What To Do When Living Abroad In Europe
Studying for a degree in another country not only offers potential students the chance to obtain a qualification but to experience different cultures, it looks great on a student CV too! The main reasons students choose to study abroad is to gain experiences, learn another language, meet people from different cultures and to take advantage of the chance to travel to a variety of different countries.
An experience of a lifetime
Travelling offers experiences that you wouldn’t get at home. Nobody can say for sure what you’ll come across when you’re abroad, but the possibilities are endless, you could find yourself peacefully protesting in France or swimming in the volcanic pools in Iceland!
Living and studying abroad is another wonderful way to gain some language skills and reducing language barriers. The locals and your fellow students will speak a different language to you, but the majority will also be fluent in English, so you won’t feel completely isolated. Over the three to four years, you’ll have the chance to pick up a second language which will look fantastic on your CV (and you can show it off when you get home!)
Meeting the people from all over the world
Living abroad you’ll come to realise that even though people live and grow in different countries, there isn’t that much of a divide between us all. Meeting a variety of people in your student housing can come from across the globe will broaden your horizons and give you a new appreciation for different cultures.
The opportunity to travel to so many countries in Europe is wonderful. Thanks to the Bologna process, the majority of Europe’s countries have a relaxed regime on their internal border controls meaning you can travel between countries quite easily. Now that makes it very hard to find an excuse not to travel to the next country right? You could end up spending a weekend exploring Germany and the next topping up your tan in Spain! The Erasmus programme, is just one of many programmes that makes studying and travelling abroad a lot more accessible.
There is so much more to a country than its language and the colour of its flag. Each country has its cultural practices, festivals, beliefs and laws and it can be an exciting experience to learn and engage with them all. You might feel brave enough to take part in a parade or end up learning how to master the native dish! Yum!
CV and job interviews
The opportunist in us all will agree that your CV will stand out once you can state that you lived and worked abroad for three years. It can show potential employers that you have a strong sense of yourself, are able to work alone and can take challenges and succeed! Employers would love someone who is more worldly known and who was brave enough to take this big jump to study abroad.
There are still opportunities to volunteer and do honest and charitable work abroad. Volunteering isn’t just associated with your local charities at home or a part of a school project. There are amazing organisations all over the world that need help, and it could become a part of your life when you move overseas too, gap year agencies are able to help arrange volunteering work.
Most students around the world find a part time job to help them finance their studies and leisure activities. Finding a job abroad can be tough with the language barriers so if you aren’t holding any language skills, it might be best to research into studying in a country that is fluent in English or your native tongue to ease the pressure.
Some companies or businesses may want an employee who can speak more than one language as that represents their local area; therefore you might find you are at a disadvantage. Potential students wishing to study abroad could always start their job search now to see what jobs are available where they’ll be staying, what the unemployment rate is and how it affects that country and what employers are looking for. If you research which jobs are available and what experience they need, you could use this time to prepare yourself before you go, but remember you have gone to get yourself a degree, so make sure you manage working and studying, finding the right balance is essential.
The European Union (EU), or the European Economic Association (EEA), allows any EU citizen or national to study and work in another country within the EU. This means you can work, study and live in any country which is a part of the EU if you are from a country that is also a part of the EU without applying for visas or work permits.
Switzerland deserves it’s own section in the employment area as it isn’t a member state of the EU or the EEA, but its citizens and EU citizens have the same rights. An EU citizen studying in Switzerland is allowed a part time job of a maximum of 15 hours per week while studying.