Why go abroad if you're not studying a language?

Why go abroad if you're not studying a language? Look on the Sunny Side by elycefeliz

This article was written by Natacha Cullinan, published on 24th March 2010 and has been read 6153 times.

Many students study or work abroad each year, even though they don't hold a language degree to their name. Although it might not seem that common, statistics from Erasmus show that they help well over 7,000 students make their way overseas each year - most, but not all, have studied the lingo; but they all come back having had an incredible experience. Whether you'd like to work or study, regardless of what degree you're doing or about to do, you'd be missing a trick if you didn't plan a brief stint abroad.
Apart from spending some time in a different country, making the most of its culture, entertainment and travelling, you'll also be adding valuable experience to your CV

Research has proven that moving abroad to either work or study increases your chances of getting employed, once a recruiter is faced with the tough decision of picking the ideal candidate. And it makes sense: Would you pick Mr George Smith who has studied Computer Engineering and has an MSc to his name, or Mr Paul Reed who has studied the same course, yet got his MSc in one of the best foreign establishments, whilst learning the language?
Going abroad gives you that extra something that people look for in a new employee. It shows you can adapt to a new setting, a new culture, new values even. Some of the best courses for Engineering are offered outside of the UK - take Germany for example, also giving you great prospects for finding work out there once you've completed your studies. You'll make good contacts, which you can use at a later date. And you'll learn a little German along the way, make the most of the huge variety of beer and food on offer, ski some slopes, travel and explore its neighbouring countries (Austria is only a stone's throw away), whilst doing something you really want to do. Medicine's also another popular course to study abroad - what about rubbing shoulders with one of the best national health systems in the world, in captivating Cuba?
Most students don't realise the opportunities that come with their degree, as a year abroad is usually associated with language students. It doesn't have to be the case. The fact is, the Erasmus programme is open to all students, as long as you want to stay within Europe; if you want to venture out, you can always carry out your own research, starting here. You might not be interested in learning a new language at all - the States have some of the best universities in the world and what about going South: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa could be the right place for you!
The first step is to speak to your course coordinator about the idea, and to really get to grips with both the university's requirements, both at home and away. You might just find that taking some time away will do you some good, you'll spread your wings, you'll meet new people and you might get the chance to go back there rather more permanently. Or you might find out it's not the right place for you - so why not test run it when you can, with the safety net of university?
Even if you don't plan on studying away, there's other routes you can take - why not work or volunteer for a few months, whilst focusing on your interests? There are literally hundreds of organisations out there, it's just a case of finding the right one for you. Internships or paid placements for a year look fantastic on a CV, whilst giving you the chance to find out if it's the right sector of work for you.
Some of you may have family out there; others may have dreamt of packing off since their teens; one or two might be thinking of moving out there once their degree is over; whilst others even may just want to give that little bit back to a community - whatever your reasons, your train of thought or your career prospects, going away gives you the chance to experience something new, gain some valuable skills, learn about foreign customs and find out what you're really about. It's a real eye-opener, blink and you'll miss your chance to have one of the best experiences life could throw at you, so make sure you read our articles and speak to your university about getting yourself out there!

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