Studying abroad: A Year of Growth and Discovery

Mia Lennon - LLB Law with Spanish Law 2023
Mia Lennon
Undergraduate student
LLB Law with Spanish Law
LLB Law with Spanish Law student, Mia Lennon, talks to us about her experience of our study abroad programme.

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to spend a year abroad as part of my course. It was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life, and it has enriched my studies in so many ways. I have been able to continue learning Spanish and immerse myself in a different culture. 

Mia Lennon - LLB Law with Spanish Law 2023
Mia Lennon (LLB Law with Spanish Law)

When I was applying for university courses, the study abroad option was incredibly important to me. I knew that I wanted to continue learning Spanish, having spent some time in Seville during my gap year. Sheffield offered the perfect and rare combination of Law with Spanish law, while other universities most commonly focussed on language in isolation from law as a subject. For these reasons I was determined to get into Sheffield.

On this note, one of the benefits of this course was that it wasn't just about learning Spanish as an additional factor to my law degree, it was oriented to teach the Spanish legal system and compare it to the English and Welsh legal systems. Reading a legal paper is very different from reading a Spanish text at A-level, so there was a lot of new vocabulary and expressions to learn. These were taught as an optional add-on to my course, meaning I had dedicated lessons to aid my linguistic skills when I needed them. This has made me feel more prepared for international legal fields as it has equipped me with the linguistic skills to negotiate in these fields. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in law and languages, and who wants to have a truly unique university experience.

The support we’ve had from the university while abroad has been great, with staff members, such as Colby Parker, regularly on hand to help with problems remotely. It's great having staff members that are engaged, with a great knowledge of processes available so quickly to help. We receive emails to check on our wellbeing so I feel really cared for by the school. 

One of the unexpected benefits of the language barrier was the opportunity it presented for me to build a diverse network of friends. While it was initially challenging to communicate with some of my classmates, it ultimately encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and seek connections beyond language. By doing so, I not only met people from different countries but also gained invaluable insights into diverse cultures and ways of life. The friendships I formed during my year abroad have become a cherished part of my life and have broadened my perspective in ways I could never have imagined.

Mia Lennon - study - 2023
Mia Lennon studying at Bartolomé House.

Another aspect of my year abroad that greatly impacted me was the newfound sense of time management and self-discipline. With a more flexible schedule, I had the chance to delve deeper into my studies while also immersing myself in the local culture. Although the workload remained challenging, the extra time allowed me to develop efficient time management skills and self-discipline. These newfound abilities have since become instrumental in my academic and personal life, empowering me to juggle multiple responsibilities and make the most of every moment.

Perhaps the most profound transformation I experienced during my year abroad was the growth in my confidence and personal development. Being thrust into a foreign language and culture pushed me far beyond my comfort zone, forcing me to confront my insecurities and adapt to unfamiliar situations. Through this process, I discovered a resilience and strength within myself that I had never fully realised. Overcoming language barriers, navigating cultural differences, and embracing new experiences all contributed to a newfound confidence that has positively impacted every aspect of my life.

Lastly, my year abroad provided me with the opportunity to take a step back from the intense workload of my degree and simply have fun. While academic pursuits are undeniably crucial, it is equally important to find balance and create memories that will last a lifetime. Exploring a new country, connecting with people from various backgrounds, and experiencing the wonders of a foreign culture allowed me to relax and enjoy life beyond the confines of academia. These moments of joy and adventure have reinvigorated my passion for learning and provided a much-needed perspective on the importance of embracing the journey, not just the destination.

Mia Lennon - Bartolome Cafe - 2023
Mia Lennon at Bartolomé House Café

As I conclude my reflections on my year abroad, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible experiences and personal growth I have gained. This university has not only provided me with a world-class education but has also fostered an environment that encourages exploration, diversity, and personal development. The support from accommodating lecturers, the diverse network of friends I have built, the development of time management and self-discipline skills, the boost in confidence, and the opportunity to relax and have fun have all contributed to an unforgettable chapter of my life.

To all current and prospective students considering a year abroad or embarking on their university journey, I encourage you to embrace every opportunity that comes your way. Whether it be studying in a foreign country, participating in cultural exchanges, or simply seeking support from your lecturers, these experiences have the potential to shape you into the person you aspire to become. Remember, it's not just about the academic achievements but also about the personal growth, connections, and memories that will stay with you forever.

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