Travelling. It’s the word that instantly puts a smile on any student’s face. What are you saving for? Travel. What are your hobbies? Travel. What do you hope to do after you graduate? Travel.
But what if I told you, you didn’t have to wait until graduation to start ticking off your bucket list?
You can actually travel right now without adding any time onto your degree.
When I started to notice my attendance and grades slowly dropping due to my lack of interest in being in the confines of a lecture hall, I made one very calculated and rewarding move… I left that lecture hall. I left the university and I left the country. I took the plunge and went overseas for the very first time as an exchange student in Long Beach, California. Daunting? Yes. The best thing I did in my university life? Also, yes.
If you too are feeling the itch to explore the world but don’t want to give up your studies, check out my five reasons to study abroad.
1. Make your degree stand out
There are plenty of students that are going to graduate with a degree. Be proud of that degree, but also remember this achievement is shared with pretty much every other student in your class. These fellow graduates will soon become your competition when it comes time to search for a job in the real-world. So, how do you separate yourself from the pack? How do you make your university experience unique and incomparable to all those other graduates? Study abroad. Undertake part of your degree in a different country.
2. Gain life experience
Our lecturers continue to remind us that employers these days are not only looking for graduate students with a good academic record. They are also looking for life experience and exceptional communication skills. Do you have evidence of your independence, ambition and adaptability? Studying abroad will give you the evidence you need.
3. Make international friends
There are many ways friends from foreign backgrounds can enhance your life. Having a friendship group filled with diversity is a great way to open your mind to a range of cultures, religions and traditions. Being immersed in a different country and surrounded by people from different backgrounds allows you to more efficiently learn another language and become a generally more accepting person. You’ll realise first-hand that the things you thought were normal are completely strange to others.
The best part of studying abroad is that you will not only meet students from your country of exchange but also students from around the world who are studying abroad just like you. Think about all the different places and countries you’ll be able to travel with a free tour guide!
Most courses here in Australia teach you content in a way that is relevant to Australia. It is an amazing experience to be able to learn different or even the same content in a remarkably different context. You will be encouraged to open your mind to new ways of thinking and challenged to present what you know in a way you never expected.
Well… this is what you were waiting for, right? Not only do you get to live temporarily in another country, but you also have weekends and semester breaks to, you guessed it… travel! If you’re located in Europe you can knock out a few countries in one weekend and the best part is you are likely to explore places you would have never thought, thanks to your new local friends. Locals will give you an experience no Contiki or Top Deck tour ever could.
Does this all sound amazing but you’re not sure you’ll be able to afford the adventure? Think again.
There are a number of Deakin grants available to encourage you to study overseas. If the place you wish to go is not covered by a grant, you are likely eligible to apply for an OS Help Loan. You’re only required to pay back the interest-free loan when you start paying off your HECS debt.
Did I win you over?
If you’re interested in studying abroad during your time at Deakin, visit the study abroad homepage. You can undertake trimester long exchange programs, as well as short-term programs in the June/July or T3 break and short volunteer programs helping community development projects overseas.