November 10, 2016, by Leon Man

Is Studying Abroad Right For Me? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

By Leon Man, Study Abroad Senior Peer Adviser
Reading time: 5 minutesGuoda Zukaite 4

Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to experience something different, go travelling, and boost your CV. But for many students, the idea of going to somewhere new and out of your comfort zone can be very daunting!

Come along to our Study Abroad Fair on Wednesday 16th November, 12-4pm at the Atrium, Portland Building, to speak to students and Peer Advisers who’ve been abroad.

But before you do, here are 5 questions to consider to decide if studying abroad is right for you:

1. What do I want to get out of my university experience?

There are so many things you can do at Nottingham – playing sports, being part of a society, volunteering, going out with you mates… But what if you want to do something different? Nottingham is one of the most international universities in the UK, with opportunities to go and study abroad around the globe. This means instead of studying from Hallward, you could be revising on a beach. Or instead of trekking up Portland Hill, you could go hiking in the Alps over the weekend!

Most students who studied abroad say that it was their favourite and most memorable part of their university experience. This is because you learn a lot from your time abroad, meet new friends from around the world, and you will begin to see the world and see yourself in a different way.

2. What do I want to do after university?

You might want to work for a multinational company, you might want to study a Masters, or you might have no idea at all. Regardless of your plans, studying abroad broadens your mind set and gives you something to talk about in interviews.

If you want to work for a big company, then international experience is highly valued. Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples:

  • PwC (professional services) looks for global acumen as one of their key skills

  • Roland Berger (strategy consulting) explicitly cites studying abroad as evidence of having personality, a broad perspective, and empathic outlook

  • Aviva (insurance) looks for graduates with the propensity to work with different cultures

  • CMS (law firm) looks for an international outlook

Why? Because it shows that you’re mature, independent, flexible, adaptable, proactive, willing to challenge yourself, culturally aware…the list goes on.

If you want to apply for postgraduate study, then studying abroad is a great way to experience a different education system and teaching method. Depending on your course, you might be able to take modules that you can’t do at Nottingham as well. This really helps you to think about what sort of environment you’d like to do a Masters in, and what area of expertise you’d like to develop. 

Even if you’re not sure what life will be like after university, studying abroad is still a great thing to have on you CV! 

The University of Nottingham’s Ningbo campus is a stone’s throw away from Shanghai, China!

3. Can I afford to study abroad?

Depending on where you go, studying abroad can be cheaper or more expensive than staying at Nottingham. For example, studying and living in the US and Australia is generally considered to be more expensive than the UK, but going to Asia could be much cheaper.

Regardless of where you choose to go, your university tuition fees will be reduced by a lot for that semester/year. You also won’t need to pay tuition fees again at your host university. You continue to get student finance and could apply for their Travel Grant. There may also be bursaries and scholarships available depending on where you go.

4. Am I leaving my friends behind if I go abroad?

If you’re studying abroad for a semester or a year, then you will be leaving your new friends behind for a while. Some students prefer to stay in the UK because of this, but for most students this isn’t an issue. When you’re abroad, you get to meet lots of other people from around the world, so you get to expand your network. And when you’re back in the UK, you can still catch up with you friends or live with them. What tends to happen is that those who didn’t go abroad become really jealous and envious of all your study abroad stories! 

Get a taste of Korean culture, study abroad at Korea University

5. But I don’t know where I want to go?

The places you can go to depend on what degree you’re studying, and you can find individual factsheets for you school here. When thinking about your options, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:

  • Where can I go?

  • Do I like that country/region?

  • Does the reputation of the university matter to me?

  • What modules can I choose? 

  • Do I prefer an English or non-English speaking country?

  • What’s the cost of living like?

  • How far away is it from home?

  • What would I want to do during the holidays?

  • Do I like the weather/climate/food? 

So what’s your decision?

Hopefully these 5 questions help introduce you to the idea of studying abroad. If you’re comfortable spending some time away from your family and friends to try something different, meet new friends, travel about, develop your skills, boost your CV, and stand out from the crowd, then you should definitely consider studying abroad!

You can check out our factsheets online, but the best thing to do is come along to our Study Abroad Fair to find out where you can go, speak to our students and our Peer Advisers who are there to help. See you there!


What’s Next?

1. Sign up to the Study Abroad Fair on Facebook

2. See where our students are on Instagram

3. Got any questions? Email our Peer Advisers


Posted in PreparationReflections on studying/working abroad