Studying or working abroad can be a life-changing opportunity that lets you gain new skills, meet new people and experience different cultures.
Second year BA (Hons) Media and Communications student Priyanka Patel took part in our Study Abroad exchange programme and spent a semester at Northwest Missouri State University in the United States of America as part of her degree.
Can you tell us about your experience of studying in the USA?
Studying in America was a great experience, even though it was daunting at first. I remember walking into the first class, awkwardly sitting down next to a stranger and introducing myself to the whole class. Even though the classroom environment and style of teaching was different, I felt like I learnt a lot more about how journalism is perceived and portrayed in America, as well as learning Associate Press style to ensure grammar and sentence structures were correct. Throughout my time abroad, my writing improved and I had a lot of positive feedback on the articles and assignments that I wrote, which was beneficial for me as I knew I was making good progress.
What kinds of projects did you work on?
As part of one of my classes, Newspaper Practicum, I got the chance to write for the weekly student newspaper. I was an Arts and Entertainment reporter focusing on events around campus and giving exposure to niche clubs. I enjoyed being part of the newspaper, interviewing, working to deadlines and attending budget meetings as it gave me a scope as to how a real newsroom environment works.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
I enjoyed meeting new people and making great friends as they helped me settle in well and would always be there for me if I needed anything or if I had any questions. The friends I made were like my family, as I didn’t feel secluded from anything, which was great as Northwest has a great sense of community and I felt like I was at home with the people I surrounded myself with.
Did you join any clubs or societies?
I was part of the International Student Organisation, which was great as I made friends with a lot of them and hung out with them on weekends or after classes.
Is studying at an American university much different to studying in the UK?
The class structures are different as you have assignments and quizzes regularly for each class which were usually due in every week. For example, for my opinion writing class we learned about a particular type of opinion column, e.g. travel, and would have to write a column based on that topic for the following week. During the middle of the semester I had to take mid-term exams to see the progress that I was making and I also took final exams before leaving America. However, in the UK we usually have one final assignment or project due at the end of the semester.
What advice would you give to students who are thinking of studying abroad?
Take the opportunity whilst you can! Study Abroad helped me develop a lot as a person and helped me to establish a clear goal of what I want to do after I graduate. Being exposed to a new environment helped me to be challenged and get out of my comfort zone, as well as network with people I wouldn’t usually meet on a daily basis. I would also say that you should plan and research wisely where you want to study, what opportunities they have for you relating to your degree and have a list of what you want to achieve whilst you’re out there, it doesn’t even have to be academic specific, e.g. see an NBA game or visit another state. You might as well embrace the culture and lifestyle of a different country whilst you’re there.