Do you want to live and study abroad? Maybe even in more than one country but you don’t really know if that is your thing. This article is a highlight of the pros and cons of my own experience. It is aimed to help you decide if yes, that’s for you or no, it isn’t. First off, start with why? Why are you considering studying abroad? what influenced you?
The answer will bring clarity on your intentions. Here are the top pieces of advice I would give before studying abroad in more than one country.
Do you want to study abroad for academic reasons or personal growth? or both. Be aware to choose a university or a program that is in alignment with your expectations. The last thing you want is to get yourself in a situation where the workload is too intense and can’t find a work/life balance or vice versa. In my experience, the decision to study in Barcelona came from a wish to become independent whereas studying in Vancouver was clearly for enriching my academic background.
Both experiences were different and I knew that I would have less time for networking as courses were more demanding. In order to avoid painful experiences, decide where you will be able to accomplish your goals. Find a balance between academic and personal because the combination makes your studies abroad really unique.
In which area do you need to better? What can others bring to you? Networking is your best chance to find out: for that you need to go to professional social events. The exercise might not be easy for everyone, it will pay off. Meet industry professionals, professors, class peers in order to grow a rich international network. Like one of my dearest friends who I met while studying at BCIT says: ‘the best thing when you study in several places is that you meet different types of people with different backgrounds’.
Meet individuals from other nationalities bring a more global perspective and life vision. Another tip, maintaining a network takes more work and practice than building one. Touch base once to maintain your network.
It is a known fact that travelling is a great way to discover yourself in depth travelling alone shows courage and determination. In Vancouver, I made sure to go on day trips and weekend as often as possible in the great region. Knowing the local culture, the natural landscape and inhabitant’s lifestyle gives you a more diverse experience. You might find in a position where you feel home and start building new life habits. However, as your life vision changes, you will encounter difficulties like a broken tire or unfriendly encounters.
Don’t worry, reacting intelligently to life hassles proves critical thinking and agility, both great qualities in the professional world. Those day trips and other have a cost and this leads me to the second part of the article: the must know.
What you must remember before you leave
Write a list of all expenditures and classify the items in categories (rent, food per week, phone bills, insurance, plane tickets, and transportation). Update the list as you go on. This simple method you keep an eye on your money. I wish I had written the list before I spent a small fortune on restaurants and coffee breaks which I truly regret because it could have been used for a larger occasion. The last tip, make sure you collect more money than you actually need because there are unpredicted events to be prepared for when you travel.
Traveling is great and useful if you previously set goals and objectives. It is proven that one is most inclined to take full advantage of an experience when their intentions are clear. I am sure I could have participated in more school events and network with my professors and peers more if I clearly knew back then that it would help me build a career in sustainable development.
So, why should you travel in one country or more?
-It shows courage and independence
-You network with potential future colleagues
-Your worldview broadens
-You have a lot of fun