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#WestminsterAbroad (Westminster’s Outward Mobility Team) gives third year students the opportunity to enhance their academic experience by studying abroad for a year as part of their degree. This not only increases their career prospects after graduation, it also encourages independence, self growth and discovery. At the end of August this year, our Westminster students came back from their destinations, far and wide, from the States to Germany; and on 23 September, Course Leaders for International Business BA Hons (Dr Deborah Knowles) and International Business with Languages BA (Dr Nadia Amin) arranged an opportunity for their students to meet and share their experiences. It was a great chance for students on these courses to talk with fellow peers who had returned from their travels & also to encourage other, younger students, to follow in their footsteps. From hearing about the best parts of their trip, to the challenges they faced, to most importantly what they learned, it was great to see how the experiences had enriched their lives both academically and personally.

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Student, Katherine Fletcher shares her experiences of University of Technology  Sydney (UTS), Australia
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Student Ashwin Walton shares what life as a student was like at HTW Berlin, Germany

Studying abroad in Germany, China, France & Jordan

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“Deciding to go abroad, to Bremen, has been the best decision that I could’ve taken. I could tell you how much I partied (a lot) and how much I traveled (a lot) but if you go abroad you will do all of this like I did! I believe, what’s more important is how I felt during my year abroad. I went through almost every emotion, from happiness, excitement, joy to sadness, fear and loss but it made me the person I am now. It was the best year of my life! A year that changed me as a person. This experience made me more mature and helped me to see the world in a different perspective. It also helped me discover myself, a very important factor for me. In the end, I didn’t want to leave. I could talk for days about my experience but trust me, it is more interesting and fun when you go without knowing too much about a certain place, just like I did. Bremen was perfect for me and I am really grateful for this experience.#YouOnlyErasmusOnce! P.S. Thank you, Bremen!” Andreea Taran, Hochschule Bremen, Germany
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“My favourite part was learning Chinese and putting it to good use. At first when I got to Shanghai I felt like a complete stranger because not many people spoke English so I struggled a bit. For example, it was hard for me to change my mobile number (which I did four times) because of the language barrier. But when you learn Chinese it is great because people will talk to you and be interested in getting to know you and to challenge you. The most important thing is to prepare and study the Chinese culture in advance because it may seem strange being there – although it is a big city like London it is completely different. Make sure you know your Chinese, at least the basics, as it will make it easier for you to get around and even save money, if not you may find it challenging.” Alessio Norrito, Donghua University, Shanghai, China
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At the beginning it was difficult to get to know people but knowing French helped a lot. There were English speaking teachers and French speaking teachers who help you out a lot and after lessons they even explain things to you. I met amazing people, all from different parts of the world such as Spain, America and Mexico. It was also great to get to know the French students as they wanted to learn English. I also had the chance to travel because it was really easy and convenient, one example, was my trip to Amsterdam. The city itself is really easy to get around as they have a good tube service. The night life was really good. An important thing is to know your French! This is because some of the French students are kind of put off if they see that they can’t communicate with you and they don’t know much English. Also knowing French makes it easier to get involved & socialise. Make sure that you have a mixture of friends which includes international students and French students.” Souheil Naili, ESCE Paris, France (middle)                                                                                                                                                                       “The best part of the trip was all the new people I met from all around the world and the amazing night life. I learned how to be independent in a country that was new to me. It was amazing because I had the chance to go on trips whilst I was there, for example I went skiing with friends and I got to visit the whole of Germany. What surprised me was that the teaching was different to Westminster and was a little harder, but I think this is good now because it will prepare me for my final year. My advice to students thinking of Bremen is make sure you have an open mind as you have to be prepared for anything. Remember that everyone’s experience will be different but from my personal experience I really loved it and I’m sure you would too.”  Milica Stonjanovic, Hochschule Bremen, Germany (right)
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“I studied two semesters and had a work placement for three months at a law firm. What I loved about being in Jordan was the opportunity to travel, I visited bordering countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. My favourite place was Wadi Rum which is a desert, where the Bedouins live and it is beautiful especially when watching the sunset. Some tips for students thinking of Jordan or an Arabic speaking country is be open minded! It will be a huge difference for you even if you think you know the culture, being there will change your mind a lot and it will help you understand the world around you after you return. Be patient and observant as this will help you blend in better to your environment.” Kaja Boczar, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.

A message from Outward Mobility Officer, Monica Mengoli

It was great to see our students back with us after their year abroad and hear all about their amazing experience. Studying or working abroad as part of your studies is your chance to boost your employability by adding global skills to your CV. If you want to know more about what is on offer, do come and talk to us at one of our upcoming JUST GO! Fairs. Our main event (open to all University of Westminster students) will take place on Thursday 03 November from 1pm-3pm; we also have an extra date especially for Westminster Business School students which we will be holding on Thursday 10 November from 1pm-3pm. The full programme will be advertised shortly so keep your eyes peeled! We’re also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

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