Taking an Opportunity with Both Hands

Going to university is about education in more ways than one, especially if you move away from home.

This will be the first time you have to stand on your own two feet. It might be the first time you have to manage your money in an eat or starve way. It will be the first time replacement toilet paper rolls and toothpaste tubes don’t appear by magic.

Going to university is a fun and exciting time, but it is a transition time too. You make the change from being a child in your parents’ house to being an adult.

Studying in a different country

Language degree courses were the first to require students to go to the native country of the languages they were studying. Initially, it might be a term, then perhaps a whole year away for students who had two language specialties.

The advantages were obvious; students grew and matured, perhaps more than they would have in the U.S. But what they did have was a completely different perspective – that of a different culture.

Anyone can get through a term

Even if you’re the biggest homebody you can manage a term away. It is a different decision, though, to manage a three or four-year degree in a different country.

This length of time away is long enough for you to acclimatize. If you go to a country where English is not the first language it is time to become fluent. You will start to dream in a different language and you will find you know words in that language you don’t know in American – which is very bizarre.

Students are lucky in ways you don’t realize

It seems odd to point out that if you go to a university in a European capital you get to live there. To explain the point, if you were to go to Imperial College in London and you live in student accommodations, you move into a place in up-market Knightsbridge. It is close enough to walk to Buckingham Palace; you can’t be much more in central London than that. Living in central London is very expensive and doing it as a student is a gift.

If living in the center of a huge city doesn’t appeal, you could pick a smaller one and perhaps find yourself living in a building that housed students in the 11th Century.

After university?

There will be wider options open to you if you have studied abroad, but you will need to think about how you intend to capitalize on the offers available. If your plan is to come home, you need to start applying early and allow yourself a grace period when you return as there may be a gap between arriving home and working.

If your plan is to stay abroad you must remember your student visa will expire when you stop being a student. Make sure your employer has time to get a work visa or you may find yourself back home anyway.