January 1, 2015, by Gemma Coleman

Study Abroad Decisions

I close my eyes and rest my forehead against the cool car window. I am in a shabby Parisienne cafe, sipping a rich black coffee and listening to the distant clatter of dishes and the bars of an Edith Piaf rhyme. I have a small pile of yellowing books in front of me as I scribble away furiously, brushing up on my French philosophers and listening to the chatter of seasoned locals. Open eyes.

Not a touch on the Trent building

Not a touch on the Trent building


I close them again and this time I am looking up at the skyscrapers, eyes wide and head dizzy, blinking in the bright lights. It is so humid, my clothes stick to me as I wander through a market, stall owners waving me over in Singlish: a strange mix between Singaporean and English.


Choosing a study abroad destination is tough (but what a nice decision to make!)- especially when you romanticise your experience as I often do. You might have to grapple with questions concerning finance, study plans, accommodation, long distance relationships, distance from home, language learning, culture shock… It is not as easy to press apply as I initially thought, at least for someone like me that just loves to overanalyse every last detail (even annoying myself in the process).

Nottingham's Ningbo Campus

Nottingham’s Ningbo Campus


Not wanting to make it all sound so daunting, here’s a few myth busters I discovered in the deep depths of research:

1. It’s so expensive! Maybe not, check out means-tested travel bursaries and destination specific scholarships: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/currentstudents/study-abroad/exchanges-overseas/study-abroad-finance.aspx – perhaps there is such thing as a free lunch after all…

2. I don’t speak French (can I let the funky music do the talking?)– if you’re not doing a language degree, all courses are taught in English. And breathe.

3. I can’t imagine being away from Notts… Why not see if you can apply to the China or Malaysia campus? They have their own versions of the Trent building if you can’t bear to be apart from the jewel of University Park Campus.


So, where will I end up? Paris? Singapore? Nottingham’s Ningbo, China campus? I have no idea but I’m pretty excited. Watch this space.


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