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About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!
Since the last article focused on the positive aspects of doing a year abroad, and why you should apply, this article will highlight some of the negative aspects you will come across on your year abroad which people simply don’t tell you about. Looking back, yes it is the most amazing year, particularly as you are able to use the year abroad for travelling, which is a plus if you would not be able to afford this after University. However, the year abroad is a rollercoaster of emotions. You will have the most amazing days of your life, but also the most stressful. Particularly getting settled in your town or village may be a harder task than imagined simply because everything is so different.
Think about how long it took you to settle into your first year at University, plus in a foreign country there will be the added diffuculty of using a foreign language as well as dealing with the differences in cultures. Drawing from my personal experience, the most stressful of tasks were sorting out the administration, such as at University etc. Administration in France is awful and is such a long process. For example, it took me one month to set up my bank account, and quite a few months to set up my CAF (housing benefits). Looking back, I wish someone had told me that things would not be smooth and easy, so that I could prepare myself for the ups and downs. University was also extremely unorganised, therefore be prepared to always be filling out documents and going back and forth giving more documents!
Additionally, be warned that on social media, people will only upload the highlights of their year abroad. Do not get down about the fact that all your friends are having the time of their lives and are making friends and visiting the most amazing places, because do not worry – they too will be going through difficulties.
The year abroad is the year you will learn the most about yourself, about different cultures, and about being open-minded. You may not live in the best accommodation, or have an easy, stress-free time, but it certainly builds your confidence, not only in the language, but in all aspects of life as it makes you more independent. By the end of your year abroad, you will have so many stories to tell, so many ups and downs, and you will be so proud of yourself for everything you have achieved. It is important to know the negative side to a year abroad, so that you can be prepared, but there are so many positives that I honestly cannot express to you enough how important it is for you to look into doing a year abroad if you are a student at University.