Tuesday, January 23, 2018

4 Things to think about before studying abroad

College is a time for exploration and finding oneself. One of the best things that I ever did while in college was studying abroad at the University of Reading in England. While studying abroad granted me the opportunity to learn and grow in an environment that was completely new, there was much to prepare for; most of which I would not have even thought of considering had I not had helpful advice from books and study abroad professionals at my university. If you are thinking about studying abroad, I highly encourage it, but there are many things to think about before you set off for another country. This article will highlight some important things to think about before you study abroad.

  1. Consider a location that will have good healthcare. One of the things that I did not do before going abroad was looking for proper health care providers. I felt that I was in good shape so it didn’t cross my mind that I might need to visit a doctor or get my eyes checked. Luckily, I was able to find a private eye clinic in london and could get my glasses repaired there.

  1. Cost of living. My tuition for the semester was covered as it was considered an exchange. A student from the University of Reading chose to go to school in the states for a semester and I went to Reading. This worked out great because I didn’t have to pay anything additional for my tuition. However, the cost of living was expensive and while I was able to take out student loans to pay for it, I should have looked more into the cost of living.

  1. Currency exchange rates. Another thing I didn’t take into consideration before hopping on a plane to London was the exchange rate of the pound in comparison to the dollar. Now, I studied abroad several years ago so it cost me around $1.50 to purchase 1 pound. This meant that money went fast in England and I was not prepared for this. Part of the reason that I was not prepared is because I quickly came to realize how close I was to other parts of the world that I had been wanting to explore. I spent a lot of money on traveling.

  1. Will you want to come home? Studying abroad was an amazing experience and I enjoyed being in England. Had I not had a boyfriend back home when I studied abroad, I probably would have stayed in England to complete my studies. More often than not, this can happen. You may meet someone you enjoy and not want to leave. Perhaps you enjoy the education system more than what the US has to offer. There are many reasons that you may find to want to stay at your study abroad location. Consider this before you leave and look into options. Perhaps speak with your academic advisor before you leave about what it might entail for you to stay abroad. If nothing else, at least bring your advisor’s business card with you so that you can contact them at a later date should you have questions about staying abroad for a bit longer.

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