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Why studying abroad was the best decision I made at University

By Oliver Coury

On a cold wet and rainy October morning, I unenthusiastically got my notes out for my 9am statistics lecture. Little did I know the first five minutes was a student recalling his study abroad in Peru, showing pictures of the places he had visited and the friends he had made. I don’t think I even took in anything the lecturer said after that, I was day dreaming about where I would go abroad. It was then that I knew I was going to study abroad

Studying abroad is perhaps the single greatest opportunity available to you as a university student. Newcastle University enables you to go to all corners of the globe to study new things in new places. I was fortunate enough to go to The University of Newcastle, Australia (couldn’t get enough of the toon). I had the best year of my life and it has influenced my career path and future goals. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t waste such a golden opportunity!

Go somewhere new

Newcastle University has 170 partner institutions across the world, you can simply pick the places you want to apply to. I applied through my exchange coordinator to universities in Australia, USA and Canada because that’s where I hadn’t been before and interested me. Also as a plus you only pay £1000 (£1350 for some) instead of £9000 in tuition fees without paying anything to the partner institution so its affordable!

Make friends and connections for life

I was fortunate to live on a campus college in Australia, I was living with 90% Australians and the rest were from all over. I can truly say I was fully immersed in the Ozzy lifestyle and made some of my closest friends in that year. Since then many have come visited me in the UK and I am already planning my return visit this summer! You may think you have all the friends you need now, but you’ll meet so many people who come from different walks of life but value the same things you do.

Study new things

On my year abroad I studied a single semester of computer programming, thinking that after my economics degree I would want to do a masters in Computer Science. Doing that course made me realise that computer science wasn’t for me and even though I didn’t do very well there wasn’t as much academic pressure surrounding it because it was didn’t directly count towards my degree mark. In other words you can study things you want to without the pressure of potentially picking something you’re bad at!

Travel!

Probably the best thing about studying in Australia was that I got to use it as a base to travel around that corner of the world. While I was there, I joined the universities exchange network society to meet fellow international students in the hope to find some travel companions. With them I travelled to New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Great Barrier Reef. Seeing the world is such a privilege and you should take advantage of studying abroad to go see just how big it really is!

Boost your career prospects and CV

My year abroad was a great thing to put on my CV and talk about in interviews. Its great to be able to spin your year of adventure into a year of skill development. While in Australia I did several activities which boosted my professional skills, I was able to show employers that I’ve had international experience and I have a global outlook (something employers will value!).

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