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Benefits of doing a year abroad

My year abroad in Montréal, Canada was the best year of my undergraduate degree. As well as learning a lot at the university I studied at, I learnt a lot about myself as a person. But why should you consider doing a year abroad?

To become more independent and confident

Moving away from home to go to university in another UK city is one thing but moving to a completely different country really makes you step outside your comfort zone. It was scary living thousands of miles away from home, but I became so much more confident and independent because of it. Although you still have support from family and friends back home, it teaches you how to solve problems by yourself and lead your own life.

To experience a new culture

Immersing yourself in a new culture is the most exciting thing about living abroad. It’s not just about trying different food or enjoying the country’s national holidays but also being surrounded by people at university or work. I remember walking past students at my host university who would be speaking French but would throw in some English words here and there. It was one of the many facets of Montréal culture that I loved!

To learn a new language or build on existing skills

Because I did my year abroad as part of my French and Spanish degree, improving my language skills was the main aspect of it. You can learn so much just by being constantly surrounded by the language, whether you’re listening to people speak it on the street or reading posters on public transport.

To travel to new places

Not only do you have a whole new city to explore when you move abroad, but you also have the opportunity to travel further, which really enriches the experience. It can be difficult on a student budget, but it’s worth saving up to visit a couple of nearby cities throughout the year. I visited Ottawa with my friends one weekend, and then a few months later I spent a few days in Toronto by myself. I picked the cheap option by taking a 6-hour Megabus to Toronto, but it was so worth it!

After a couple of months, Montréal felt so much like a home to me that I forgot that I was thousands of miles away from the UK. Living there for a year still feels like a huge achievement, and I have so many great memories and stories. It can be tough at times, but it changes you for the better and is definitely a worthwhile experience.

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