Year abroad

3 reasons why a year abroad will change your life

Learn about studying, working or teaching abroad with guest blogger Emily, currently studying in  France

Hi, I’m Emily, and I’m a French and International Relations student here at Coventry University. I’m currently in my third year and I’m spending this year studying abroad, like the majority of my fellow language students. I’ve been in the very north of France in a city called Lille since September 2013, studying at university with help of the Erasmus exchange programme between European universities.

I’m halfway through my second and final semester at Université Lille 3, and pretty sad about it because I can honestly say I’ve had the best time of my life this year. ‘3’ seems to be the magic number for me, so I’ve put together a list of reasons as to why you should definitely consider a year abroad:

1. Meeting new people.

I know, I know, we meet new people all the time. However, the friends you make on placement will be so important to you during your time abroad and hopefully beyond. I’ve made friends from the US, Germany, and even other universities around the UK, and even though some of them have returned to their home countries, I’ve kept in contact. Of course, I’ve also made a tonne of French friends too – they’ve been so helpful and welcoming and my language has improved loads by just talking to them. I’ve learnt a huge amount about different cultures across the world and made connections with people in many different places, whilst only studying in one country. Cultural enrichment and great mates for years to come!

2. Experience a new way of life.

Whether or not you go to a non-English speaking country, the culture will still be pretty different to that in the UK, especially when you start noticing the little things after you’ve been in that country for a while. For me, it was seeing “grown-ups” using kids’ scooters to get to and from work! The way of life here in France is refreshingly different from that in the UK and I’ve adopted it well enough that I don’t feel like a tourist anymore. Not only have I experienced France, but this year I’ve also travelled. I’ve been to Bruges, Amsterdam, Prague, Brussels and have trips planned to Luxembourg, Normandy, Pays de la Loire in France, and Barcelona. Coventry University waives tuition fees if you study abroad for that year, and with extra money from the European government you can make sure that your year abroad is the best of your degree.

3. Change for the better.

My time in France has really enriched my life, and this is where a year abroad is really important in the eyes of employers. I’ve become much more confident after having to deal with banks, residences, university offices etc. all in a foreign country where the system is different, let alone in a foreign language!  If you’ve been working for the year, there might even be the chance to secure a graduate job with that company if you wish. A year abroad says to employers that you are an organised, independent individual who can cope well under pressure and can deal with lots of tricky paperwork. You will definitely stand out from other candidates!

What’s next for me?

When I (reluctantly) finish my year abroad, I’ll be returning to Coventry to complete the final year of my degree before beginning my graduate career in the British Army. My third year abroad has, without a doubt, changed my life, and I really hope it can change yours too!

What’s next for you?

If you want to read more about my time in France (and ignite your wanderlust!), feel free to check out my blog at AngloFrench Adventures. If you’re now convinced that taking a year abroad is for you (yay!), check out the IEMS pages on the student portal and have a look at the huge range of destinations waiting for you, whether via study programmes or with work placements. If you need any more convincing, check out ThirdYearAbroad, a fantastic website aimed at UK students who are thinking of, currently on or returning from a year abroad.


Thanks for reading!

– Emily 🙂