I am currently studying combination of French and Law at Lancaster University. This degree programme takes 4 years and a compulsory part of it is a year abroad. Although it sounds terrifying and intimidating on the first sight (and believe me, it was at the very beginning) it was probably the best year I experienced during my uni life so far.
I met loads of awesome people that were thrown into the water the same as me, and therefore we bonded very quickly. One great positive about the year abroad is that everyone comes there knowing absolutely no one so making new friendships and socialising is ridiculously easy. Also you find the whole spectrum of different people from different countries, universities, cultures and social backgrounds and by interacting with them you feel enriched.
It can sound bit silly or naïve, but with some of the people that I met there I formed the so-called “friendship for life” and even though they live all over Europe, and have their own schedules we still manage to meet up somewhere for a weekend at least once every six months.
The experiences that we went through studying in Nancy, (the little French town in the North East of France where I spent my year) are priceless and unforgettable really; they are something completely different than what you experience in the UK. The system in France gives you plenty of free time so you can explore, travel and blend in properly with the culture there, because familiarisation with the culture is the second key aspect of the year abroad, besides gaining a knowledge about a different legal system.
For me it was an absolutely stunning experience as it was first time in my life that I had to sort out everything by myself, and use a language I was not 100% familiar with. This was very intimidating however after couple of days I realised that it is the only way I can really improve my French, by speaking it and making mistakes, then improving through my mistakes.