Tejinder is sharing her favourite things about studying abroad at Queen's and why she thinks everyone should give it a try if they get the opportunity.
I am an international student and making the decision to study abroad was definitely something that took a lot of thought and weighing the pro and cons. Obviously, the pros outweigh the cons by a large margin! After being at Queen’s for almost 2 academic years, I feel like every student who is able to should try to study abroad for some period of their education. There are many reasons why I think this and I have written a few here:
It seems like such a simple thing to say, that you will meet new people if you study abroad. However, it is not only meeting new people in general; it is meeting new people of other cultures and backgrounds. Immersing yourself in a different culture than you are used to can really help widen your perspective about life, people and our world. We live in a world where networking does not only happen within cities or countries; we are all definitely international citizens and creating contacts around the world can be very beneficial. I made a few friends last year who were on Erasmus at Queen’s from Spain. Although I only knew them for one semester, we have kept in touch and I learned so much about Spanish culture from them - all the way in Belfast!
When I lived at home, my parents really helped me a lot at home and I never had to really make decisions about day to day things. Living alone across the world, where my parents cannot help me, has given me a new sense of responsibility. If I had even moved away within Canada, I think my parents would still come to help me a lot because I would be close enough, whereas now that’s not possible. I think everyone should live on their own for a while to become independent for their day to day life; essential life skills like cooking, cleaning, making decisions about how to spend your time, etc are enforced in full effect when you live alone. I did not want to cook because I thought I would not like it but once my wallet was unhappy about my food expenditures, I decided to experiment with cooking and now I find that it is something I truly enjoy.
We all have many ideas, or preconceived notions about people, places or things which may be based on stereotypes or media, etc. Studying abroad can help bust some of those myths, stereotypes or misconceptions. Before moving to Belfast, I had many preconceived misconceptions about the location, just based on what I had seen in movies and online or heard from others. It was definitely an interesting experience forming my own perception of Belfast, Queen’s and Northern Ireland after actually living here. No matter where you go to study abroad, it can help you uncover some ideas that you might not have known you have! After recognizing these ideas, we can all work on figuring out whether they are true or not.
Living with my parents, I always just followed their general routine and lifestyle. Moving away from home allowed me to create my own daily and weekly routine after figuring out what works best for myself. I had to learn how I like to utilize my time, plan out my day, etc which I couldn’t always do when I lived at home. Also, adapting to a new country also forced me to figure out my own likes and dislikes even faster because I wanted to adjust to Belfast and meet new people.
I haven’t met anyone who does not want to travel. Studying abroad indirectly gives you the opportunity to live in a different country/city and travel to a new place. Along with this, you get to see many new areas around the place where you might be studying. For myself, I have used my location in Belfast to sightsee all around Belfast, Dublin, Dundee, Derry, and I have an upcoming trip to London! I am trying to utilize my opportunity of being close to these places to travel while I’m studying here because travelling from Canada to these places is REALLY far and expensive!
Ways of teaching, perspectives on education, and education systems vary across the world and even throughout universities. To get a better perspective on the difference in education in your own home country and other places, it can be beneficial to study abroad. I have been able to compare and contrast the differences in the education systems in Belfast and Canada and it has given me a wider perspective on the process of education.
There are so many reasons why studying abroad is a great experience, but these are my top ones. I really think everyone should jump at the chance if they get the opportunity.
Dentistry| 2nd year | Canada
I am a 24-year-old Canadian girl through and through! I came to Belfast in Sept 2017 to start my degree in Dentistry. While I do have a degree from Canada (in Biochemistry), coming to Belfast has been an entirely new experience. I am part of the Canadian American Student Association and I am also a Residential Assistant, so if you see me around, say hi! I love reading, sports, singing but above all, I am a coffee fanatic, so I am always up for a chat over a delicious cup of coffee!
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