Those students who are going abroad for their studies, will not only study but will be within a city (or a country) and will mingle with its people and bring a ripple effect on both the economy and the education. Who knows what a student may discover during his or her time at the university. The research life is addictive and any student who is conscientious about learning may find new Knowledge and add to the Knowledge economy in the country of study and home country too.
let’s take it step by step: first you decide to go to university, why? we have many universities where we are, and some are a mere branches of those overseas; I am not speaking about our time when we didn’t have any university in our countries and one can either study abroad or get married, no more choices, as ones family will not just allow you to sit at home and twiddle your thumb.
And then we decide on a country (or should the country be first and then the university?) then you choose the city! maybe you will go to a place where your mum and dad have friends or family in a certain city, so you don’t feel homesick (which you will do anyway) and they decide on a university in that city, which should also have the major that you want to do.
Of course your first objective is to complete your studies, get a good degree, have friends, be safe, do a research that will help you or your country, and brag about it; even your assignments, brag about them, talk about derivatives and convertibles if you are in finance, or how to dissect a frog if you are in a science programme, or what is the size of the atom if you are in engineering and trying to build an electrical power station. If you are studying art, talk about how Van Goh had cut his ears, and dies in poverty despite having drawn hundreds of great art pieces. Talk about novels if you are into literature, maybe write your own. If you are studying accounting, mention why the debits and the credits are the other way round (because the Indian or the Italian accountant (there is a debate of how found out bookkeeping first) that discovered it was left handed). In every gathering an anecdote will be great, sometimes just a fact about ants will make a crowd around you that will have a ripple effect on your learning.
Do you also want to know what to do? since online is an open and free space. just post your assignment when, its over and marked, on line. Call it a way to help the future generation ( in my times of study I would come back with boxes of books and assignments and then they gather dust and end up thrown away) thus, donate the books (believe me you will never use them again as everything is on google) and post your assignments and your notes online.
After choosing the university, you should decide “what else will I do”. Believe me this should be in your thoughts when you go to study, these four years are not going to be saved for ever, its your best years (end of your teens and beginning of your young adult life) will you stick to exploring? will you choose running as an exercise so you can cover the whole city? or would you be happy just to be around the campus? will you travel every weekend to a different city in that country so you can explore what’s in there, maybe learn something new? will you save some of your allowance to travel to a different country around you (if you are in UK, its worth visiting Europe) if you are smart and book early, you can be a winner and you will be able to save a lot of money, you can get the flight for a dollar at times. You can stay in youth hostels, or with families (homestay) if you are lucky and conscious about money, you may never need help to travel from your family. In the four years of being abroad you will have two years of holidays ( all the breaks that you will have they add up to almost six months in each year) and that is a lot of holidays and can cover a lot of countries. Maybe you would want to travel back home, I would do that only in Christmas break, as the weather is good, and it’s a festive season, keep the summer breaks for exploration.
After planning all the things you will do for your studies and for your holidays, I want you to remember one thing “keep an open mind” take photos, write notes (I am sure your family had pampered you with a great phone) about everything that you see: a new food that you had never eaten before, a shop that looks nice, a decoration that adds to the beauty of the place, a type of plant or flower or a tree that is intriguing, fabric that your mum may like, some odd kitchen equipment. I dont know! whatever you see that can be interesting , take a photo of it. Have categorised notes, so you know what you are looking for when you search. Better still is to have a blog post and put in it all your thoughts, discoveries, your trips, your photos and your assignments. Use that space (given for free by google by the way) to document your university years. Imagine this scenario: you are talking to your son and daughter about something that you saw abroad, and suddenly you do not know how to describe it, if you were one of these that kept a blog, you can open google and show them straight away.
Did you know that many of the businesses and restaurants in our countries are ideas from overseas? people travel and come back with an idea. even see how they do their garbage collection, as this can be a great idea to bring back home. see how they look after the environment, what flowers do they plant in what season, and do they have rituals to do with trees like the Japanese and the cherry tree blooming season? Imagine that you are living abroad, how many ideas are you coming back with? maybe you can even be a multibillionaire prior to your graduation!! imagine the possibilities.
What I am trying to say here is that time is of the essence, you have a lot of time in your hand, and that time should not be wasted. you can learn the habits and the customs of that country’s people, teach them your customs and habits, be a peace ambassador (as they say) we need each other i the world, or it will be a lonely place.
Write to me your ideas about “what else can we do when we study abroad” , and we will add them.