Intern Insight - What's it like to Study Abroad?
Hi, my name is Emma and I currently work as a graduate intern at The University of Manchester. Before I was an intern, I was a student here! I studied Psychology and graduated in Summer 2019. I chose Psychology as it was my favourite subject at A-Level and I chose Manchester as I loved the city and also the Psychology course allowed me to do a Study Abroad year. This means that my third year of University was spent 3204 miles away from Manchester, studying at The University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US!
What was it like to Study Abroad?
I won’t lie, the first two weeks that I spent in America were super hard. I had so many questions running through my head… Have I made the right decision? Will I ever get used to this new country? Will all my friends still be my friends when I get back? But, just as with my first two weeks starting in Manchester, all of the worries and fears disappeared as soon as I got into the flow and got more used to my surroundings. Through fun events put on by the International Programmes Office at UMass, like American football games, quizzes and BBQs, I made friends with lots of other British and Australian exchange students who were all going through the same culture-shock as me.
All of my American friends were amazing and super supportive, I even spent the Thanksgiving holidays with one of my friends and her family. It was also fun introducing our new American friends to all the finest things about the UK… aka Love Island! I loved spending time with my American friends and learning about their country but it was also super nice to have my UK and Australian friends that were going through the same as me and to be able to talk about our home comforts.
One of the things I enjoyed most about my Study Abroad year was (funnily enough) the studying. The way University is structured in the US is different to how we study in the UK. My timetable in the US ran so that Monday, Wednesday and Friday were all the same and Tuesday and Thursday were the same, whereas in the UK, each day is different. I actually liked the US way better as it meant I had shorter lectures and was able to digest the information better. In America, they also have mid-term exams (just like the movies!!). This meant that instead of being tested just at the end of the semester, like in the UK, you were tested more frequently throughout the year. Again, I personally enjoyed this more as it felt like I was being tested on my knowledge throughout and it meant I really did have to stay on top of my work!
What are the benefits of Studying Abroad?
The academic benefits of studying abroad are endless. I had to adapt my learning style to fit in with the way University works in the US and this meant that coming back to the UK for my final year, I was able to use all of the new skills I had learnt and ways of working to help me achieve higher grades. I was also able to take modules that aren’t available at Manchester such as LGBTQ+ Psychology, Educational Psychology and The Psychology of Adoption.
As well as the academic benefits, there are so many personal benefits to studying abroad. The most obvious personal benefit for me was getting to travel. I’d never been outside of Europe before so getting to explore cities like Boston, New York and Toronto was something I never thought I would get the opportunity to do. Another personal benefit was gaining even more independence and confidence. I feel like if I can just up and move to the other side of the Atlantic on my own, there isn’t much I couldn’t do now. I’ve also made friends for life – I’ve got friends up and down this country as well as a best friend in Sydney and some of my closest friends dotted around the US.
If you can do a course that offers a year abroad or semester abroad, I would say 100% go for it. The benefits are endless and you will have the time of your life. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so glad that I decided to go!
If you’re interested in finding out more about anything that I have spoken about please head to these links for more info:
- Psychology at Manchester - https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/psychology/
- Study Abroad at Manchester - https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/expanding-study/study-abroad/
- Go Abroad Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/uom_goabroad/
- Blog written by students on their year abroad - https://manchesterontheroad.com/