10 things I’ve learned from studying abroad

1. Library is your best friend 

There is no better place to study and to do your uni work than the library. All universities have a library on campus.   Most of them are open 24 hours 7 days a week. You can come whenever you like to study, to read, to look something up on the internet etc. What you need is your student ID. In other cases, you will not be able to enter the library on campus. When I stepped into the library at uni, for the first time, I was astonished by the size of it. It was more than just a library. The equipment, a number of books in so many different subjects, magazines, DVDs, cd’s, albums, so on and so on. It definitely drew my attention. Plenty of students come to the library to study. It may seem busy from time to time. However, everyone will find a quiet study area. This place has really helped me to start studying more effective because when I go there I focus on m work and nobody interrupts me.

2. Practice is a key to success 

While studying in the United Kingdom I got to know their educational system. To be fair, I can not imagine studying differently. What makes me feel this way? I do the journalism and media course so for me practical work is vital. I have always thought that uni will provide me mostly with theoretical knowledge. However, I was wrong. Now I know that is all about practice. Practical work is a key to success – that’s what my tutors use to say. I have learned that not exams are the most important but the project I am doing myself. During this year I have learned much more than I expected. It is all due to the fact that we are being encouraged to borrow the equipment that uni provides, to do own projects etc. I must say, that I appreciate the way of teaching in the UK very much.

3. Lectures are not the most important 

“I often skip uni because lectures are boring” – that’s what my Polish friends use to say. While comparing the two educational systems (Polish and British) with my friends, we came to the conclusion that lectures are very important in Poland as you are being examined from the material you are given back there. Although, we do not have many lectures because we attend seminars that are more important. They teach us that sitting and listening for 4 hours or more is useless. Well, I guess that is why I am not skipping uni 🙂

4. Teamwork = friendship 

Another crucial thing is teamwork. Uni work is very often based on teamwork. You are working with different people all the time which is not a piece of cake. You have to get used to co – working. Even if it’s not easy, it has a lot of advantages. In my view, working in a team increases efficiency, creativity and enhances communication. I see the last one as the most vital because while collaborating you have to discuss the project you are doing. It requires both verbal and written communication skills. Teamwork facilitates an open discussion which allows each team member to be adequately informed about the project.

5. Not to be afraid of any failure 

Before I came to England I was afraid of making mistakes. What comes to my mind first is the language. As I am an international student and English is not my mother language it was presumably to make a mistake. Although, I realized that I am not the only foreigner and what is more I got a right to make mistakes from time to time. Moreover, people are not paying much attention to your way of speaking. Further, some people admire you because you know more than one language what is taken as uncommon. You will probably make many mistakes at the beginning. But ‘don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste time to cover up your failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing you are not growing’. H. Stanley Judd

6. To be polite, no matter what 

When you are in Rome act as the Romans do. This proverb is about adjusting to the culture that reigns in the country you are going to. British politeness is known all over the world. It sounds stereotypical but this etiquette remains consistent. While studying in Britain I have learned that the British are a very polite society. Apologising constantly, being gracious etc. Whatever happens, you just have to be polite.

7. Partying can be totally different than you thought 

How dull studying would be without partying. Every student knows what am I talking about. Parties are inherent when it comes to studying. What have I learned in England? That every party is totally distinctive and unforgettable. If you study abroad you have probably come across freshers week and freshers flu. What are those? A fresher week is a time to make friends during the parties that are organized only for first-year students. After that, you may get a freshers flu which is nothing else than flu after too much partying. Don’t worry, you will get better soon and start partying again. You will probably see weird things and be taught to down your drink in 8 or not to hold your drink in right hand.

8. To take advantage of having abroad friends 

Studying abroad gives you a chance to meet people from various places. You will broaden your horizons quickly by getting to know their culture, try their traditional food or even learn another language. In my opinion, having multi cultural friends you can really open up yourself on/for the world. Isn’t it interesting?

9. To enjoy

Studying abroad is a tremendous adventure. Time is running very fast so don’t waste it. I have learned to enjoy my time while being abroad. I am trying to spend my time wisely. Discovering new places, going to the museums, art galleries, theatres, restaurants or parks. I enjoy spending time with my friends because that is the perfect time for it. I’ve learned to enjoy it because I know it is going to be unforgettable.

10. To take a risk 

Despite some obstacles that I have to face from time to time I am pleased to be a student in the United Kingdom. I have learned a lot here and I will never regret taking a risk to move out from home and start living independently. Taking a risk helps to gain new perspectives.


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