This is the final part of a contributor series by Stephanie Brown. You can read the first part herecommute-icon

You may hear, “The marking system is harder in other countries,” before you go to your new school. You may hear it a lot before you even decide to commit to studying abroad, which can deter some people from taking advantage of the amazing opportunity.

Personally, I didn’t find the standards harder—just different. Even at this late date, the whole system over here remains a bit of a mystery.

long commThough highest level, first-class work can be achieved with a grade of 72 percent on a paper, be prepared for the numbers to drop. But just because you suddenly drop what would be a few letter grades in Canada, it doesn’t mean the material is harder. In fact, overall I have found the material rather easy at the University of Hertfordshire. There has been a lot of group work, and very large reflective essays. I can’t speak for all foreign schools, but in general you can probably expect different schools to have a different emphasis than VIU.

As a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the experience will probably teach you more than school itself. You will be traveling to new places, experiencing new cultures, and meeting people from all over the world. This can be where the real self-growth happens.

I’m sad to see this end. This is my last column before I head out to backpack through Southeast Asia. I hope that you can benefit from some final pieces of advice: You will need more money than you think. You should also allow yourself to travel for a good chunk of time when your semester is done. After making the long journey, take advantage of seeing as much as you can, because you might not make it back that way for a long time, no matter how much you want to do it again soon.

Most importantly, enjoy the journey, the whole journey. You will get so much more out of your education, and your life, and when you stand back and see it from thousands of miles away, you look at where you were and where you can go.