Although it’s taken the best part of two months I think I’ve finally got back into the swing of things here in Glasgow. It’s frightening to think how quickly the year went and even more frightening to think that I start my final year at Glasgow this month. I might miss Perth and the independence of studying abroad but it obviously has to end some time and more than anything I’m just pleased that the experience was as great as it was. I might not have a swimming pool in my garden or eight hours of sunshine to enjoy anymore but who needs that when you can go back to paying £3 for a pint of beer?
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss the character of Glasgow and the people in it. The first full day after I came back I headed into town to meet a friend for drinks and simply walking down familiar streets and past familiar buildings was a source of enjoyment. I also forgot how amazing the view is from the upper levels of UofG’s library and even that makes impending dissertation study slightly more bearable.
Not all the benefits of studying abroad will become immediately apparent upon your return but I already feel a lot more confident in my capabilities as a student and also just more generally. This is one of benefit among others that I feel I’ve taken from my exchange year and I’ll undoubtedly experience further benefits in the long term. Studying abroad will help you broaden your outlook and is likely to be a time of personal growth – you should come out of it a more confident, tolerant and mature person.
Increased employability is often cited as another benefit of studying abroad – some studies suggest that students with such experience are preferred by employers – I’m pleased to report that I’ve already experienced the benefit of having study abroad on my CV. I’ve been in a new job for about three weeks now and during my interview I got the chance to talk a bit about my experience in Australia – while I can’t say how important my study abroad experience was, the interviewer was inquisitive about my year and at the very least it gave me a good talking point.
Finally, over the course of last year we became close friends with students from England, India, Denmark, Germany and of course Australia as well. This is another great reason to study abroad – it provides you with the chance to meet people from all over the world, learn about their backgrounds, and make lifelong friendships while sharing some really great times. Having an international network of friends also makes future travel prospects more exciting and I know that the friends we made are keen to come and visit us in Scotland as well. There isn’t really a better place to build friendships than a university, given the number of students and social activities going on.
If anyone reading this is still undecided about studying abroad or feels reluctant to do it – take the leap of faith and I promise you won’t look back!