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Why would anyone take a single year out study abroad? watch

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    I understand the appeal to do a full course in the US, as it gives you access to some of the most prestigious and specialist universities in the world.

    However I don't understand the appeal of taking a single year out to study in the US (or other countries) which many undergraduate courses offer. I get the initial appeal of a new experience, new country, travelling. However looking it over further, is this not massively disruptive to a course and to your life? There maybe different curriculums, different methods of study/marking/teaching. The course content might be completely different (such as Law, I assume would be very different). You also need to adjust to a new country, new friends and new social life within a year, all while keeping on top of your study.

    It sounds just about doable in the US due to cultural/language similarities, however I think it must be very stressful for students who study in countries with different languages (unless they already know the language).

    I may be getting the wrong idea, but it seems like a year abroad would cause massive complication with an degree and stress to a undergraduate student.

    I understand some courses are very geared towards study abroad, possibly mandatory, so get that concept as those courses are designed to include foreign study etc. And I understand post-graduates may want to persue further education or research abroad.

    I just don't see the logical appeal or net benefits to an undergraduate? Am I missing something, because studying a year abroad sounds to me both very exciting and a great experience yet completely useless/counterproductive?
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    I personally want to go to either UCL or York and do History with a year abroad (preferably at the University of Pennsylvania). I would say that this is because of the reasons you mentioned, but also because my interests lie in American History and I would get a first hand experience into the subject if I spend a year at a prestigious American university.
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    Yes, I understand that, it would only be beneficial for someone to study a specialized subject abroad. For example if a law student wanted to study/specialize in US law, a year studying in the US would make perfect sense.

    However if you studied a subject which has little geographical influence, such as a science or maths, wouldn't a year abroad in an undergraduate degree just put a massive hole in the course?

    My course offers this, to various countries, and I hate missing a big opportunity if I can take it, just I don't know how a year abroad is beneficial at all. Feels like I'm missing something?

    How does the grade/point system difference affect your grade? If someone is doing it, is it like studying the same course/content, just in a different environment? Or is everything flipped, as if you are studying a completely different course? As courses vary highly even within the UK depending on the university, so I can only imagine a bigger difference abroad. Does that not affect/disrupt previous study and further study, as you follow a different curriculum and system for a year?
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    (Original post by crazystudent321)
    I understand the appeal to do a full course in the US, as it gives you access to some of the most prestigious and specialist universities in the world.

    However I don't understand the appeal of taking a single year out to study in the US (or other countries) which many undergraduate courses offer. I get the initial appeal of a new experience, new country, travelling. However looking it over further, is this not massively disruptive to a course and to your life? There maybe different curriculums, different methods of study/marking/teaching. The course content might be completely different (such as Law, I assume would be very different). You also need to adjust to a new country, new friends and new social life within a year, all while keeping on top of your study.

    It sounds just about doable in the US due to cultural/language similarities, however I think it must be very stressful for students who study in countries with different languages (unless they already know the language).

    I may be getting the wrong idea, but it seems like a year abroad would cause massive complication with an degree and stress to a undergraduate student.

    I understand some courses are very geared towards study abroad, possibly mandatory, so get that concept as those courses are designed to include foreign study etc. And I understand post-graduates may want to persue further education or research abroad.

    I just don't see the logical appeal or net benefits to an undergraduate? Am I missing something, because studying a year abroad sounds to me both very exciting and a great experience yet completely useless/counterproductive?
    I think you have missed the whole point of a year abroad.What you consider a huge complication and disruption is just the other side of the coin and a minor one, of the huge benefits to be had. It is useful to learn a language but this is only one very obvious advantage to be had.

    Simply in human terms it is hugely beneficial to you as a person to experience 'culture shock - the disorientation we feel in an unknown environment. To learn to manage one's life without the support of people like yourself, family and friends, without all the support networks you have come to rely on, from the NHS to club land, without knowing your way round everyday life.

    To take charge of your life in so many basic ways which you would never have the opportunity of doing to the same degree in your own country.

    People who have lived abroad in a country with a very different way of life, have had the opportunity to grow, to develop self reliance, to understand an other culture to get on with people who have different ideas.

    These are tremendously important learning goals and achievement which will benefit you for the rest of your ;life.

    By the time you come back you will have expanded your life experiences to a degree you would not have previously thought possible. You will suddenly see yourself and your country as others see you and with quite a new viewpoint. And you will be 100% tougher.

    These benefits though can only be obtained if you refuse to join the ex pat scene and fully immerse yourself in local life. If you take a flat with other Brits you may as well stay here.
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    (Original post by pickup)
    I think you have missed the whole point of a year abroad.What you consider a huge complication and disruption is just the other side of the coin and a minor one, of the huge benefits to be had. It is useful to learn a language but this is only one very obvious advantage to be had.

    Simply in human terms it is hugely beneficial to you as a person to experience 'culture shock - the disorientation we feel in an unknown environment. To learn to manage one's life without the support of people like yourself, family and friends, without all the support networks you have come to rely on, from the NHS to club land, without knowing your way round everyday life.

    To take charge of your life in so many basic ways which you would never have the opportunity of doing to the same degree in your own country.

    People who have lived abroad in a country with a very different way of life, have had the opportunity to grow, to develop self reliance, to understand an other culture to get on with people who have different ideas.

    These are tremendously important learning goals and achievement which will benefit you for the rest of your ;life.

    By the time you come back you will have expanded your life experiences to a degree you would not have previously thought possible. You will suddenly see yourself and your country as others see you and with quite a new viewpoint. And you will be 100% tougher.

    These benefits though can only be obtained if you refuse to join the ex pat scene and fully immerse yourself in local life. If you take a flat with other Brits you may as well stay here.
    I do agree that I may be labeling negatives as positives, such as what you said about the experience gained from learning another language and the task of integrating into another culture. The experience of completely starting a new life in a new country are definitely something to be desired and respected. Which are undoubtably great skills and great experience personally, but it seems more self-focussed.

    However how does any of this experience attribute to the actual degree you are aiming for?

    Most of the exchange programs are not to massively prestigious universities, but just to what seem to be random universities linked together. I personally am not a massive fan of the idea of "travelling for the sake of travelling" although it is something I would like to do at some point in my life.

    I may have been more for the idea before the tuition increased 3fold, but now, the FE goal seems to be to get the degree you want, with the least fuss as quick and as cheaply as possible as not to plunge yourself into too much debt, so you can get a proper job. I'm all for the idea of university being a source of life knowledge, skills, and experience, but the race to get in and out with a job secured seems to be much more important than traveling and learning a new language or experiencing a new culture.

    I see where you are coming from, and can see why a person would want to do it, for themselves. But I just don't see how it improves your degree or makes it any easier to earn. If the year was additional and tuition free, it would be 100% yes. It's not though, it's a vital year you are paying for and possibly jeapordising by studying abroad, which baffles me why so many people take interest in it.

    I understand the situation where the degree is relevant, or if the person is an avid traveller, but I can't see it appealing to anyone else.

    Even exchange students at my university I get confused with, as a lot of them don't seem to fully integrate, or change habits (will end up sticking together as you mentioned) etc. I've even met a few who regret coming over (mainly US/EU) because of the massive upheaval undertaken to do a year here, with reasons like it not being much different, massive expense, VISA threat of deportation if they fail/low attendance (happened to an aquintance this semester already). And when queueing for "student services", it very often full of panicking or confused foreigners who's fees haven't come through or are having VISA issues etc. Not something I would want to risk.

    That's not to say you don't run into the odd rare exchange student who is loving it and embracing the whole experience, utilizing the oportunity to the max. I can also understand students from "3rd world" countries reasoning to study abroad as well.

    It just seems nowdays the stress/cost of studying abroad during an UG degree outside of the UK just seem to massivly outweigh the perceived benefits and skills you will gain.
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    It's not just language skills that people do a year abroad for - important as they are - it's much more for the soft skills which are so much in demand both by companies and by people themselves, to grow as a person as I mentioned.

    The self reliance, broader outlook, confidence in one's own abilities, ability to get on with very different people etc. are all qualities which will stand you in good stead for life.

    When employers etc, are picking out people they want, as opposed to people who could do the job, a year abroad ( if you can point to those qualities you have acquired ) is one of the pointers they are searching for. It will suggest to them that you have learned things that other people may not have, that you have personal qualities that are rare, that you have leadership potential because of the character it has helped you to develop.

    As I said all these things are learned the hard way - by experiencing the culture shock not by joining the ex pats, by learning to live and cope alone not by getting a flat with 2 other Brits, by registering with the local police, by finding work, by creating your own new life by searching out new friends among the locals, immersing yourself in the new way of life. It is not easy. It can be very lonely and disorientating. But this is how you learn. There will be many occasions 2 months in when you think, stuff it I'm going home or I'm going to join that ex pat club then at least I'll have some ready made friends to chat with. And you will have admitted defeat not just to yourself but to everyone else too. Any employer interviewing you will suss you out immediately as some one who gives up when the going gets rough. You learn nothing by keeping in your nice safe little life.

    The more you sort things out yourself , the more you will learn and the more valuable you will be to future employers and future friends and family and the stronger you will be as a person to face the inevitable 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.'

    There is no such thing as an easy life - the best you can hope for is to give yourself as many opportunities as possible to learn the coping skills we all need. Maybe the year abroad during your course will be the only opportunity you will ever have to experience this sort of challenge. How many people do you know who would tremble at the thought of leaving family and friends to live in another British town where they know no one? Think what respect anyone who has made a life for themselves in a foreign country will command.
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    (Original post by HistoryStudent1)
    I personally want to go to either UCL or York and do History with a year abroad (preferably at the University of Pennsylvania). I would say that this is because of the reasons you mentioned, but also because my interests lie in American History and I would get a first hand experience into the subject if I spend a year at a prestigious American university.
    Do you have an offer yet? I've got an offer for history with a year abroad at UCL and am also planning to go to Penn.
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    (Original post by YGD)
    Do you have an offer yet? I've got an offer for history with a year abroad at UCL and am also planning to go to Penn.
    No, I will be in the class of 2016 if I do go.
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    (Original post by HistoryStudent1)
    No, I will be in the class of 2016 if I do go.
    Good luck
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    If the year was additional and tuition free, it would be 100% yes. It's not though, it's a vital year you are paying for and possibly jeapordising by studying abroad, which baffles me why so many people take interest in it.
    -
    It just seems nowdays the stress/cost of studying abroad during an UG degree outside of the UK just seem to massivly outweigh the perceived benefits and skills you will gain.
    I would say it's the complete opposite!
    Study abroad is now subsidised, so currently the maximum tuition you should pay for a full year abroad is £1,350 - and at quite a few universities tuition for the year abroad is completely waived. 4-year BA/BSc courses with a year abroad seem more common now, too (this is what I did) - is that an option at your university? The big costs are flights, the visa and medical insurance (which can run up to around £2000 total), but if you're from a low income household you can apply for a travel grant from Student Finance to cover all or some of this. You also get a slightly increased loan and grant for the year. If you've been put off study abroad because of perceived expense, I strongly encourage you to investigate further!

    I won't go into the more holistic side of why it's beneficial as others have covered that but briefly in practical terms: it's not easy to move to the US if you're not highly skilled, so I saw this as potentially my only chance to try it out, and a really good time to do it.

    What did study abroad do for my degree? It allowed me to both deepen and broaden my study. I took four of my eight classes in an area of biology my home university only runs one module a year on. I took two other biology classes on subjects my university doesn't cover at all - what I found in general looking at US course catalogues when picking a study abroad university was that most of them offer a lot of very specialised classes, even at non-specialised colleges (Google "{any US university name} course catalog" to see what I mean - it's like being thrown into a sweet shop - I could have picked out 8 different classes and still have had an amazing time). I also took a free elective in a subject completely unrelated to biology each semester. It was really exciting to have the opportunity to study things other than my degree subject at university level.

    Although my host university wasn't one many people have heard of back at home, the fact that it was a small liberal arts college meant I benefited from tiny class sizes and incredible contact hours - for each lab-based module there I spent 3+ hours a week in lab and 3 hours a week in lectures for ~4 months. At home my average lab class had 2 hours of lectures a week and maybe 9 hours of lab total over ~3 months. I'm quite shy and not particularly career-oriented, but I know there would have been opportunities for internships and work experience there if I'd been more driven and organised. If your future career is important to you, I don't see how the international connections you could make and experiences you could have studying abroad could be anything but positive.

    Does that not affect/disrupt previous study and further study, as you follow a different curriculum and system for a year?
    I didn't find it disruptive to my course, and I can find change quite difficult. There were a couple of things from second year I was a bit rusty on when I got home, but nothing major. RE: adjusting to differences in assessment, I think that would be more a problem for people coming from the US to the UK than vice versa. Most US courses have continuous assessment and so while US students might struggle thrown into our more independent system, I don't think you'd have so many problems this way round. Yes - it was weird at first having homework/reading 3 times a week for some of my classes or having midterm exams after a few weeks but it was only a positive thing for me, and meant I got a lot more done than usual.

    How does the grade/point system difference affect your grade?
    This varies depending on your home university - you should contact your study abroad office for more information. They will have conversion tables, likely on the generous side of fair, and then the weighting of the year will vary. Some universities only count the year abroad toward your final degree mark if it would improve it, some don't count it at all. My best marks are actually from my year abroad - continuous assessment really kept me on track.

    If someone is doing it, is it like studying the same course/content, just in a different environment? Or is everything flipped, as if you are studying a completely different course?
    Think of it as extra. You would usually have your course choices monitored by your department at home to ensure they are appropriate to your degree title and not just rehashing stuff you already know. There was a bit of overlap in some classes for me, but nothing major.

    Hope that answers some of your questions!
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    (Original post by Crosseyed And Painless)

    Hope that answers some of your questions!
    Cheers for sharing you own experience, and yes, you definitely some of my big questions! And kudos for not drifting off into the holistic/self-benefits as you said, and focussing on my questions/concerns. +1 Thanks

    I was not aware the tuition can be less or waived. I am sure if you exchange with "Ivy league' level universities, you may end up with higher/same tuition (as I believe they have higher tuition) - but yes, it would make sense most other universities can offer lower tuition. I can imagine flights/medical/VISA costs being a much larger worry only if travelling outside the EU.

    It's interesting to hear how you said the year abroad was not counted into your final mark if it lowered it at all. That sounds a bit weird, especially if it is a 3 year course (not a 4yr BA/Bsc with a year abroad), but as you said, different universities handle things in different ways.

    Thanks for clearing up my questions on assessment/marking, of course every country/uni will differ in practice, but its good to know the result mark has a specific weighting and affects your final mark specific to your course. Also, knowing your course/modules are monitored by your home university makes a big difference. That way you know you are studying relevant modules, and don't fall behind.

    I'm glad to hear the year abroad was enjoyable/beneficial for you aswell as your studies, and it's really useful to hear some negatives, such as missing out on some 2nd year material (minor), or having to adjust to a faster pace assesment system - even if you did handle them fine. I do have concerns over missing out on material/falling behind, which you've helped address.

    Again, thanks for the response, its been very useful.

    Out of interest, what was your course (I assume chem related)? Was it a 4 year Ba/Bsc with a year abroad as you mentioned?

    Also, without trying to tread on your toes, how did you find it/manage financially? You mentioned access to grants etc, - did you require these, were they sufficient? And was the process for a student VISA a hassle? Also, was the process for healthcare costly/a hassle for you?

    Im assuming you didn't have much trouble as you didn't mention cost as being a major issue. How would you think a student with no external financial support (ie. relying on grants) would fare? I'm thinking it may go both ways as they may benefit from extra grants, and lower rent/living costs generally if moving out of the UK.
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    (Original post by crazystudent321)
    Cheers for sharing you own experience, and yes, you definitely some of my big questions! And kudos for not drifting off into the holistic/self-benefits as you said, and focussing on my questions/concerns. +1 Thanks

    I was not aware the tuition can be less or waived. I am sure if you exchange with "Ivy league' level universities, you may end up with higher/same tuition (as I believe they have higher tuition) - but yes, it would make sense most other universities can offer lower tuition. I can imagine flights/medical/VISA costs being a much larger worry only if travelling outside the EU.

    It's interesting to hear how you said the year abroad was not counted into your final mark if it lowered it at all. That sounds a bit weird, especially if it is a 3 year course (not a 4yr BA/Bsc with a year abroad), but as you said, different universities handle things in different ways.

    Thanks for clearing up my questions on assessment/marking, of course every country/uni will differ in practice, but its good to know the result mark has a specific weighting and affects your final mark specific to your course. Also, knowing your course/modules are monitored by your home university makes a big difference. That way you know you are studying relevant modules, and don't fall behind.

    I'm glad to hear the year abroad was enjoyable/beneficial for you aswell as your studies, and it's really useful to hear some negatives, such as missing out on some 2nd year material (minor), or having to adjust to a faster pace assesment system - even if you did handle them fine. I do have concerns over missing out on material/falling behind, which you've helped address.

    Again, thanks for the response, its been very useful.

    Out of interest, what was your course (I assume chem related)? Was it a 4 year Ba/Bsc with a year abroad as you mentioned?

    Also, without trying to tread on your toes, how did you find it/manage financially? You mentioned access to grants etc, - did you require these, were they sufficient? And was the process for a student VISA a hassle? Also, was the process for healthcare costly/a hassle for you?

    Im assuming you didn't have much trouble as you didn't mention cost as being a major issue. How would you think a student with no external financial support (ie. relying on grants) would fare? I'm thinking it may go both ways as they may benefit from extra grants, and lower rent/living costs generally if moving out of the UK.
    I'm starting at UCL in September to study economics with a year abroad and about many of the host institutions are ivies or equivalent (Uchigao [=same level as ivies], UPenn, Columbia, apparently they're in talks with Dartmouth ATM too). Tuition fee still £1350 for that year. When choosing where to apply year abroad was a huge consideration for me -I desperately want to experience life in a new culture. The year abroad is generally not for credit, so I will have a year EXTRA studying economics compared with people not doing a year abroad, which, even though the format is different, I'm sure will help with my final year back in the UK. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to live abroad for a year, make friends from a new country etc. and when I look back at my life I can almost guarantee it will be one of the highlights.
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    (Original post by crazystudent321)
    I was not aware the tuition can be less or waived. I am sure if you exchange with "Ivy league' level universities, you may end up with higher/same tuition (as I believe they have higher tuition) - but yes, it would make sense most other universities can offer lower tuition. I can imagine flights/medical/VISA costs being a much larger worry only if travelling outside the EU.
    Generally the fees of the host university are not a factor, and you pay reduced tuition fees (or none if they're waived!) to your home university. The host university tuition would only matter if you were doing some sort of private/self organised exchange.

    One thing that can vary is the costs of living and the financial guarantee - before you can be granted a US visa, you have to prove you are able to financially support yourself for your stay. On your student visa you will only be able to work on campus, and the opportunities might be very limited. Every US university will set a different financial guarantee figure (~$10,000) based on their calculations of cost of living for the year - you will need to be able to prove you will have this available through your student loans/grant, savings or parent's/family savings.

    It's interesting to hear how you said the year abroad was not counted into your final mark if it lowered it at all. That sounds a bit weird, especially if it is a 3 year course (not a 4yr BA/Bsc with a year abroad), but as you said, different universities handle things in different ways.
    Sorry if I wasn't clear - I was on a four year course.

    [quote]I'm glad to hear the year abroad was enjoyable/beneficial for you aswell as your studies, and it's really useful to hear some negatives, such as missing out on some 2nd year material (minor), or having to adjust to a faster pace assesment system - even if you did handle them fine. I do have concerns over missing out on material/falling behind, which you've helped address.[quote]
    Again, I didn't miss out on the 2 year material because I did a 4 year course, but I did notice I'd forgotten some of the 2nd year stats stuff I needed for final year once I came back. But not a huge problem!

    Out of interest, what was your course (I assume chem related)? Was it a 4 year Ba/Bsc with a year abroad as you mentioned?
    I was studying biology.

    Also, without trying to tread on your toes, how did you find it/manage financially? You mentioned access to grants etc, - did you require these, were they sufficient? And was the process for a student VISA a hassle? Also, was the process for healthcare costly/a hassle for you?

    Im assuming you didn't have much trouble as you didn't mention cost as being a major issue. How would you think a student with no external financial support (ie. relying on grants) would fare? I'm thinking it may go both ways as they may benefit from extra grants, and lower rent/living costs generally if moving out of the UK.
    I actually had a lot of trouble, but for quite exceptional reasons - so I left it out! (In Y1 and Y2 of my course, I wasn't receiving a maintenance grant, because of previous study, although I was entitled to one for Y3 and Y4. This meant I didn't have a grant entitlement letter from SFE to use for my financial guarantee. I didn't realise that they wouldn't just write me a letter confirming my entitlement for Y3, so in the spring before my year abroad I was ~£3000 short and had to pull a load of 50hr work weeks and borrow money from my grandparents and cousin to prove I had enough.)

    During the actual year abroad money was not an issue for me (my parents are both on very low incomes, so I was entitled to the maximum maintenance loans and grants, eligible for the Travel Grants - and my university also had an extra bursary for low income students travelling abroad), and because I'd been situationally forced to save all that money I had some spare for travelling.

    Healthcare - before you arrive the big one is getting all your vaccines in order. You don't want to leave this too late because as summer nears the travel clinics get booked up and you need to leave a month between the first 2 Hep B doses. I had my 3rd dose while I was abroad at my universities health clinic. You also might want to check you can find all your vaccination records - I ended up having to get a varicella titre and a 4th dose of MMR because chickenpox/my 3rd MMR dose weren't listed on my health record. At my university, stuff at their health clinic was included in my medical insurance, but when I had to go to a doctor off-campus there was a $50 co-pay. And you should have a dental check up and check your optical prescription before you go, and usually only genuine emergency dentistry is covered on the medical insurance.

    Visa - not terrible. After you've filled out the forms, you have to go to London and spend about 6 hours at the embassy waiting for your number to be called for your "interview" (a few quick questions to check you're a real person and you're not a terrorist or communist or whatever they're most afraid of at the moment). It's like the biggest Argos you've ever seen. You can't bring any electronics in with you (though you can check them in at a local newsagents for a fee), so bring a book, and money/debit card to pay the postage fee.

    Costs before you arrive:
    Flights/transport*, visa*, vaccines*, medical insurance*, travel insurance

    *if you are from a low income household you can claim these back through the Travel Grants scheme, but it takes 6+ weeks to get your refunds. If you buy combined medical and travel insurance and are entitled for a refund, SF only refunds for what they perceive to be the medical component.

    Costs once you arrive:
    Rent(and bills if not included), food or meal plan, recreation, possibly health insurance co-pays
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    (Original post by Wahrheit)
    I'm starting at UCL in September to study economics with a year abroad and about many of the host institutions are ivies or equivalent (Uchigao [=same level as ivies], UPenn, Columbia, apparently they're in talks with Dartmouth ATM too). Tuition fee still £1350 for that year. When choosing where to apply year abroad was a huge consideration for me -I desperately want to experience life in a new culture. The year abroad is generally not for credit, so I will have a year EXTRA studying economics compared with people not doing a year abroad, which, even though the format is different, I'm sure will help with my final year back in the UK. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to live abroad for a year, make friends from a new country etc. and when I look back at my life I can almost guarantee it will be one of the highlights.
    Do you know if the tuition fees are the same for all ucl exchange students in the states? I'm starting history there in September but the website gives very few details about the year abroad.
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    (Original post by YGD)
    Do you know if the tuition fees are the same for all ucl exchange students in the states? I'm starting history there in September but the website gives very few details about the year abroad.
    Yep it's standard across all the uni I'm 90% sure, I know the maximum you can pay is 15% of regular fees so I guess if you're international and paying more than 9k it might be higher other it's £1350
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    I agree with many of the posts above. Study abroad aims at acquiring several skill-sets beyond the scope of academics. Living in a foreign environment, handling related stress and acquiring related soft skills are critical and relevant skill sets demanded by today's workforce.
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    (Original post by Crosseyed And Painless)
    I would say it's the complete opposite!
    Study abroad is now subsidised, so currently the maximum tuition you should pay for a full year abroad is £1,350 - and at quite a few universities tuition for the year abroad is completely waived. 4-year BA/BSc courses with a year abroad seem more common now, too (this is what I did) - is that an option at your university? The big costs are flights, the visa and medical insurance (which can run up to around £2000 total), but if you're from a low income household you can apply for a travel grant from Student Finance to cover all or some of this. You also get a slightly increased loan and grant for the year. If you've been put off study abroad because of perceived expense, I strongly encourage you to investigate further!

    I won't go into the more holistic side of why it's beneficial as others have covered that but briefly in practical terms: it's not easy to move to the US if you're not highly skilled, so I saw this as potentially my only chance to try it out, and a really good time to do it.

    What did study abroad do for my degree? It allowed me to both deepen and broaden my study. I took four of my eight classes in an area of biology my home university only runs one module a year on. I took two other biology classes on subjects my university doesn't cover at all - what I found in general looking at US course catalogues when picking a study abroad university was that most of them offer a lot of very specialised classes, even at non-specialised colleges (Google "{any US university name} course catalog" to see what I mean - it's like being thrown into a sweet shop - I could have picked out 8 different classes and still have had an amazing time). I also took a free elective in a subject completely unrelated to biology each semester. It was really exciting to have the opportunity to study things other than my degree subject at university level.

    Although my host university wasn't one many people have heard of back at home, the fact that it was a small liberal arts college meant I benefited from tiny class sizes and incredible contact hours - for each lab-based module there I spent 3+ hours a week in lab and 3 hours a week in lectures for ~4 months. At home my average lab class had 2 hours of lectures a week and maybe 9 hours of lab total over ~3 months. I'm quite shy and not particularly career-oriented, but I know there would have been opportunities for internships and work experience there if I'd been more driven and organised. If your future career is important to you, I don't see how the international connections you could make and experiences you could have studying abroad could be anything but positive.


    I didn't find it disruptive to my course, and I can find change quite difficult. There were a couple of things from second year I was a bit rusty on when I got home, but nothing major. RE: adjusting to differences in assessment, I think that would be more a problem for people coming from the US to the UK than vice versa. Most US courses have continuous assessment and so while US students might struggle thrown into our more independent system, I don't think you'd have so many problems this way round. Yes - it was weird at first having homework/reading 3 times a week for some of my classes or having midterm exams after a few weeks but it was only a positive thing for me, and meant I got a lot more done than usual.


    This varies depending on your home university - you should contact your study abroad office for more information. They will have conversion tables, likely on the generous side of fair, and then the weighting of the year will vary. Some universities only count the year abroad toward your final degree mark if it would improve it, some don't count it at all. My best marks are actually from my year abroad - continuous assessment really kept me on track.


    Think of it as extra. You would usually have your course choices monitored by your department at home to ensure they are appropriate to your degree title and not just rehashing stuff you already know. There was a bit of overlap in some classes for me, but nothing major.

    Hope that answers some of your questions!

    just out of interest how much need you need for accommodation, food etc while you were there or did you have that included?
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    (Original post by jamesasdfghjkl)
    just out of interest how much need you need for accommodation, food etc while you were there or did you have that included?
    My accommodation worked out at about £4000 from late August-late May. I didn't really keep track of what I spent on food, but probably about the same as I'd spend a year in the UK. At my host university exchange students had to live on campus, but that's not true everywhere. Some US universities and colleges also have mandatory meal plans which can cost up to 3-4000 for the year as well, so that's something worth researching if you're on a tight budget.
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    [QUOTE=Crosseyed And Painless;53440927]I would say it's the complete opposite!
    Study abroad The big costs are flights, the visa and medical insurance (which can run up to around £2000 total)



    Who did you get insurance with please? I am going to spend a year studying in USA next year and have not been able to find a suitable company yet..
    I have to find my own medical insurance; no help from Dundee Uni and the company suggested by the USA uni does not cover overseas students!.
    Can anyone else can suggest a company?
 
 
 
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