by Nicholas Cuthbert
International Development Office
Nottingham Trent University
Oslovili sme zástupcov našich partnerských škol Scandinavian study, aby pre študentov napísali pár viet, ktoré by vám dodali odvahu do vašeho rozhodnutia študovať v zahraničí. Snáď sa to podarilo 🙂
“I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Travel above all things, is something that stirs my soul and makes me feel alive. It is one of the few pursuits in life that makes me feel like I am fulfilling my purpose, seeing new things, meeting new people, learning.
Before the age of tourism and Instagram, travel was seen foremost as an educational experience. It allowed people to broaden their perspective and learn more about themselves and others. A coming of age walkabout before the realities of responsibility and age anchor you to the same place for too long. Some countries still value study abroad in the highest regard, from Norway to Saudi Arabia, these governments operate huge scholarship programmes that enable their people to benefit from travel and education, with the hope that they will bring the best bits home and be global ambassadors for their nations abroad. But sadly for many people, real adventure is no longer as appealing as the safety and familiarity of online communities, gaming and filtered lives.
But what qualifies me to share my thoughts with you? I’ll admit I have never studied abroad for any significant time and I still live in my hometown of Nottingham, England just five minutes from where I grew up. Not much of an adventurer! Well, for the past decade I have been lucky enough to travel extensively and advise young people across the world about their career choices and university options overseas. And I’ve witnessed how studying abroad changes lives.
University life usually heralds a new chapter for people. Increased independence, forging lifelong friendships and the freedom to finally choose what to study and how to spend your time. But studying abroad adds another dimension altogether. It breaks down barriers of fear and doubt and replaces them with deep rooted self-confidence. It creates empathy and understanding between people, sharing their politics, food, passions and frustrations. It allows you to experience the best of a culture and what people have in common rather than what divides us.
These are all amazing outcomes that are hard to simply replicate in a classroom, but the real benefit is that of employability. The reality is we live in a highly globalised world economy and the chances are that you will be working for a multinational company or supplying a global customer base. Travel and study abroad prepares you for this world, where some conversational Arabic or Mandarin could give you a competitive edge. Or knowing local customs or politics could help you clinch an important deal. If you can teamwork with international students at university, then why not in the workplace? I’ve seen international students gain placements in global banks, marketing agencies, pharmaceutical or tech companies ahead of UK students because of this broader perspective, drive and ambition.
So the adventure starts here! Remember the journey itself will be the greatest lesson rather than what you study. Look up from your screens and devices and test yourself in the real world, I promise you it will be worth it. I’m counting on you.
Safe travels, and perhaps we will meet along the way.