The study abroad deadline is fast approaching, and students don’t have much time at all to perfect their applications. The choice of universities and countries students can go to is impressive – Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, the USA… It can be hard almost to whittle the choices down to just three.
We spoke to a range of students who have taken part in study abroad. Those who were from Glasgow and did their study abroad elsewhere, and those from different universities doing their study abroad here, in Glasgow. Much of the advice can be applicable to anywhere you go.
Calum is in fourth year, studying Business and Politics at the University of Glasgow. He did his study abroad in Dalhousie University, Canada.
He said: “In your application show you have researched the cost of living for each university you apply for eg price of accommodation in the area, transport cost, food. Demonstrating you have costed your year abroad is extremely important in being successful with an application. Name the specific course at the host university you want to apply for not your programme equivalent at Glasgow. Also mention the specific classes you want to go to. This will help you stand out with your application. Lastly be realistic. I applied for all the top and most popular universities for year abroad and did not get in. But don’t be disheartened if you don’t get in as they have a second round of applications in the new year for those who are unsuccessful and that is how I managed to get accepted. Reach out on the Glasgow Uni go abroad Facebook page to find out specifically about other people’s experiences from the year before you to find out if it is definitely the best country for you.”
Elana is a third year Spanish and German student at the University of Glasgow, currently studying on year abroad in Málaga. She said: “Try and sort your visa as early as possible, leaving it last minute can be very stressful and it can take a while to arrive. Before moving, join Facebook and WhatsApp groups specifically for Erasmus, it’s a great way to get to know people beforehand. I would recommend staying in student accommodation, it’s a great way to meet new people from around the world, and get to learn about their cultures. The first week is tough, I.e being away from family and friends, but it does get easier. Regularly have FaceTime calls with family/ friends, always makes it easier when you’re missing them.”
“University can be difficult to adjust to, for example, longer classes, less feedback and classes being in a different language. I struggled with classes completely being in Spanish, and didn’t understand much of the content, but my understanding got better around week four. Many universities are linked to organisations that specifically host events/ trips for Erasmus students, definitely get involved with these, as it’s a great way to meet new people. If you’re moving to Spain, try and complete the empadronamiento and book your TIE, ensuring that your visa can be extended. I would also recommend getting a SIM card from the country you’re staying, as this works out cheaper than using your own one.”
Maeve is in third year, studying English Literature and Spanish at the University of Glasgow, currently on a year abroad in Seville, Spain. She said: “I’d say just to be very thorough with the financial application side of things. Come up with specific examples of what you’re going to be spending money on. The application takes a while and can be stressful on top of other uni work.”
Zoe, a fourth year History and French Literature student at McGill University, Canada, did her study abroad in Glasgow.
She said: “Looking at the cost of living of the cities you want to live in is really important if you’re on a budget. Also, I think the choice of city is more important than the choice of university. You might think you’ll go to your classes but you probably won’t as much as you normally do because you’ll want to travel and explore and it’s fine. Choose a city that has a good location so that you can travel a lot. I chose Glasgow for the city, the location and the cost of living. I also wanted a city where I already spoke the language so that I could easily befriend locals. I had Glasgow as first choice, then Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bologna. I read a lot about Glasgow and looked at the university’s YouTube channel to see vlogs from students that were already there. That’s also how I chose my dorm when I finally got accepted (student vlogs). The application was not that long but the research of the school/city, I took my time. I do not regret my choice one bit. I love Glasgow. I would suggest coming to your university earlier so that you can meet people. No one has friends in the first two weeks, but after that, people have friend groups. Be quick and do the most. I did almost all the freshers activities and made a fantastic friend group in the first two days.”
Amalia is in second year, studying Human Geographies and Literature. She said: “So I’m actually on study broad TO Glasgow from Perth, Australia but I’m sure parts of my experience still apply! Biggest advice is to put experience before academics, this was hard for me to do as I take really great pride in the standard of work but it’s been so rewarding saying yes to going out with mates to the pub, or spontaneous weekend trips, parties, travel etc etc. Another lil tip is save as MUCH as possible before you do your exchange so you can say yes to as many things and really treat yourself in a way you wouldn’t at home. Also definitely opt for student accommodation as this literally forces you to make friends if you struggle a bit socially! I applied for a few different unis in the UK but Glasgow was my first choice and I got in which was fab. So far the experience has been fantastic, and even better than I thought it would be; seen so many beautiful things, people and places.”
The deadline for applications has now been extended to 11.30pm on Monday the 5th of December – good luck!