Alisha D'Souza in Arizona as part of her study abroad

August 10, 2023, by Jackie Thompson

I Cannot Recommend Studying Abroad Enough

By Alisha D’Souza, geography student

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

If your answer is yes, then studying abroad during your degree can help you on your way. Alisha talks about how she prepared for her time abroad and what life was like at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

One of the main reasons I wanted to study abroad was because I love to travel and to visit new places, and the great thing about the US is that it is such a huge country and so there are so many opportunities for outdoor activities.

Choosing Arizona

In terms of preparing for my study abroad, I did a lot of research into accommodation, module choices, and just general research about the local area to help me get my bearings.

One of the reasons I chose the University of Arizona was the unique module choices offered, for example, a module on the Geographies of Central America and the Caribbean and a module on Crime and the City. I really recommend looking at modules at your host university beforehand to decide what would be a good fit, because although studying abroad is about so much more than the academic side, the work is still a big part of the experience, and it makes it so much easier to adapt to the new learning style if you have chosen modules that you think you will enjoy.

Another thing I did before coming was to reach out to people at the University of Nottingham who had studied abroad at the University of Arizona. This was really helpful as I had a lot of little questions about the lifestyle and college life, and I was able to get these answered before going which helped me feel more prepared and less like I was being thrown into chaos.

Getting involved

In terms of extracurriculars, I had a part-time job on campus which I really enjoyed. It was a great way to meet people and to make some extra money that I was able to spend on food and travelling. I felt a lot less homesick than I anticipated and I think that keeping busy with the part-time job played a big role in this.

The University of Arizona was great as there were plenty of events held on campus, ranging from American football games and frat parties to barbecues and music festivals. Living on campus was so convenient for me as I was able to walk everywhere and get involved with everything offered by the university. If you live on campus in America, it is likely you will have to have a roommate(s) but the idea is honestly a lot more daunting than reality. I found that privacy was easily maintained as long as you communicated and were mindful of one another. I would completely recommend living in dorms because of how convenient the location was and because it is a great way to meet more people and get the full university experience.

Making friends

I was lucky in that I found a great group of friends who I was able to hang out with and do fun activities like eating out or hiking and they really helped Arizona feel like home.  My next tip for you is to reach out to other exchange students to make plans with them when you arrive – often your host university can provide details on how to do this. This is how I met most of my friends.

Pushing yourself

Overall, I cannot recommend studying abroad enough. I was only there for a semester and I wish I could’ve extended my time there. These were the best few months of my life and although it was super scary to make the push to move across the world by myself, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it was so rewarding and so, so worth it.

If you’re thinking about studying abroad while at Nottingham, find out more on the Study Abroad website. We also have lots of information on our website about gaining an internship outside the UK and working overseas after your degree.

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