One of the best ways for students to travel while studying is to study abroad with an exchange trip. Not only does this mean you don’t have to take any time off the school year or holidays, there are also usually low-cost options available to students for accommodation and tickets. It’s also a way to make friends while traveling, to step outside your comfort zone, create more opportunities and experience for your resume, and to learn some things beyond the classroom. Each university and polytechnic in New Zealand has partnerships with other institutions throughout the world, which makes it easy to cross-credit and means you only pay the tuition that you would at your home university – with the high subsidy of student fees in New Zealand, this is a fantastic opportunity.
Embarking on an exchange trip is no small feat however, so you need to plan it properly before you go if you want to make the most of this experience.
- Research prospective universities and countries thoroughly first. Find out what their specialty program is – one of the key things an exchange trip can give you is the educational resources that can’t be found in New Zealand. If you’re studying engineering or law, you’ll find it extremely useful when it comes to job hunting if you can point to something that sets you apart from the crowd. You’ll find a list of partnership universities on each institution’s website, such as the University of Canterbury.
- Pick up a job while studying abroad. If you’re studying in a country where English isn’t the main language, you have a ready skill that people would love for you to pass on. You don’t need to be trained in teaching, but you must be confident in your own abilities and willing to work hard with someone. Even a small part-time job helps offset the cost of studying overseas.
- Do you need a year or 6 months? Most tertiary exchanges run for either half or full years. Ask yourself which will give you the most benefit – is it worth paying more to stay longer and gain even more skills, or will you receive everything you need with a semester?
- Look for scholarships before you go. There are a host of scholarships including the Fulbright in New Zealand that go unclaimed every year. Have your flight, tuition or board paid or partially paid with just an essay and application form – it’s worth the effort.
Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to experience a culture, make new friends, gain credits and essential life experiences. It’s one of the best ways for a student to travel, if you’re motivated enough to make it happen.