As soon as you hit third year in university you are bombarded with emails about studying abroad, student bursaries for studying abroad and notifications about study abroad meetings with tutors.
Granted, it’s optional – you don’t have to go.
These past few weeks and months, a bunch of people I know at a few different universities were heading out all over the world to spend five or six months studying in countries across Europe with some going even further afield.
I’m not one of these people and I don’t regret my decision.
Studying abroad is something to me that at face value, seems exciting. An opportunity to live in and embrace another country and its cultures. Of course the main reason of travelling to another country is to study at a different university but I’d also get to see another part of the world, meet new people and experience new things. My pasty skin could also do with some sunshine. But the more I looked into it, the less I wanted to go. No specific factor put me off the idea of studying abroad. When it came to application time, I just wasn’t overly keen.
Five or six months away from home is a lot of time. Particularly if you are going to be spending a majority of it alone and for someone like me who is a total homebody, it just seems a bit daunting. It’s expensive too, even with erasmus funding and student loans. Further afield and you’ve to drum up the thousands of pounds yourself. The pros and cons are evident and ultimately nobody but you can make the final decision about whether to stay or go.
If I’d have chosen to study abroad, I think it would probably have been because I always want to go and see somewhere different. I love visiting new places but I don’t need to study abroad to do that. I have a 5 month summer to spend as much time as I like travelling and seeing new places. Not studying abroad allows me to save money to spend as much time travelling in summer as humanly possible.
Honestly, I’m happy studying at home. It allows me to avoid forking out hundreds of pounds each month on rent and giving up a job at home that I might not get back. It lets me be around my friends, family and boyfriend daily. It allows me to work and intern and gain valuable experience that will aid me in a future career. It also allows me to get a head start on essential university course work for 4th Year of University, which at this stage is a blessing because I have no idea what I’m doing (send help).
I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything by not going abroad. I was surprised to find out that the majority of people stay at home. I think that if I did go, I’d have struggled to be anything other than miserable and homesick. All I’ve heard so far from friends studying abroad are horror stories about loneliness, accommodation deals falling through and being located nowhere even remotely near where they need to be.
It’s not my intention to talk you out of studying abroad but I am telling you that you do have the option to stay at home and it is quite a normal thing to do.