January 28, 2014, by International Office

More myths about studying abroad

Most students at The University of Nottingham have opportunities to study abroad during their course, but there are a number of popular misconceptions that may put them off taking advantage of this great opportunity. Yesterday we shared three of the most common myths, together with comments from some of our students who studied abroad during the 2012-13 year. Today we look at another four myths and the reality of studying abroad.

Study abroad myth #4: You have to study abroad for the full year

Katie Angus, who is studying BA English and studied abroad for a semester through the inter-campus exchange programme at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, writes:

“Most degree programs, subject dependent, offer study abroad for only one semester, which depending on country, lasts around four months. Four months is a great amount of time abroad, giving you enough days to really experience living abroad, and the depths of cultural difference between one country and the UK. Four months is enough time to develop long-lasting, international friendships and academically, begin to develop new skills in different modules and teaching styles from those at university here. Yet for me, and for most, four months simply was not long enough. After settling in, which has its ups and downs for everyone, life in Ningbo and China became so routine – just after as little as four months – that I did not want to leave. The flexibility of studying for a single semester means that if you study abroad for the Spring Semester, the choice of whether to leave and head home for the holidays or to stay for longer is up to you. Travelling is never easier nor cheaper than when you are already placed abroad and is something to take advantage of during the long summer break between the Spring and Autumn Semester of the following year. Studying for a single semester is the perfect length of time; it is not one whole year which could be a daunting prospect if you’ve never studied abroad before, and it offers a taster of life outside the UK, of travelling, languages, cultures and new experiences which, I can guarantee, will only make you want to return.”

Study abroad myth #5: You have to extend your degree programme to four years

Wilson Chow, who is studying BA Economics and International Economics and studied abroad for a semester through the University-wide exchange programme at the University of British Columbia, writes:

“This is certainly not true. On the other hand, it is actually a selling point of study abroad that you don’t need to extend or change the degree! While you will be spending one semester abroad, you have enough time to experience various exciting things and, at the same time, you do not leave Nottingham too long, and you can convert your study easily when you come back. Although you might miss some Nottingham modules, there is no need to feel disadvantaged because you will always gain some different perspectives on your degree in a new environment.”

Study abroad myth #6: You can’t work abroad

Naomi Todd, who is studying BA French and Spanish and studied abroad for a semester in France through the Erasmus programme and also worked abroad in Colombia, writes:

“Working abroad may not be on offer as part of your school’s partner exchanges. However, for some subjects, it’s possible to combine a semester study with a work placement before or after. This means you’re killing two birds with one stone as you’re not only doing a semester abroad but you will gain international experience! Both are particularly desirable on a graduate CV. A work placement abroad is particularly easy to do under the Erasmus programme for eligible students. It’s an EU-wide initiative which supports study and work placements in Europe. If you are an EU citizen, you do not have to apply for a student or work visa; therefore, you have a flexible capacity to fulfil both a semester studying and an internship in the summer before or after. What’s even better is the fact that you are most likely to be eligible for the Erasmus grant. The monthly grant is in place to support the living costs incurred whilst abroad, and even better, it’s non-repayable! You can receive the grant for up to 12 months for two placements, so why not make the most of it?”

Study abroad myth #7: You’ll miss out on life at Nottingham

Imtiyaz Basharat, who is studying BA Geography with Chinese Studies and studied abroad for a semester through the University-wide programme at the University of Hong Kong, writes:

“Studying abroad opens up an entirely new way of life. You’ll be so engrossed in your whirlwind exposure to a fantastic range of cultures, people, and environments that life back in Nottingham will be the last thing occupying your mind! Time really will fly when you’re exploring your new environment and before you know, you’ll be back on your way to Nottingham. Take the time to enjoy your new way of life abroad, build new connections and a memorable time. You won’t regret it!”

Visit the Study Abroad pages for more information – the deadline for our university-wide exchange programme is Friday 31 January 2014.

Posted in Reflections on studying/working abroad