What advice do you have for students who are currently trying to find programs suited for them?
Utilise the resources at your university. Most will have designated international study staff who run programs specifically targeting different courses. Your academics may also be able to provide advice.
Find the reason WHY you want to pursue an international experience. Are you there to immerse yourself in the academics of your host university, are you drawn to an aspect of a culture, do you want to learn a language, are you there to be in a central location for your travels? Consider whether you want to be a part of a big, state wide University, or perhaps a small institution (e.g. liberal arts). Do you want to live in a college-like town or perhaps in a city? Sometimes students have a certain expectation of what an overseas experience may be like and then arrive at their host university and this will be completely different! Discovering the reason and motivations is beneficial in assisting with planning a budget, researching and estimating a cost of living, and discovering your comfort zones!
Discovering the reason and motivations is beneficial in assisting with planning a budget, researching and estimating a cost of living, and discovering your comfort zones!
For students looking to study abroad, we recommend that students find a match of the study abroad program based on their home degree program requirements and ideal country location. Both are important factors that influence the academic, social, cultural and lifestyle experiences of a semester abroad.
Keep your options broad; if you’re interested in a particular country to study in, take a look at multiple offerings within that country. Try not to get your heart set too much on a single option, as it is a highly competitive environment. Take a chance to travel to somewhere out of your usual comfort zone. The world has plenty of options that are waiting for you that you’ll miss if you stay too conservatively.
There are literally hundreds of options for overseas study, so keep an open mind and invest time in researching your options. Think about your reason for wanting to go on an overseas program; is it to see a destination you’ve always wanted to go to? Is it to learn a new language? Is it to be able to study at a university that offers the best subjects in your chosen discipline? Then, narrow it down to the type of experience you want; basically, would you like to be overseas for an entire semester or year, or would you like to try to fit in a short course in between session breaks? Talk to your Overseas Study Office or Study Abroad Office as there is a wealth of information and assistance that they can offer in terms of finding the right fit and subjects for your degree.
It is important for students to find a program that suits them both academically and personally. When researching for exchange programs, we advise students to search through the subject areas and Units of Study offered at the potential host university. This is important to ensure they will be able to take units relevant to their degree, so that these units can then be transferred to their academic transcript on their return. However, it is also important for students to feel passionate about their exchange destination. We advise students who are considering an exchange to select a country and city that excites them. As they will be living there from 2 weeks to a full academic year, it is important they feel comfortable in the city itself. One of the highlights of exchange is making connections with people around the globe and feeling part of a new culture. If students are overwhelmed by the selection of potential destinations and host institutions, it is advised that they chat to Peer Advisors like myself or an Exchange Advisor. There is plenty of support available.
Why is studying abroad important for university students?
University graduates now have the opportunity of working in a global context. To be competitive in this wider marketplace they have to have cultural awareness and ‘soft skills’ that are widely recognised to be developed through international study.
It gives students the opportunity to widen their comfort zones, way of thinking and way of learning. More importantly, it gives students the freedom, independence and responsibility to move to a new country, to navigate different academic systems, manage their own routine and learn as much as possible. On their return, students will be able to bring a new world view to their classrooms, way of life and reflect on fond memories of their time spent abroad while at University!
Studying abroad is important for university students as it helps build independence, maturity, develops networks of international friends/future business contacts, provides an international aspect of their degree, and allows them to see their own country in comparison to others and from an outside perspective. It is the single most life changing experience one can have during their university studies that will help them stand out in their future career.
It is the single most life changing experience one can have during their university studies that will help them stand out in their future career.
Studying abroad opens up the world to students, allowing them to view different lifestyles, cultures and mindsets that they would otherwise be sheltered from, especially in Australia. It supports students to develop self-confidence, open-mindedness and fosters curiosity and geographic and personal exploration.
Undertaking an overseas study experience is a great way to add an international dimension to a student’s degree. It’s a unique opportunity that allows students to be locals and not just tourists. Studying abroad has links to greater graduate outcomes including one of the most important - finding employment after graduation. It is a chance to broaden academic and personal horizons, gain lifelong friends, expand cultural competencies and often times acquire a second (or third) language.
Studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity for students academically, socially and vocationally. It enables students to study at world-leading institutions in their degree-area and potentially select subjects specific to their location, increasing their knowledge and understanding of their field. It also provides a highly beneficial opportunity for students considering further studies or careers overseas to establish contacts that can assist them in the future. For future employees, an exchange demonstrates one’s organisation, academic merit and cultural awareness. For language students, the benefits of living amongst the language they are studying are invaluable, providing them with situational practice in speaking and listening that they would otherwise not have in the classroom. Studying abroad also strengthens one’s awareness of his or herself as a global citizen, increasing one’s understanding of other cultures and forming friendships that will last a lifetime. Living alone in a new country greatly increases one’s self-confidence, equipping them with skills that they will continue to use and develop throughout their life.