While at Essex you’re able to do a year abroad during your third year which could take you to one of over 150 institutions around the world. I spoke to a group of returning study abroad students, who currently study Law at Essex, to find out their top reasons to study abroad.
1. Discovering a New Culture
Although Australia speaks English, both Carla and Marcus, who were abroad in Perth, said they really enjoyed the Australian culture and found it a lot more laid back. They especially enjoyed spending weekends at the beach!
Ashley, who spent her year in Québec in Canada, experienced new cultures throughout the year including husky sledging and seeing wild whales and bears for the first time. She also highly recommends Canadian food – especially Poutine!
2. Gaining Independence
When doing a year abroad in a country like Australia, it is difficult to see family as often as you do when studying in the UK especially if you decide not to come home during vacation periods. This means that you learn to be a lot more independent than you may be back at Essex. Everyone I spoke to about their year abroad said they had gained a lot of independence while abroad.
3. Exploring More than One Country
Jacob, who spent his year abroad in the Netherlands, spent his weekends and breaks travelling across the rest of Europe including to Denmark and Germany. Across Europe train and plane tickets can be fairly cheap if you buy in advance or from cheap airlines and countries are close enough together that it only takes a few hours to travel across the majority of central Europe.
Carla and Marcus spent some of their time abroad travelling to Asia, as it is a lot closer to Australia than the UK, spending time in Fiji and Hong Kong.
4. Learning/Perfecting Another Language
Jacob told me that one of his favourite parts of being abroad was trying to learn Dutch, as well as French and German when travelling around Europe on the weekends. Ashley, who spent her year in Québec, Canada, already spoke French but spent her year perfecting her written French as in the UK she writes in English. These language skills will be invaluable in the future when just travelling abroad or in your career, maybe you can even consider practising Law abroad.
5. Making friends for life
Ashley told me her favourite part of her year abroad was making friends with people from her host university, and considers them friends for life. Jacob, Carla and Marcus agreed with this, and know that they always have somewhere they can call a home away from home and have friends to visit across the world.
You can find out more about doing a year abroad here, and you can choose to switch onto a year abroad during your first year.