills, and the beach), Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague.

A unique adventure

Studying abroad really pushed me outside of my comfort zone in terms of being away from loved ones, navigating life in a different country and adapting to a completely different style of education. However, I overcame many of these difficulties and thoroughly enjoyed my life there. I had some amazing experiences and met some incredible people from countries such as Greece, Sweden, Germany, Canada, France, and Italy. I forced myself to try new things and not take the opportunity for granted.

If studying abroad is something that you think sounds interesting, then apply! I was incredibly apprehensive about living in Amsterdam especially because I had never moved outside of my hometown but if I had never tried, I would have missed the chance to have a unique adventure that I will always remember fondly.

Daria Paterek, English with a Placement Year Daria Paterek with a view of a castle in the background

I decided to study abroad at The University of Zürich to challenge myself. As someone who only travelled to two countries before my term abroad, I wanted to do something that I knew would be tough but extremely rewarding.

I think that the biggest thing that I learned was adaptability and resilience. Despite not speaking any Swiss German, I’ve talked to locals, travelled to different parts of Switzerland, and become more confident in new environments.

Preparing for life after university

My advice for students considering studying abroad is – to go for it! You’ll have moments where you will be confused, lost, and stressed. But you’ll also learn the most from these uncomfortable experiences. Not only will you grow as a person, but you’ll also prepare yourself for entering the professional world. This is because you’ll learn how to adapt to new environments, talk to people from other cultures, and learn how to problem-solve effectively.

Inspired to find out more? Visit the Study Abroad website. When you return, talk to us about how you can present your experiences on your CV, application form or at an interview to help you stand out from the crowd.

Posted in Choosing Your CareerWork experience