Hello and welcome to your informal guide on how to study abroad whilst at University.
Although this will mostly be University of Chester-specific, it may also be a useful guide for other students. For my other readers, I'll be leaving for Northern Arizona in August so the blog posts will get more interesting from then, I promise! Either way, if you have any questions about anything on this blog or otherwise travel related, please don't hesitate to email me at the following address: email@example.com
|I will be using old photos from my trip to Turkey in 2012 |
to try and break these posts up a little!
So why do I want to study abroad?
An early obsession with teenage drama movies was probably the reason behind my lifelong dream to go to an American High School. Unfortunately, although I did spend a few weeks in a school in Germany, I never made it to the USA in time to go to a High School.
Perhaps for this reason, as soon as I thought of University, I also thought of studying at an American College. I actually specifically chose to come to Chester because, at the applicant day, my future lecturer of Events Management advertised how studying and/or working abroad was a common aspect of the course they offered.
|That slow-mo, high school hair flick right there.|
On a different note, just by looking at this blog or speaking to me once, you'll know that I am forever interested in culture and traveling and experiencing the world, so obviously this just seemed like the next best thing to a gap year.
Actually, if anything, coming from someone who spent a maximum of 3 weeks in one place throughout their gap year, the idea of spending an entire academic year in one place really excited me. Whilst on a gap year, you get to go anywhere you want to and get to experience a vast amount of cultures in a short amount of time, you don't tend to fully immerse yourself into the local culture, because by nature, a gap year is too short to really figure out "the way of the local".
The fact that I spent 2 months in Australia and only met 3 locals also spurred me on. I don't want to just travel the world anymore, I want to live in it.
Thus, spending an entire year at a different university was the answer for me!
Other positives for studying abroad include:
- Gaining confidence in yourself
- you are on your own in a foreign country after all!
- Gaining friends around the world
- you never know, they might come in useful in the future.
- Gaining knowledge of the world
- seeing and experiencing another culture can really educate you on your own.
|From my experience of 1 month working in Turkey, |
I know that one year will be amazing.
So how did I organise my study abroad experience?
Since I already knew that I wanted to study abroad and that my university offered it, my initial steps might be a bit different to yours. My advice to you is to find out as early as possible who the best person is to speak to about going abroad. For the University of Chester, your best bet is emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and asking to set up a meeting.
As you might have guessed, my doing this and various behind the scenes, long term projects mean that the study abroad system here at Chester is changing. This might mean that the information I had access to when applying (or lack of) is different to what you can now get. Therefore, as well as watching the videos I am yet to create, my advice is to look at the University of Chester website to get some initial ideas on what opportunities you have. Hopefully by the time you read this, the new website layout will be up and running for you! (If not, just know that its changing for the better).
So how does it all work?
ISEP, Bilateral or Experiential Learning in the Wider World (WB5004). Now, just to clarify, I am going to be an ISEP student so if you are planning on doing the other two, although some processes might be the same, I am not the best person to ask for those. Maybe instead, you should add the study abroad office on Facebook and ask if there is anyone who has done it before.
|You know I'm intelligent because I have glasses on.|
"ISEP is a network of over 300 colleges and universities in 50 countries cooperating to provide affordable access to international education for a diverse student population." - ISEP Website
Basically, you can go pretty much anywhere around the world by applying through ISEP and you can do so for either an entire academic year or split the year into two semesters and go to two different places. Their available universities are split into US Universities and International Universities since it is an american organisation.
"A bilateral exchange is an exchange undertaken by students under a partnership agreement that has been reached directly between the University of Chester and each one of its Partner Institutions" - Overseas Exchange Lecture
So basically, there are a select few universities around the world that have partnered up with the University of Chester and mean that you can go there, and one of their students can come to Chester! The application process here is therefore very different to that with ISEP. As with ISEP, you can do a full academic year or split it into two semesters in different places.
Experiential Learning in the Wider World (WB5004)
"This is a unique opportunity to gain credit towards your degree, and the chance of participating in projects around the globe." - University of Chester Website
WB5004 is different to the other two by the fact that it is not a year long placement, it is a replacement for the Work Based Learning module taken at the end of your second year, here at the University of Chester.
|Oh what's that information down there?|
This therefore means that
You can do ISEP or Bilateral either in your second year (as a replacement to the one in Chester) or as an extra third year (resulting in your actual 3rd year becoming your 4th year).
Alternatively, or on top of this, you can do WB5004 in your second year (only).
**You cannot however have one bilateral semester and one ISEP semester - they must be through the same application process I am afraid **
|So.. I will be 2 years older than everyone else graduating?|
I promise this is my happy face.
Right! I think that is enough information for now. I'll be back soon to tell you more about the application process but for now, go grab yourself a tea and go over the information again to make sure you understand what your options are before moving on.
|Me after applying for my visa.|
Next post in the series: Introduction and Options Video