Produced by Kaitlin
BA (Hons) International Tourism & Hospitality Mgt
Thinking of going abroad as part of your studies? Whether it’s for studying or working during your placement year, there’s lots of things to consider before going in order to make the most of your experience and have the most fun!
I spent my placement year working in Spain for 3 months and studying in Finland for 6 months – I had the most incredible time! Now, I’m always telling other students how they can sign up for opportunities abroad at BU, but also make sure they also have an amazing time!
The first point applies both before you make your application, but also after! Research the host university: Check out the kind of facilities, services and even classes available. My host university (Savonia University of Applied Sciences) had a great student union, they hosted a whole variety of events but also had connections with the other universities and offered some excellent sports and gym classes. I was able to try out karate, yoga, aqua-fitness and even taekwondo, for just 30 euros for the entire semester! It’s also useful to check out what kinds of support services they have so you know who to go to, as well as other facilities such as language cafes, restaurants on campus and whatever else they might offer.
Research any student associations they have – I already said that my university had a students union, but they also had a specific team to organise events for international students, called ESN (Erasmus Student Network). They hosted some really interesting events, some of which focused particularly on Finnish culture and appreciating the diversity of international students at the university. They organised trampolining trips, parties, food festivals and even trips to Lapland, Sweden and Norway, which leads me to the next point…
Budget! Unfortunately, things have a cost. But, fortunately for you, Bournemouth is a tourism hotspot which means there are usually a wide range of summer jobs available! Whether you’re going abroad in semester 1 or 2, you can get a job in the summer, either in Bournemouth or in your hometown. Alternatively, it could be useful to get a part-time job alongside your studies before you go abroad (such as being a BU Student Ambassador – like me!) to gain some extra money – plus it’s fun! If you can learn to budget (sometimes there are workshops at BU!) and have a little extra finance during your time abroad, you will be able to say yes to so many cool experiences – trips to other countries or even just a night at the local pub, as well as easing any financial anxiety you might have.
Finally, be spontaneous! Say yes to every (or most!) opportunity – you’ll meet some amazing people, learn some new skills and so much more! The opportunity to study abroad is truly life changing in itself, but you can put in a little work to make it the most amazing experience ever!