Most young people I met abroad are well-travelled ones. The young generation in the UK is interested in learning new cultures and adventure themselves in Europe or even further. But when it comes to studying abroad: are they travelling for cultural fun aspects .. or just for education ?
I would guess both! But it’s not that simple. There are pros and cons of a life abroad like in any kind of big decision we take in life. But if you are starting a long internship in a country that you never been before, it’s likely you will have studied your destination way before heading to the airport with your passport.
Some people would go for a city that reminds them of their hometown. It sometimes means coshing beach, hot summer and the possibility of not getting homesick when living there. The weather helps with getting settled. I get that.
Choosing an place that you enjoy is the key to making your studies abroad successful. I mean, you won’t be able to focus on your education if all you think about is how much you want to go home! Studying on the beach in Spain is for sure more enjoyable than freezing in the pouring rain back home. It’s the little things that will make you appreciate the experience much more!
Or better : start your own book club by the beach? Now that is a great way to study and have fun at the same time.
And it doesn’t mean you escape the cultural aspects. There is always something to be learnt in a new place. People are different. Languages and accents are different. The whole experience is different. And there are so much to be explored that fun and cultural aspects can both be combined when travelling abroad.
When I was a student here, my friends were going out most of the weekends. You can find all kinds of nights out in most of the European cities and for all types of budgets as well. It’s great to let your hair down on the dance floor and maybe practice some English/Spanish/German/French/etc with the new friends that you just made in a club. It’s likely to be a broken tipsy English conversation. But it is still practice, isn’t it?
I have been to a bar in Amsterdam once and ended up learning more about locally crafted beers than anywhere else. And I have joined lots of music festivals here in the UK joined by people from all over the world, and it was brilliant to practice some speaking and learn about their culture as well.
Multicultural and historical cities are a great source for second language learners. We all know about that museum, art galleries, libraries and the historical landmarks, where you can always visit to boost your knowledge. Some of those cities will offer so much to do that it’s impossible to keep a track of it all. Think about New York, for example. How many things a day can you do in the Big Apple? Oh goodness, I guess you need to live permanently there to make the most of it.
So, don’t forget to check what is on in the city you are studying. The essential guide for a student life, in my opinion. There are so many free events to research. And we all know that saving money is an essential rule to survive some years of student life.
So, cultural or study aspects? What do you think?
And it doesn’t matter what kind of “entertainment” we find outside the classroom. It always will have something to learn from this. Even if it just about the underground timetable when you miss the last train on a Saturday night out. Or when you go to a restaurant in certain cities that expect you to tip the waiters. Living and learning, always!