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Study Abroad - Louise Waters

Name: Louise Waters

Course: International Business Management

Study Abroad Location(s): Full year at Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1

Why did you decide to do study abroad?

My degree at Northumbria was international Business Management, which meant I had to spend a year abroad either studying or working. When deciding on which university to come to, hearing about, and seeing the study abroad opportunity sold Northumbria to me. In the UK, 20% of students undertake work placements compared to 2% that study abroad – meaning you’re placing yourself in a real niche employability wise, which was important to me for getting a job after university. It provides so many incredible opportunities you would never have otherwise, e.g. getting money to travel and see new places!!!

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

I’d studied French at school and in my first year of university, so going to a French speaking country to improve this further seemed the most obvious when beginning to look at where to go. For me, student accommodation was a very important criterion as opposed to private renting, so I began shortlisting by universities that offered this. I wanted somewhere warm, with lots to do, but also easily accessible from England. The final thing that sold Université Claude Bernard to me was that there was the opportunity to obtain a double degree – which I did. There are only a handful of partner universities offering this.

What was your stand out moment during study abroad?

When I travelled to Annecy on my own – I was speaking to locals in French, and sat in a restaurant and ate alone (this was so scary to me prior). I realised then just how much confidence and independence I had gained.

Was it expensive to study abroad?

Lyon was an expensive city to live in, especially in comparison to Newcastle. However, it was fine – you can get up to 25% more student finance, I got an Erasmus grant, and I saved the summer before I went in order to fund it, which gave me more than enough money to live and travel.

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

ABSOLUTELY!!!! I went from getting an average of 65% in first & second year, to achieving 77% in my final year and subsequently in my degree overall. I also made it to the final 500 out of 17,000 applicants for a graduate scheme (massively due to my study abroad experiences) and secured a graduate job in the April before graduating, going straight into employment.

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

JUST DO IT.  You have the rest of your life to work, and can gain working experience from volunteering (I did this in my final year). Study abroad provides you with the soft skills employers’ are looking for, the opportunity to travel, learn new languages, and meet new friends from all over the world – it’s a no brainer!!

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