A year-long holiday

“You must be so excited; it’s like going on holiday for a year!”
This is something I’ve heard repeatedly over the past few weeks, as relatives and friends discover I’m about to depart on a year abroad. But with my plane ticket booked, my suitcases packed, I think it’s worth considering the many benefits of a year abroad – which are much more than simply an excuse for a vacation.

Anna Olney-Smith, work experience at Stone Junction

The obvious one

The best way to learn a language is not in the classroom, but being surrounded by it, day in, day out. Immersion in a native language is one of the main and most obvious draws for wanting to study or work abroad in a non-English speaking country. Students return, sometimes not entirely fluent (what is fluent, anyway?) but certainly with a much more extensive knowledge of their target language.

Returning to the UK with these skills can also widen the range of opportunities post-graduation too. Here at Stone Junction we look to employ at least one foreign language speaker in each of our four teams. This help us to speak to journalists and clients in their native language, which builds trust beyond what Google translate and broken English can offer.

Beyond fish and chips

Ok, so maybe one of the less serious benefits of a year abroad is the new food you get to try. However, this represents part of the wider opportunity of spending time abroad – to experience a different culture first hand.

Different than when you visit a country for a holiday, living in a country for few months or more means you begin to understand how native speakers’ think, feel and act. This can prove invaluable in a later career as in an increasingly international environment, employers’ value a global outlook and familiarity of different cultures.

Overcoming new challenges 

Not only do you gain valuable language and professional skills from studying or living abroad, but the personal benefits cannot be overlooked. Uplifting your life and putting down roots in a completely new environment is no small thing.

The decision to live somewhere entirely different proves you are confident, resilient, and ultimately open to new cultures. To employers, and equally on a personal level, the self-awareness and adaptability to new environments this shows is so important.

Studying abroad is an invaluable opportunity that should be viewed as far more than an excuse for a year-long holiday. Personally, I hope that my upcoming year will be filled with new and valuable experiences à la française. And hopefully copious amounts of cheese.

At Stone Junction, we recognise the importance of understanding different cultures. That’s why we love international PR; our multilingual team fluently speaks eight languages and can offer cultural and market insight.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the chance to experience a study abroad. If you’d like to work with a PR agency who can provide the international expertise that it represents, we can help. Email us at hello@stonejunction.co.uk or call on +44 (0)1785 224416.

Anna Olney-Smith

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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