Every student should study abroad!
We have all heard this phrase. But let’s be real, sometimes it’s just not that easy. It costs a ton and it means that you have to take a whole year out of your degree. Money and time are not something every student has. So, is it really worth it?
Well, last year I did exactly that. I chose to take a placement year, which in my case was to study abroad in New York for half of the year and work in London during the other half, which I am currently doing. Even though I have spent more money in this academic year than ever in my life, and went through some pretty stressful times, at this stage, I would say it has definitely been worth it. You learn and experience things you never would otherwise, but you have to be prepared.
So here is my advice on how to prepare yourself:
Make an effort to understand the culture before you go
This doesn’t have to be intense research but just a few Google searches will make life a lot easier. For example, I made sure to know the different definitions certain words have in the US compared to the UK. Trust me, people will like you better.
Make a to do list
There’s going to be so much to do and see, and trust me, you probably won’t do it all; especially when you make friends who recommend even more. Making a To-Do List gives you something to look forward to and helps you organise yourself. Coney Island was on my list and I managed to fit it in on a lovely summers day!
Spend money on experiences before anything else, like shopping.
It’s the experiences that will make your trip. While I was in New York, I made sure to know what was going on in the city and tried to go to any and all events that I could. One of my favourite things to do was to splash out on places with a view.
Take pictures, make friends and have fun! At the end of the day, that’s why you’re there.