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.
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).
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.
As they say, Paris is always a good idea! 😉
Or “we’ll always have Paris….” 😉
Also, if you are considering studying at the Malaysian campus I would be happy to answer questions about what Malaysia is like, it is home after all. xx
I did a year abroad in the U.S. last year and I would strongly recommend it. I struggled financially, and for me being in a long-distance relationship (and 6 hour time difference) was harder than I had thought it would be. However it was just an amazing experience, and a completely unique opportunity. I was able to travel at the end for relatively cheap on greyhound buses across the States and think the year abroad can definitely be one of the best things about University; if not the best.