The Student Room Group

What is it like studying abroad?

I wanna see if i can study abroad in a place like china/korea/japan/australia (i'm not sure which but bascially places that r far away) but if anyone ever studied abroad, what was it like? especially if there was a langauge barrier invlolved.

Did you live alone? How did u make friends? Would u recommend it
Original post by Anonymous
I wanna see if i can study abroad in a place like china/korea/japan/australia (i'm not sure which but bascially places that r far away) but if anyone ever studied abroad, what was it like? especially if there was a langauge barrier invlolved.

Did you live alone? How did u make friends? Would u recommend it

Hi!
I am a York St John student currently studying abroad in the US. I am loving it so far; there are so many new things to experience and do! I have a roommate which was daunting at first as I didn't like the idea of sharing a room with a stranger, but she is so lovely and her family have basically adopted me. The hardest part is the time difference and not being able to speak to my family very often, it's doable but not always easy. As in the UK the best way to make friends (in my opinion) is to get involved with as much as possible.

I would 100% recommend studying abroad to anyone, its a great experience personally and looks great to future employers.
Hope this helps! Faye :smile:
Hey, I'm a language student currently studying abroad in Mexico! It's definitely had its highs and lows so far. Highs have been getting to travel to places I couldn't've dreamed I'd ever get to visit, and the friends I've made too. The lows are ironically mostly language-based: studying in a 2nd language I'm not quite fluent in (and classes being assessed differently compared to what I'm used to) has been really hard. Socially, the language barrier is hard. But hard in a good way?!? I know of / have seen some people who have made friends almost exclusively with people from their home country - I personally haven't done this, which has probably been great for my Spanish, but it has made things more emotionally intense at times lol. While I've found it hard to talk to students at the uni because I'm in 3rd year and it feels like everyone's already made friends, its been quite easy to make friends with other Spanish-speaking exchange students since my accommodation is specifically tailored to semester-long exchange students. Its been great because we're all on the same boat, and we all share the same enthusiasm for going to see as many of the sights as possible before our time here is up!!
Reply 3
Original post by FayeYSJ
Hi!
I am a York St John student currently studying abroad in the US. I am loving it so far; there are so many new things to experience and do! I have a roommate which was daunting at first as I didn't like the idea of sharing a room with a stranger, but she is so lovely and her family have basically adopted me. The hardest part is the time difference and not being able to speak to my family very often, it's doable but not always easy. As in the UK the best way to make friends (in my opinion) is to get involved with as much as possible.

I would 100% recommend studying abroad to anyone, its a great experience personally and looks great to future employers.
Hope this helps! Faye :smile:

How does it look great to future employers? Does anything stand out in particular? x
Original post by Anonymous
I wanna see if i can study abroad in a place like china/korea/japan/australia (i'm not sure which but bascially places that r far away) but if anyone ever studied abroad, what was it like? especially if there was a langauge barrier invlolved.

Did you live alone? How did u make friends? Would u recommend it

Hey,

I've just come back from a year studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany and I had the best experiences and year of my life! Whilst it is not quite as far away as some of the places you're looking at hopefully some of the advice can still be helpful.

In terms of location, Germany was incredible as it was central Europe so I got plenty of opportunities to travel. With China, Korea, Japan or Australia you'll also have some incredible opportunities in terms of locations to explore alongside your studies either for long weekends or during the semester breaks. As for general advice for all of those places make sure you’ve got your travel insurance sorted before the date of your departure and that if you’re planning on any day trips (to ski etc) that you get the right insurance to cover this. Staying safe is also a top priority so make sure you have back ups, share your location with family/friends back home and check travel alerts for the countries you're visiting. Signing up to travel alerts for the country you’re visiting is a helpful way to stay in the loop for any important updates to make sure you stay safe during your travels

Here's the link: Uk Gov Travel Advice

In terms of making friends, most Universities with partnerships and opportunities for Study Abroad will have International Society/Programs/Organisations already set up to help make integrating into a new life easier for students. Whilst it can be very daunting, throw yourself into these things in whatever way you can (and feel comfortable doing). In Europe, most University cities will have an Erasmus Student Network (ESN) group so I found it a great way to meet new students at a wide variety of events including International Nights, excursions across Germany (and wider Europe) and much more! Remember you aren't alone, and there will be lots of students in the same position as you so don't be afraid to reach out.

As for learning the language, I had never spoken German before going there and am now a confident conversationalist and continuing with lessons whilst being back in the UK. Language courses are a great thing to do along your studies, and can sometimes work alongside them and count towards credits. It is such a worthwhile thing to do in terms of making yourself more involved in the community and also an amazing skill to take away from your International Studies. I'd recommend looking into different grants and scholarship options available to you as this can make the whole experience a lot more affordable as well! I was able to get the UK Turing Grant which helped fund my year abroad.

If you have any other questions please reach out!

Good luck,
Abi Brown-Stark
Travel Aware Student Brand Ambassador
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 5
Original post by abibrownstark
Hey,

I've just come back from a year studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany and I had the best experiences and year of my life! Whilst it is not quite as far away as some of the places you're looking at hopefully some of the advice can still be helpful.

In terms of location, Germany was incredible as it was central Europe so I got plenty of opportunities to travel. With China, Korea, Japan or Australia you'll also have some incredible opportunities in terms of locations to explore alongside your studies either for long weekends or during the semester breaks. As for general advice for all of those places make sure you’ve got your travel insurance sorted before the date of your departure and that if you’re planning on any day trips (to ski etc) that you get the right insurance to cover this. Staying safe is also a top priority so make sure you have back ups, share your location with family/friends back home and check travel alerts for the countries you're visiting. Signing up to travel alerts for the country you’re visiting is a helpful way to stay in the loop for any important updates to make sure you stay safe during your travels

Here's the link: Uk Gov Travel Advice

In terms of making friends, most Universities with partnerships and opportunities for Study Abroad will have International Society/Programs/Organisations already set up to help make integrating into a new life easier for students. Whilst it can be very daunting, throw yourself into these things in whatever way you can (and feel comfortable doing). In Europe, most University cities will have an Erasmus Student Network (ESN) group so I found it a great way to meet new students at a wide variety of events including International Nights, excursions across Germany (and wider Europe) and much more! Remember you aren't alone, and there will be lots of students in the same position as you so don't be afraid to reach out.

As for learning the language, I had never spoken German before going there and am now a confident conversationalist and continuing with lessons whilst being back in the UK. Language courses are a great thing to do along your studies, and can sometimes work alongside them and count towards credits. It is such a worthwhile thing to do in terms of making yourself more involved in the community and also an amazing skill to take away from your International Studies. I'd recommend looking into different grants and scholarship options available to you as this can make the whole experience a lot more affordable as well! I was able to get the UK Turing Grant which helped fund my year abroad.

If you have any other questions please reach out!

Good luck,
Abi Brown-Stark
FCDO Student Ambassador

omds this is so helpful, thank you sm!!
Original post by Anonymous
How does it look great to future employers? Does anything stand out in particular? x

Hi!
This is a great question!

I have been told that it stands out as not only do you have your degree qualification, but also the experience in another education system. This is especially attractive to prospective employers as the world becomes more and more globalised. Additionally, if a company knows you have experience abroad they may be more open to providing you with more opportunities to go abroad in the future.
Hope this helps! Faye :smile:
Reply 7
Original post by FayeYSJ
Hi!
This is a great question!

I have been told that it stands out as not only do you have your degree qualification, but also the experience in another education system. This is especially attractive to prospective employers as the world becomes more and more globalised. Additionally, if a company knows you have experience abroad they may be more open to providing you with more opportunities to go abroad in the future.
Hope this helps! Faye :smile:

this helps so much, thank you!
Reply 8
Original post by Anonymous
I wanna see if i can study abroad in a place like china/korea/japan/australia (i'm not sure which but bascially places that r far away) but if anyone ever studied abroad, what was it like? especially if there was a langauge barrier invlolved.

Did you live alone? How did u make friends? Would u recommend it


Hi,
I’m a Loughborough student and I have just got back from a test abroad studying in Montreal Canada. I absolutely loved it and would recommend anyone else doing it. You get so many amazing experiences and you meet some amazing people. Montreal is in Quebec which is the French speaking part of Canada so I hd to do it so the a bit of a language barrier. I grew up in Belgium so did already speak French, but the French in Montreal is quite different so it took me a while to learn and understand it. I was quite nervous going into it but managed to meet some others who were Belgian so they helped me out allot.
I lived in an apartment that was recommended by the university and ended up living with 3 other international students which was really nice. So I instantly had some people to socialise with. Aswell as this the uni offered a few days for international students to meet and get to know each other. I would say if you’re sporty, try to join some sports teams because that is a way I have always found to make some really good friends. I played rugby while I was there and the guys I met will be lifelong friends.

I would 100% recommend you going, it’s an amazing thing to do and very nerve racking to begin with but you will be so happy you have done it once you finish and you will wish u could stay for longer.
Reply 9
I believe you will enjoy it
Original post by Anonymous
I wanna see if i can study abroad in a place like china/korea/japan/australia (i'm not sure which but bascially places that r far away) but if anyone ever studied abroad, what was it like? especially if there was a langauge barrier invlolved.

Did you live alone? How did u make friends? Would u recommend it

Hi Anon,

I'm currently a geography student studying abroad in the US.

Aside from the fact that it looks great alongside your degree, is valued by employers, and gains you loads of transferable skills, studying abroad is a fantastic experience for you to undertake if you are able to. It's a great opportunity to have some personal growth away from a familiar environment, and opens you up to the countless opportunities available post-university.

While I don't have the language barrier, there are some cultural differences that surprised me, even though the UK and the US seem so similar. I ended up being placed in the dorms with a roommate, which I was worried about at first, but it isn't actually as bad as you'd think - just something we're not used to! Making friends has been difficult at times, but also easy, as there are loads of other exchanges in exactly the same position as you, and looking to make friends. I've personally found that Americans can be quite chatty and interested in where I'm from and why I'm there, so that's been a big conversation starter that helps me to make friends too.

Something I wasn't expecting was how much easier I find the academics compared to back home. It's quite similar to how homework was in secondary school (regular assignments, read a text and answer five questions, multiple choice exams, etc), which has actually given me more time to explore.

The biggest challenges have been the time difference and not being able to see/talk to my family and friends often. I had become so used to my routine and life back home, that once I got here, it took a little while to fully adjust. I've tried to put myself out there and try as many new things and activities as possible, while still taking time for myself, which has definitely helped in the transition.

As you're still researching locations and looking for individual experiences, it might be useful to browse the ISEP webpage (https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/). They have a bunch of different programs you can explore and student blogs that detail parts of their study abroad experiences.

I hope this helps and best of luck!
Isabella 🙂
Original post by Anonymous
I wanna see if i can study abroad in a place like china/korea/japan/australia (i'm not sure which but bascially places that r far away) but if anyone ever studied abroad, what was it like? especially if there was a langauge barrier invlolved.

Did you live alone? How did u make friends? Would u recommend it

Hiya! :smile:

I am from Poland, so even studying in the UK was a studying abroad experience for me. However, it went exceptionally well that I am on a year-long student exchange in Spain this year. What is more, my next dream is to do my Master's degree somewhere else abroad.

The reason behind it all is that I discovered a deep passion for travelling. I also started acknowledging multiple benefits stemming from the rich experience of living in different places and exploring diverse cultures.

When I came to the UK, my level of English was communicative, but I definitely lacked a rich vocabulary and had trouble understanding the British accent. However, practice makes a master. My spoken English is still probably not perfect, but the most important thing is not to be afraid to talk and believe in yourself.

In Spain, it is a little different because my level is elementary. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to choose Spanish as one of the modules, and thankfully, I am learning it here all year round. Even though I cannot say much yet, people are always immensely kind when they see me trying. It gives me extra motivation and confidence.

The lesson from this is that the language barrier is only in our heads, but constant trying and sympathy from people really allows us to break through and achieve incredible progress.

I moved alone to both the UK and Spain. I always choose a dorm or a private room, so that I live with my peers. I highly recommend this option, as it is easier to establish relationships in a new place. My closest friends are the ones I live with. Very often, you live with different nationalities, and most of time, you speak English, which is also helpful.

Many universities bring together international students. That is why I had the opportunity to join a society of Poles in the UK and Spain, where I also met another group of friends and was able to receive invaluable support in adapting to a new place.

Finally, the biggest personal advantage is the transformation I have undergone. Before I left Poland, I was a scared and indecisive girl. Now, I am a confident, courageous and independent person who is not afraid to go after what I desire.

Therefore, at any time, I will tell you the same, if you have the opportunity to experience studying abroad, do not even think about it :smile:

I hope it was helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. You can also chat with me and other students through The Ambassador Platform.

Take care,

Julia
Psychology student
De Montfort University

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