Olivia Bennett

University of Georgia, USA

It was really fun being part of such a large international community of students

Top three tips for Studying Abroad: 

  1. Firstly, do not worry if you don’t know much about the location you are offered. I did not know much about Copenhagen but now would like to go back and live/work there in the future as I enjoyed it that much.
  2. Secondly, if you are worried that you won’t make friends or won’t fit in, you are completely wrong. I will admit I was nervous as I arrived alone at Copenhagen airport to meet my peers, but within a few hours I was having a great time and was planning activities with my new friends.  Furthermore, these friends I am still in contact with now and plan to meet up at some point in the future.
  3. Finally, when applying for the study abroad programmes, be honest on your application and convey your passion for the scheme. The University want to know why they should send you instead of just another student, why are you going to be a good ambassador for the university and for the UK.  Tell them what you will get out of it, what you can give back and why you want to go.  

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Study abroad is one of the reasons I chose the University of Liverpool as I have always loved to travel. I really wanted to study abroad so I could visit more places as well as make friends from all over the world. I loved the idea of having freedom to live in a different country and explore a new location.  

What skills have you developed by Studying Abroad?

Definitely cultural awareness. Studying abroad makes you aware of so many cultural differences you didn’t even know existed. This also helped develop my communication skills as I now feel comfortable talking to anyone regardless of where they are from. Studying abroad improves your independence as you have to rely on your own knowledge instead of networks you have back home. It also helps your organisation skills as often you will have a lot of Academic and extracurricular commitments whilst still making time to travel and have fun. 

What were your highlights of Studying Abroad?

One of the key things I love about studying abroad is the chance to travel and explore more of the USA. I was able to travel to travel to 7 different states (Georgia, Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Illinois). One of my favourite trips was a trip to Chicago organised by one of my classes. I got to spend a week exploring the city and experience the amazing sites and food Chicago has to offer. I also loved my trip to Texas for thanksgiving break. I got to road trip with friends to the major cities and a national park which was so much fun. I also got to meet up with a friend from California who happened to be in Texas at the same time.

What did you get up to on Study Abroad when you were not studying?

I spent a lot of time travelling but I also spent a lot of time with friends I had made there. It was really fun being part of such a large international community of students as we all got to hang out a lot. We also went to all the American Football games and some basketball games which were something I had never seen before. The atmosphere on campus and in Downtown Athens on game day was incredible and made home game weekends just as exciting as weekends spent travelling. I also joined UGA’s outdoor adventure club which gave me the chance to do things like white-water rafting in Tennessee and hiking in North Carolina.

What challenges did you face when Studying Abroad and how did you solve them?

One challenge I faced was losing my bag in Atlanta during my second week there. One of my friends accidentally left it in the train station and then it was gone when he returned. I was obviously very stressed at first but then we changed our schedule so we could go back to find the bag and we luckily got it back. It became a running joke not to let him look after stuff and shows that you can easily overcome problems by staying calm.

Another challenge I faced was regarding modules. I realised that I had signed up for a higher level course that was really difficult and I would need to change it. I emailed back home and the study abroad team were really helpful in helping me drop the class.

Why should other students Study Abroad?

You should study abroad for so many reasons. It is cliché but it will honestly be the best part of your degree and will give you the chance to have so many new opportunities. You will fall in love with a new location and build up an amazing international community of friends from all across the globe. Whilst your friends are in lectures back home you can be exploring a new country and having fun travelling. You may also have the chance to study really interesting classes you can’t back home. There is funding available to help you make the most of your time abroad and your friends will still be here when you get back. It makes me proud to say I studied abroad and it is one of the best experiences of my life.