Study Abroad Profile: Josh Pearce
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide where to go?
Before I started university I really wanted to study abroad and experience learning in a different part of the world – I wanted to be somewhere that could provide a taste of a world beyond what the UK could provide. I decided to choose Canada as it provided a duality of French and North American cultures while providing a language familiarity. Carleton University, Ottawa seemed like a great fit, well located in the centre of the country and a great reputation for studying – it provided a duality of opportunity for new ground-breaking learning and an experience of a culture far beyond my own.
What exciting opportunities did you get involved in that you otherwise wouldn’t have done if you didn’t study abroad?
Travelling, certainly. Studying abroad doesn’t limit you to a single institution somewhere else in the world – it provides the opportunity to travel and see parts of the world too. Moving around Canada and experiencing different cities and different regions added further colour to what was a lovely trip and further insight into the differing cultures that exist in the country. It was fantastic and felt unique, rather than simply being a holiday.
How did studying abroad improve your University experience?
It enhanced my independence and self-motivation tremendously. Not only studying but also living abroad, away from typical support networks like my family, gave me an intuition and responsibility I had never before experienced. Though it was tough at first I really think it helped me become the person I am today.
What was the best part of your year abroad?
Meeting all the different people and faces from around the world. Thanks to my year abroad I have made lifelong friends from as far and wide as Chile, Australia, India and South Africa. To have such a cosmopolitanism across the globe was something I never truly expected from the programme and has gifted me many friendships in the process.
Was your experience different to the expectations you had before you left?
In a lot of ways, yes – I think before I arrived I had a lot of clichés and assumptions about how I would live, the people I would meet and the general cultures I would encounter. Fortunately, many of these assumptions were dispelled and actually made me realise the great growth and learning I had undertaken in simply being somewhere new in the world. I don’t think I could have achieved this in any other way than simply being on the programme and embracing the new world in front of me – I am truly grateful for that.
What advice can you offer to any students considering studying abroad, or those about to leave for their year overseas?
Just to take a deep breath and go for it! Though it may seem scary and terrifying – whether it be financially or the actual prospect of going – it is a unique experience that simply cannot be repeated or captured and I would wholeheartedly do it again!