You won’t get this opportunity again
Of course it’s painful to say goodbye to the people you’ve met, to the places you’ve been and even to the lifestyle you had. Sure, it may have been difficult at times, but it definitely should not be considered as just some ‘experience’. When a student goes abroad for many months, they should expect their life to completely change. When I was in Colorado, I did things I would never have even begun to imagine I could do. Seeing moose in the wild? Climbing cliffs? Sleeping in the middle of a desert?! But much more to the exchange than the activities that I undertook whilst abroad was of course the university itself. It was beyond fascinating to see how much more unfettered students and professors are to each other than in the UK. It’s almost as if students couldn’t wait to get to class to have conversations with professors about class topics as if they knew each other for 20 years!
But in the end, I must look back prior to applying for the study abroad placement. It now feels though as if at the time I was ignorant to the multi-culture and diversity that is present in the United States. Why did I apply to study in the United States? Well apart from the fact that my course industry is more prevalent in the US than any other nation (film and television), I had always wanted to go to the US to experience life as a student. A person is only young once in their lives and I was not going to let this opportunity pass. Yet, other than life dreams, I of course also did consider the career prospects that would have benefitted me in the future. I distinctly remember the University of Reading’s ESAO presentation boasting that the majority of students that go abroad statistically get better grades and better career opportunities. I was fortunate to return from the States with a GPA of 4.0, the maximum grade achievable!
As it stands right now, I have taken an international exchange in a nation where I plan to live permanently in the future, did modules which are no-where near similar as the ones that I’m taking in the UK and gained the maximum grades possible. Sure, one may think that all of this comes at a cost. But here’s the thing, I didn’t spend a penny more for tuition as they were included in Reading’s yearly tuition fees. I also saved a tonne of money on rent as I managed to find a private accommodation in Fort Collins not far from the university at a fraction of the price that I currently pay in Reading. And of course, the IMAGINE bursary which aided me in paying the health insurance cost. By analysing the amount of money on which I spent compared to what I gained from it, I’d say that there is no question on the value for money that the student is granted.
If you’re a student that’s contemplating on whether to go or not, for heaven’s sake just try it! You won’t be living there forever, and you won’t get this opportunity again. Just go for it!United States