How to decide whether to study a new subject on your Erasmus year

The Erasmus Program provides a unique opportunity for students to study abroad, explore new cultures, and gain a global perspective on education. One of the biggest decisions you’ll face during your Erasmus year is whether to continue studying your current degree subject or venture into a new one. This article will guide you through the decision-making process to help you make the right choice.

1. Self-Reflection:

The first step in deciding whether to study a new subject on your Erasmus year is to engage in self-reflection. Consider the following questions:

  • What are your academic interests and passions?
  • Are there subjects you’ve always been curious about?
  • What are your long-term career goals and aspirations?

Self-reflection will help you understand your motivations and preferences. If you’re genuinely passionate about your current degree subject and it aligns with your career goals, sticking with it may be the right choice. However, if you’re open to exploration and have a desire to broaden your horizons, studying a new subject may be an exciting prospect.

2. Consult Academic Advisors:

Academic advisors are valuable resources when making this decision. They can provide insights into how your choice may affect your academic progress and future prospects. Schedule a meeting with your academic advisor to discuss your Erasmus options, including the possibility of studying a new subject.

3. Research Your Host University:

The academic environment at your host university can greatly influence your decision. Explore the course offerings, teaching style, and academic resources available. Look for subjects that pique your interest and align with your goals. Investigate whether the host university is known for its strengths in particular fields.

4. Consider Career Implications:

Your choice may have career implications, so it’s essential to think about the future. Consider the following:

  • How will your decision impact your academic record and transcript?
  • Are there particular skills or experiences that your desired career values?
  • Do you see yourself working in a field related to your current degree subject, or are you open to career shifts?

Studying a new subject can be an asset when it comes to employability. Many employers appreciate graduates with diverse academic backgrounds, as it demonstrates adaptability and a broader skill set. However, if you have a clear career path in mind that aligns with your current degree subject, continuing with it may be the right choice.

5. Real-Life Experiences:

Gaining insights from students who have faced similar decisions can be enlightening. Here are two case studies to consider:

Case Study 1: Staying in Your Current Subject Sophie, an Erasmus student majoring in environmental science, chose to continue her degree subject during her exchange. She believed it was essential to maintain the continuity of her studies. During her Erasmus year, she immersed herself in environmental policies and practices at her host university, which enriched her knowledge and experience.

Case Study 2: Exploring Another Subject Alex, majoring in economics, decided to explore philosophy during his Erasmus year. He was drawn to the opportunity for philosophical introspection and critical thinking. Although it was a departure from his core subject, Alex developed valuable skills that proved useful in his future career.

6. Transferable Skills:

Studying a new subject can equip you with transferable skills. Think about the skills you’d like to develop and how they align with your long-term goals. Skills such as critical thinking, research, and adaptability can be invaluable in any field. Consider how studying a new subject might help you acquire these skills.

7. Evaluate Coursework and Requirements:

Carefully review the coursework and requirements for both your current degree subject and the new subject you’re interested in. Make sure you’re comfortable with the academic workload and expectations. Consider the language of instruction and whether you’re proficient in it. Assess whether you can meet the prerequisites for the new subject.

8. Seek Mentorship:

Mentorship can be a valuable resource in making this decision. Consult professors, mentors, or professionals in your field and the new subject you’re considering. They can offer guidance based on their experience and knowledge.

9. Balance Between Passion and Pragmatism:

Ultimately, the decision boils down to a balance between passion and pragmatism. You should pursue a subject that excites you and aligns with your interests, but also consider how it may benefit your future. Remember that the Erasmus experience is not just about academics; it’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

In conclusion, deciding whether to study a new subject on your Erasmus year is a significant decision that should align with your personal interests and long-term goals. Engage in self-reflection, consult academic advisors, research your host university, and consider career implications. Real-life experiences and mentorship can offer valuable insights. The choice should be a reflection of your passion, your desire for personal growth, and your aspirations. Embrace the Erasmus experience, and seize the opportunity for learning and self-discovery.

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