Studying overseas is a life-changing opportunity. You are forced to become self-sufficient, to meet new people and experience another culture. Studying overseas was one of my favourite experiences of my undergraduate degree, and is something I highly recommend all students experiencing. Ideally, a semester-long exchange is the best way to get the most out of studying overseas, but if you can’t commit to a full semester due to work and personal commitments, a short-term study may be more suited to your situation.
So how do you make the most of studying overseas?
- Engage. Engaging with and meeting new people when you travel is personally one of my favourite aspects of travelling. It is key to being able to make the most of your overseas studying experience. The people you meet will provide you with new experiences, new ideas, new cultures. These people have the potential to become some of the closest friends you will have during your lifetime, they could become your business partners or significant other.
- Experience. Experiencing as much as possible is the best way to fully immerse yourself in the overseas study experience. Experiencing everything that another culture has to offer is one of the most important things. When I studied in France, I found myself getting excited due to the freedom of being able to explore, the freedom of experiencing new foods, the history and of course the main attractions the cities I visited had to offer.
- Learn. Learning is key to being successful in all aspects of your life. Make an effort to learn the native language if it is not an English speaking country. Throw yourself into learning as much about that country and its history as you can. Learn about different business trends, relationship styles and the culture. Develop your interpersonal communication skills so that you are able to adapt to different cultures and situations.
“Study abroad is the single most effective way of changing the way we view the world” – Chantal Mitchell, Howard University
Steps to gaining the opportunity to study overseas:
- Decide if you want to do a short-term (3 weeks) exchange or a long-term semester-long exchange.
- Research your payment options and work out if you are eligible for a student loan.
- Contact your relevant University or College.
- Look at alternative providers for studying overseas, such as AIM Overseas, if the course you wish to study isn’t offered by one of your University or College’s partner schools.
If you want to hear more about my experiences studying overseas, please let me know in the comments or send me a LinkedIn message.