Where’s Right For You? Choosing Your Host Institution for the Year Abroad.
Most students who will be spending their 3rd year abroad in 2014/15 have already thought about which country they want to go to. The next step in the allocation process is choosing the right host institution: as we have over 50 partner institutions to choose from, this is not a choice to be made lightly. Here we have a little advice for you as you prepare for your year abroad…
Where’s Right For You?
There are many factors to consider when thinking about your choice of host institution, and they are likely to be personal to you.
Just as you did when you decided to apply to Exeter, think carefully about what kind of university might suit you, what you want to study and how it either gives you some new options or adds value to your academic CV, what kind of lifestyle suits you, how you learn best and how your year abroad fits into your plan for life after university. How much do you want to challenge yourself culturally? Recruiters will be impressed by a European student who has spent a year in China or Taiwan and has picked up the foundations of Mandarin Chinese, but would you feel more comfortable if everyone around you spoke your native language, or a language you are familiar with? Remember that you need to give yourself every chance to succeed as well as gaining experience that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Dismiss Your Preconceptions – Do Your Research!
Be aware of preconceptions you might have. College life in the USA may seem familiar from books and screen, and there is no apparent language barrier to contend with, but in fact North American culture can be vastly different from European culture, particularly university life. Would you be happy with extremely long class hours and weekly assessments? Finding cultural differences where you don’t expect them can be more disorientating than travelling somewhere where you might expect contrast. Please bear in mind that the study experience and university culture can differ widely between, and within, different countries and institutions. For example, in Copenhagen, expect lots of group-work and presentations and in Italy your exams may be oral, not written.
Support systems also vary. Studying with a partner in Japan or Turkey you may find yourself on an entirely English-speaking campus with a very highly-developed support network for international exchange students. Closer to home at some universities in France, Germany or Spain, you may be expected to manage your affairs as independently as a local student.
Location, Location, Location
Where is the university located? Big cities may be attractive and offer access to major employers. Accommodation could be expensive however, and although our partners all have good transport links, the university campus may not be centrally located. Would you be happy to live independently some distance from your academic department, or do you enjoy the Exeter experience where everything is located on one campus? A smaller town may offer a more authentic experience of local culture, and more opportunities to befriend local people. What about sport and social opportunities?
And The Important One – Study!
Finally, and most importantly, what will you be studying? What module options will you have? This is a chance to look at potential future career specialisms (Aerospace management? Tourism, hospitality or events? Doing business in China?), subjects not offered at Exeter, or that your degree programme restricts you from trying, or even a completely different subject. The only restriction is that 75% of your course load should be related to “business” in the widest sense. You will also not be allowed to take modules you have already studied, or ones you will study in your fourth and final year here at Exeter. One of your first destinations should certainly be the course catalogue where you will be able to access information and guides as to what modules are available.
For further information on our with European Study and with International Study partners, please take a look at the Study Abroad/International Opportunties page on ELE, or alternatively you can find a list of partner universities on the website.
All 2nd years – It is not too late to register your interest in Study Abroad!
We are re-opening the Host Country Form on ELE (for Business School students) and Qualtrics (for INTO Diploma students) so that you can select your preferred host country choices for a 3rd year abroad ‘with European’ or ‘with International’ Study. The new deadline to submit the form is Friday 6th September.
If you have any queries at all please do not hesitate to contact the International Development Team via: