Living and studying in another country is an excellent way to develop as a person, but it also can have a positive impact on your future career
At WIT we understand the importance of travel and to help you expand your horizons while studying we offer the option to study abroad in a range of our courses, either through the Erasmus+ programme or the International Exchange programme at WIT.
The world is becoming more connected, and with that the interest in exploring different parts of the world has become increasingly popular among people. Travelling abroad can be an enriching life experience, as it opens up a host of exciting opportunities such as exploring different environments, connecting with new people, understanding different cultures and even the chance to capture some pretty Instagram photos.
The Erasmus+ programme is a European Union student exchange programme that enables students to study in a university of higher education establishment throughout a total 31 participating countries in Europe and the three EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) for three to 12 months. If ‘study abroad’ is offered as an option as part of your course, once you’ve completed your first year of studies you can apply to participate in the Erasmus+ programme.
Is there funding available to help with this journey? Well yes, a grant scheme exists from the Higher Education Authority to help those partaking in the Erasmus+ programme with the costs of travelling to the destination and the cost of living difference in the country they are studying in.
We understand that you might want to engage with a culture outside of Europe, so likewise, if ‘study abroad’ is an option in your course, after your first year of studies you can apply for the International Exchange to study in over eight International (Non-EU) countries for a period of two to 12 months. Be aware that no grant scheme exists for the International Exchange as it is not associated with the European Union.
The WIT International Office has links existing with higher education establishments in countries such as, Argentina, Australia, Canada, USA, Brazil, China, Hong Kong and Mexico. Students participating in the international exchange are not limited to these countries as the WIT International Office is continually building links around the world.
A popular and invaluable experience
Studying abroad is a very popular option among students at WIT and the number of students availing of this opportunity is increasing each year, with Prague in Czechia being the most popular destination over the last few years.
The Department of Languages, Tourism, and Hospitality International Placement Coordinator, Don O’Neill, shared his views on the importance of Culinary Arts students studying abroad “Students on the BA (Hons) Culinary Arts programme have the advantage of spending year 3 of the programme abroad, spending a semester in industrial placement and a semester studying at a partner college. This opportunity enables the students to acquire a myriad of invaluable skills that will set them apart as leaders in the culinary industry on graduation.”
Develop your CV
Studying abroad not only lets you flaunt how well travelled you are to your family and friends, it also expands your career prospects in Ireland and abroad.
Studying abroad can really spice up your CV. It can set you apart from other candidates when applying for jobs, as it shows employers that you have the capacity to get out of your comfort zone, engage with new experiences and actively develop as a person. Not only that, these days it really can be said that ‘all business is international business’, so showcasing your international experience can only benefit you when potential employers are assessing you’re suitability for a job.
A global network
When you become a student at WIT you become part of the WIT community. The fun thing about that is you’re likely to bump into someone who shares interest in the same hobbies, humour, style, food, TV shows, and guilty pleasure songs as you (Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up), which can lead to amazing lifelong friendships. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to expand this amazing circle of friends overseas.
Friendships aren’t the only type of relationships you can build while studying abroad, you could also build relationships that could potentially benefit you in your future career. You might have heard the saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. This saying reflects the reality of the business world, as it’s been made evident time and time again. If you plan on progressing up the career ladder it’s always helpful to know the right person. Think about it, the person you have a positive relationship with now, may be a future business owner who’s looking to employ someone they trust or an employee who can recommend you for an interesting role within an organisation. Who knows, maybe you’d prefer to land a job overseas… maybe near the sunny beaches in Miami… or maybe in Norway where you can take in the views accompanied by the Northern Lights. Remember the world is your oyster.
A second language pays off
If you are studying a foreign language at WIT you can aim to study abroad in its respective country. Spending time in a foreign country that requires you to speak in their language to navigate through daily activities can help you brush up on and become more confident in your language skills. Graduates who possess the ability to communicate effectively through English and foreign languages are viewed as very valuable assets by organisations around the world.
Business is becoming more internationally connected, as a result, there is a rising demand for graduates with foreign language skills. At the recent ‘Education for a changing world – Languages for Employability in a Post-Brexit Ireland’ Conference, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Michelle O’Connor, highlighted the importance of foreign language skills, stating “We need to prepare ourselves to take advantage of new opportunities and ensure that we have a steady stream of graduates with foreign language competence to meet these new business opportunities.”