Our Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts alumni, Chris Joannides shares tips on student exchange and how his experience at Universidad Autonoma, Madrid, Spain continues to benefit him personally and professionally.
Anyone looking for a new and fun experience!
It is a particularly great opportunity for students who may not have experienced overseas travel before, as it is a ready-made trip combining study, travel, and culture.
You will regret it if you do not! Even if you are not studying a language, the benefits of rounding out your education with experiencing how people study, work and live in another part of the world is invaluable - you are immersing yourself in everyday life, which is more than being a tourist.
It is a great way to broaden your skill set, gain confidence, improve your cultural awareness, and have fun.
As early as possible! If you leave it to the last few semesters, other things can come up and you will regret not looking into it earlier.
Somewhere you have always thought about going but never taken the plunge. My advice is to go for the one that feels a little more challenging – you will ultimately get the most out of it that way.
Student exchange prepares you in ways that studying in your home city cannot - it teaches you to be independent, take accountability for your decisions and take full control of your way of life.
Being thrust into a new culture in a foreign city gives you a great perspective on what really makes you happy - when you're on student exchange you have more control over what you do, when, and with who. This can help guide your direction, professionally, socially, or otherwise, once you leave university.
Moreover, my time in Madrid allowed me to reach my full Spanish-speaking potential. Having this advanced multi-lingual ability is looked upon favourably when applying for jobs.
Your portfolio of student exchange experiences become real-life stories to tell during interviews or at work. You can draw upon them to paint a picture about your skills, life experience and worldly smarts. From a networking standpoint, the people you meet on student exchange can become some of your greatest advocates or mentors.
Banner image: Photo of the view from one of Madrid's many rooftop bars by Chris Joannides