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Study Abroad - Joe Thompson

Name: Joe Thompson

Degree: International Business Management

Location(s): First Semester Groupe Sup de Co La Rochelle (France). Second Semester Edith Cowan University (Australia).

Why did you decide to do study abroad?

Even before starting university I knew that I wanted to spend time studying abroad, so it was actually one of the main reasons I chose to study International Business Management. The prospect of living in new places, meeting new people and learning in new foreign environments outside of my comfort zone really appealed to me.

Why did you decide to go to the university you went to?

I chose to spend my first semester abroad at Excelia Group, in La Rochelle, France. I knew that I wanted to spend at least one semester at a European institution and ended up deciding on France to build on my existing basic level of French and fully experience the culture in a relatively small and authentic city. The business school itself was also quite small compared with Northumbria, and so offered a different and unique study experience.

For my second semester, I chose to go a little (a lot!) further from home, to Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. I had always dreamed of living in Aus, so I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to study there for 6 months! It certainly hasn’t disappointed either, both in terms of the learning experience and the lifestyle.

What was your stand out moment during study abroad?

It’s so hard to choose the specific highlights of my study abroad experiences; the whole year has been a blast. Some of the best times, though, have been spontaneous trips and travels both in France and Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in Paris, road trip most of the Western Australia coastline and even spend 5 days in Bali.

Although, without a doubt, the absolute number one part of study abroad has been meeting new friends from all over the world. It is crazy how quickly you get to know new people when you’re all sharing these new experiences together.

Was it expensive to study abroad?

Despite the added costs of travel expenses and visas, I have found studying abroad much cheaper than I expected it to be. It helps that the standard maintenance loan gets increased automatically by student finance and for time spent in Europe, the Erasmus grant makes a huge difference! I found that, as long as I kept to a tight budget and planned ahead, I was able to live comfortably and fit in bits of travel here and there too.

Do you think your experience helped you in your studies at Northumbria and your career?

For me, the international experience I have gained and the new skills I’ve learned will be invaluable, both in my future studies back at Northumbria and in my career. I hope to work internationally post-graduation, so hopefully this will give me a strong head-start.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of going on study abroad what would you say?

Take the plunge, do some research, apply and get ready for what will be the time of your life! It may be daunting to be so far outside your comfort zone to begin with, but you’ll very quickly adapt; and trust me you will not want to go home!

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