Going on exchange was one of the greatest decisions I have made. I have met so many wonderful people, learned so much about myself, and experienced so many things from studying abroad that I wouldn’t change it for anything else (Channing Tatum would be a close exception). Yes it can be stressful at times, but all the effort is worth it in the end!
I’ll talk about my personal experiences later on, but to start, here are the 5 things you should know before deciding to embark on the stressful and wonderful journey that is studying abroad. Cheers to Parks & Recreation for having a plethora of gifs that I can use for this post 🙂
WHY DO YOU WANT TO STUDY ABROAD?
It may be self explanatory to you, but I suggest that you take time to really think about why you want to study overseas because this will determine how motivated you are to actually go through with the process Trust me folks, it ain’t a walk in the park (haha see what I did there). There are interviews, application forms, deadlines, embassy appointments, money to save, etc that need your attention on top uni work. Those who actually end up going overseas are the people who are truly determined to go on exchange. The question is, are you up for the challenge ?
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO ?
Okay, don’t just say [awesome place here] because its cool. Research my friends! Hell, make colour coded binders like Leslie Knope! While the country of your choice is important, you also need to think about what you’re studying and what universities can cater to your degree (it is called STUDY abroad haha). Remember, you are going for an entire semester so it is imperative that you do your research.
CAN YOU AFFORD IT?
This is very obvious. You probably wont be earning any money while you are on exchange so it is very, VERY important that you make sure you have enough money! While there is financial aid from the government such as OS-HELP and Youth Allowance, you must make sure that you save up your own money too. There are big upfront costs such as visa payments, plane tickets, and your housing/accommodation. But there are also other expenses such as food, transportation, party fund (lol). You also need to account for any trips you want to take while you are studying abroad. I worked 6 days a week for about 1.5 years to go on exchange. Because I was wise with my spending, I had more than enough money do live comfortably and do pretty much whatever I wanted. I also didn’t come home broke, which was a great plus. Unfortunately, some of my fellow exchange students weren’t so prepared and had to use their credit cards ALL THE TIME, ask their parents for money, and really cut down on their weekly expenses. Some even missed out on some really fun trips. Being broke overseas sucks, so save your dollars now!
ARE YOU EMOTIONALLY PREPARED?
Like I mentioned earlier, the process of studying abroad can be stressful. You need to be emotionally prepared for whatever happens and try not to get too upset if things don’t go the way you planned. Once you are overseas, there are other emotional factors such as feeling homesick, alone, and scared. Going to a new place on your own is a scary process, but remember that you’ll most likely have study abroad ambassadors and other exchange students going through the same thing as you. Just keep an open mind, and put a smile on your face! You’ll find your place in no time.
THE FINAL WORD
Going on exchange was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. I have me some wonderful people, done many crazy things, and grew a lot. Asking myself these questions really helped me figure out why I wanted to study abroad and ultimately prepared me for what was ahead. I hope this post helps you with your decision! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
GIFS credits from: Parks and Recreation, and http://giphy.com/
Cover photo from the amazing Jessica Durrant 🙂 http://jessicadurrant.com/