Widen your horizons with a year abroad

Studying or working abroad is a fantastic opportunity to internationalise your degree, boost your personal development and gain a new perspective on your studies.

Each year, more than 700 Bristol students spend a semester or year abroad. Students often say that their placement abroad was a highlight of their degree.

Here, Hannah talks about her experience of studying at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, as part of her BSc in Criminology.

It must have been daunting leaving your family and friends behind. How did you feel when you first arrived?

During the first week it felt like I was on holiday, if not slightly hectic. Whilst you’re trying to settle yourself in and complete necessary errands, like buying a phone SIM and opening a bank account, you are also trying to meet people and explore your new home before university commences. I personally didn’t struggle to meet people as I lived in a shared house with a large group of students from other universities. However, if you do feel lonely or like you are struggling to meet people, the university hosts welcome/mingling events during orientation week which a lot of students attend so this can also be a good way to meet people.

What was the course like?

I found the studying side of the year enjoyable. The workload was similar to what I have been used to at Bristol, but with more frequent assessments throughout the semester. I decided to take two open units and two units compatible with my course, which was really rewarding as it allowed me to explore new subjects/interests outside of my degree subject.

How did you spend your time outside of your studies?

In terms of socialising and travelling, there was so much to do in and around Brisbane and the city was always putting on events and entertainment. The university also has societies for international students which you can join to meet people or just enjoy the events they host; QUEST is particularly good for this. With regard to travelling, you will almost certainly do some travelling in your year abroad and I would 100% recommend this but definitely start saving as soon as you can to ensure you can fully experience each destination you choose without feeling too much of a financial strain.

What’s your advice to students taking a year abroad?

I think a great way to approach the year is to be open and friendly to everyone. You will meet so many people throughout the year so keeping an open mind to experiences and people will be hugely beneficial to you. I also think it is important to remember that you are in the same boat as lots of other students and you are all probably feeling the same way, so don’t worry if you are feeling a bit daunted at first as you will soon find your feet.

Find out more about Study Abroad here.