Your initial struggles as a student usually start during your university years. Calculating each and every step and considering possible variables when making any big decision could wear your energy out if you don’t look at it from a positive angle. Being an international student studying and living away from home could make you either confused, puzzled and lost or excited, adventurous, and up to the challenge. Deciding on which one to adhere to is not an easy to task to many, as it may surprise you, some of your fellow students, if not you yourself, might hate it even.
On one hand, university life comes with a set of changes that you should get accustomed to and learn how to make use of them during your university years. On the other hand, having clear objectives and goals during this critical time will determine and shape your future career prospects. To be able to view and experience it differently, think about the various benefits that university life give to you as an international student.
University life gives you freedom and independence to an extinct that boosts your self-confidence as you learn to be responsible for your actions and decisions. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "With more freedom comes more responsibilities." From choosing your university major, schedules, and student accommodation, to managing your budget, laundry, and the sort. The process itself is capable of teaching you more and more about life as you grow as a student living abroad.
Acquiring new skills is aligned with changing your lifestyle, and that’s what happens in your university years. These skills are of a huge benefit when it comes to choosing a career path and landing a job. From interpersonal skills, critical and creative thinking ones, to organizational skills and problem-solving ones. Living in a culturally diverse community allows you to develop these skills without even being aware of it. Further, interacting with your university professors is completely different from interacting with high-school teachers, or your university classmates. Participating in student activities and presenting your ideas in group-projects are all various methods of learning more about who you truly are and by default, acquiring new skills.
During your university years, most probably you’ll be living in purpose-built student accommodation with a close-knit community of students from different countries and distinct backgrounds. That gives you a great opportunity to interact with like-minded students, yet accept and tolerate their differences. Your flatmates in a student home are most likely foreigners from different parts of the world, which means you gain insight into their traditions and culture while living with them.
University has a society for just about everything, societies that help you make friends, gain real-life experiences and broaden your network. Any activity you participate in during university is an excellent addition to your CV and will surely make you stand out, so pick it carefully. Also, Societies can help you land useful internships in the fields you wish to pursue after college. For example, if you’re into journal writing, join a society that’s closely related to this field, or one with fieldwork, photography and interviewing people.
One of the most important things in university that you get to choose what to study, even if it’s partially, it’s surely better than before. During school, you probably didn't have a choice in what you were studying, you just focused on your grades. But when you’re in a university, it’s more likely for you to seek your passion in a subject of your choice; you interact with people of similar interests, hobbies, and career plans. You also get to decide what courses you wish to take and drop the courses you don't like much. This really sums up some of the benefits we listed above, like freedom, responsibility and acquiring new skills.
One of the great benefits of university life, if not one of the main points of it all, is to build a solid network and have lots of connections. Your current colleagues are soon to become future business connections, whether in the same field or in other ones strongly related to yours. Also, your student home flatmates and professors will provide valuable assets to help you in your career and life journey after university.
In 2016, according to the Department of Education in the UK, the unemployment rate of non-graduates aged between 16 and 64 was 3% higher than graduates’. These statistics show that planning your future during your university years is the best idea there is. While there are ways to land a job without a university degree, there are limits to where you'd go in your career without a university degree.
Generally, as a university graduate with the right specs, the right experience and the right CV, you are bound to land a higher paid job than a normal high school graduate. University graduates on average earn about £23,000, in the UK, 4% more than what graduates earned in 2018. Studies in the current age show that various employers refer to real skills besides a degree, but a degree is always preferable.
Tell us now; what do you like the most about university life so far? Share with us your thoughts.