I am a 3rd year Philosophy student. Yes, I know, boring. What makes me different? What makes me stand out from the crowd? Well, I am not only a 3rd year Philosophy student, I have also studied abroad.
In the second term of my second year, I studied in Australia. I flew out on February 8th and came home on June 18th, so I spent a total of four and a half months living and studying in Melbourne, Australia. I was able to travel the whole of the east coast of Australia integrated with studying. I visited places like Tasmania, Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to study, travel and explore in the best possible way. So, is it for you?
Studying abroad requires a certain type of person: one who is brave and willing to reach out of their comfort zone. It is scary. Standing on the other side of the world, completely alone, having travelled 36 hours and knowing that you consciously chose to do this, is scary. The morning I left Birmingham Airport, it was frosty. The morning I arrived in Perth, it was 40 degree heat. That is the pinnacle of culture shock. I was scared, lonely, sad, hot, tired and, yet, I was still loving it. It forces you to grow up, to become a richer person – one who can overcome these challenges.
On my first weekend, I attended a pre-orientation trip. This was for all study abroad students to meet each other on a weekend away. This was really where the magic of study abroad began. I met people from California, New York, Sweden, Vienna, France, Holland and so many other places. And having the opportunity to live with these people for those few months allowed me to create bonds with people and places all over the world. I have now, since my study abroad trip, visited Sweden and Copenhagen, and my Swedish friend has visited London. My friend from California is planning to travel around Europe next summer and stay with me on his tour of England. I am also planning on staying in Vienna around Christmas time in the snow. You really do meet friends you’ll never forget. But the main thing that I really loved about studying abroad was having the ability to live somewhere different. Melbourne is my second home. I now understand Australian culture, and have learnt so much from the way they live. My best friend from exchange was from Australia; her home was two hours outside of Melbourne but she lived with me in halls. She was kind enough to take me to her home for two weekends, so I was able to really embrace my Australian experience.
It is always heartbreaking having to say goodbye to these new friends, but, hopefully, one day we can all meet again.
Now that I am back in Reading, I realise just how much I miss Australia. I also have realised just how valuable Study Abroad has been for me. I am a far more open-minded student, I am more organised, ambitious and grounded. Study Abroad students are said to be more successful, more likely to get a higher marks in their degrees, and more likely to get a top graduate job. For me, this is obvious.
Studying abroad can make you adaptable, sympathetic to other cultures, brave and most of all, INTERESTING.
The University of Reading has many different opportunities for students to study abroad; in Europe or further afield like Australia or America. If you have any inclination to study abroad then please take the time to look into it, and DO IT. It is the best thing that a university can offer. Ironically, the best thing you can do at Reading University is to study abroad with Reading University.
Please contact: www.reading.ac.uk/studyabroad
And please try to attend one of our talks:
– 24th November 17.00-18.00: Palmer 104 (Worldwide)
– 26th November 17.00-18.00: Palmer 106 (Why Study Abroad)
– 30th November 13.00-14.00: Palmer 103 (Student Experiences)