You may be unfamiliar with the idea of a year abroad; they’re relatively new. A lot of degrees at university are 3 years, with your first year being introductory and the one where you can pick the random modules that you have no clue about. Your second year tends to be where you find your interests, and your final year often results in a dissertation or project that further refines your interests. However there are increasing numbers of 4 year degrees popping up around the country, often called ‘sandwich’ degrees. The ‘filling’ of your sandwich is your year in industry/year abroad, and the ‘bread’ the years you spend at your university in the UK. A period of time abroad is compulsory for my degree, American Studies. My university is one that offers 3 and 4 year variants of American Studies: the 3 year option means you spend the autumn term of your final year in the United States whereas the 4 year option (which is the one I’m doing) requires you to spend the whole of your third academic year abroad.
According to almost any university that offers them, a year abroad is ‘really very attractive to employers’. The idea behind this selling point is that a year abroad gives you the skills to be able to thrive in a workplace: autonomy, resourcefulness, mindfulness and so on. Whilst it seems to be a targeted sales pitch similar to a supermarket trying to get you to purchase its fanciest new product, it’s arguably not entirely untrue. Throughout the process so far I’ve had to be practical, aware of costs, and do a lot of planning.
Even if you’re not that bothered by the ’employability’ benefits, a year abroad is a fantastic opportunity to explore another country. You get to learn from a different perspective and seeing as you’re already abroad, you can try and visit different places whilst you’re away.
So now you know what a year abroad is! You can follow my journey by subscribing to my blog, helping you keep up to date with my posts.