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Monday 26 February 2018

With most degrees at Solent, students have the opportunity to study abroad, whether with Erasmus or one of our partner institutions.

Patrick Egan, currently in his third year studying BA (Hons) Media, Culture and Production, is one student who has made the most of these opportunities.

We caught up with Patrick to find out more about his experiences.

Tell us about your international exchanges.

During my time at Solent I have been fortunate enough to take part in three foreign exchanges. I’ve been on a 10-month Erasmus programme in Vic, near Barcelona, Spain, a week-long programme in Vienna, Austria for International Business and Marketing Week, and a four-week programme in Shanghai, China.

The Erasmus programme in Vic was for the whole of my second year. I did units such as international marketing, animation, global communication strategies, social journalism and many more.

The experience was amazing and there are a lot of cultural activities that UVic (the host university) provided us with to help enrich our understanding of Spain.

The international week in Austria was really interesting due to its CV-boosting potential. I and other Solent students joined other university students from all around the continent to solve a marketing strategy problem.

My exchange in Shanghai was probably the most culturally different. I went with three other Solent students and 14 German university students to Shanghai Jian Qiao University and completed four weeks of cultural trips, language lessons, calligraphy tutorials and, best of all, learning the game of ‘Go’, or ‘Wei Qi’.

Wei Qi is a board game played by the Chinese similar in logic to chess, and we had intensive lessons in the game until our final week, where we played against children – who were masters compared to us!

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What made you decide to do an international exchange?

I think, overall, being a mature student encouraged my motivation for this. I already had a deep interest in travel and, prior to starting my degree in media, I was debating studying travel and tourism.

When choosing my media degree, I noticed that the curriculum had the opportunity to study abroad. The chance to merge my two passions together was perfect, as well as the huge employability benefits that come from doing exchanges. It proves that you are a mobile, fearless, confident, open and risk taking kind of person.

What are the benefits of the exchange programme?

After my three exchanges I have based my dissertation subject on the benefits of studying abroad in terms of employability in the creative industries. Having inspiration for this has been a great benefit.

In terms of the Erasmus and the week in Vienna, I did two live marketing briefs, which look excellent on my CV. Overall, I felt very independent, open to different cultures, culturally nourished by the host university, learnt different languages and adaptability, and felt my personality develop as a result.

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What do you feel you have learnt through the process?

The exchange programmes are a huge confidence builder. Being away from home, family and friends may be scary for some people, but the benefits are so much greater.

I think I’ve ultimately learnt the value of culture and how it can enrich your experience as a student and open you to a world of possibilities after your degree.

After being mixed with students from all over the world, you get to learn how other multicultural students like to work, which is hugely beneficial as businesses and organisations are becoming global in nature.