For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to study abroad. Therefore, I was a bit disappointed in myself when I chose not to be an exchange student this year. As a result of missing out on that opportunity, I have decided to take a year off after high school to study in either France or England. I have trouble deciding what I want to study and where, so at the moment I try to gather as much information as possible. Lucky for me, we had a visitor in class today, who had both studied in France and worked 6 months in San Francisco. She talked about her positive experiences of studying and working abroad. The following two points are based on her answer.
First, studying abroad is a great way of challenging yourself. According to our visitor, Annicken, she not only learned a new language, she also learned about the French culture, history and customs. “At the beginning/ the first semester it was difficult to understand what the teachers said, as the classes were taught in French, but the second semester was easier”. Attending classes taught in foreign languages is most definitely challenging, but I believe that it is worth it. There is no better way to learn a new language than to live in a country where everybody speaks it. Furthermore, the experience of living in a foreign country makes you grow as a person. For many, it might seem scary to live a place where you don’t know anybody. However, studying is a good way to meet people who are in the same situation as you are, making the experience “safer”. For me the social environment is, therefore, important when I am to choose my future school.
If you are from Norway, the exchange program does not have to cost too much. For instance, our visitor went to France as a part of her bachelor’s degree in European studies. She traveled as an Erasmus student, meaning that she got a scholarship and did not have to pay tuition. The Erasmus program is a collaboration between countries that are part of the EU. However, if the program does not apply to you, there are other ways of making it work. For instance, the government pays for a 4 week language course before your semester starts if you don’t speak the language fluently. For the students that are not Norwegian, I still recommend you to study abroad. Maybe your country has some solutions making the finical situation easier, or your educational program have agreements with schools in other countries? If you are interested, be sure to do some research.
There are many positive aspects of studying in other countries. I, for instance, can’t wait to take an exchange year, to meet new people and learn about other cultures. We have talked a lot about studying and working abroad in class, and it has only made me more eager. It must be an experience like no others, and I wish that everybody who has the opportunity seizes it. In other words, I recommend studying abroad (or working if that is what you want to).
Any of you who want to take a year abroad?
If you are interested in learning more about studying abroad, you can visit these web-sites: