International Office Blog

News and information from the International Office at the University of Brighton

A year abroad: Bronte shares her student exchange experience

We asked Brighton student Bronte Mosley to share her experience of studying abroad on our student exchange programme.

Bronte is a student on our International Business Management BSc. Built into the course is the opportunity to study abroad for a year. 

Our student exchange programme allows students to study abroad for a year in various locations with partnering universities. There are a bunch of exciting options available, and it’s a fantastic way to experience something new.

Studying abroad provides a unique edge when it comes to graduate employment, which Bronte says was a contributing factor in choosing to study abroad.

All set to embark on her new academic journey, Bronte studied at Hochschule Mainz in Germany for a year full of new experiences, people, and culture. 

A collection of images from Bronte’s year abroad

Q&A with Bronte

What was your study abroad year like?

It was certainly an experience that everyone should do if they get the opportunity to! The amount of interesting and amazing people you meet is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

I was lucky to be with around 60-80 other international students, all from different countries around the world. It was incredible to speak and become friends with so many people from different cultures.

The university was great, the teachers were very nice and helpful.  I chose to do 10 modules, and they were such interesting subjects that aren’t offered [on my] international business course. Subjects such as project management, international social responsibility, negotiation skills, working in multi-cultural teams (we worked remotely with students in America – the university had a partnership with the University of South Carolina), creating shared values (the university also had partnerships with several different universities in Africa, so we got to work remotely with students in Africa) – all great experiences.

Did you have any culture shocks?

The culture was tricky to adapt to because German culture tends to be quite reserved until you get closer with them, so takes a bit of time to break down the initial barriers unlike British people who are open at first meeting. But once the initial barriers are broken, the German culture is super, they are kind people and very happy to help others.

I felt Germany was very quiet, perhaps it was just the town I was in, but everyone was very to themselves, and people didn’t like to draw too much attention to themselves. The trams, trains and buses were often very quiet unlike in the UK, towards the end I thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness of the place and felt it was very noisy back home!

One thing I did like was that after every lesson, the students knocked their fists on the table to say thank you to the teacher, instead of saying it out loud as they were leaving.

Any stereotype you have of a country before going there, eliminate it! You just need to be there to experience what it is truly like – it is not a holiday, you gain cultural insight by being part of the place and you need to accept what is thrown at you, become part of it instead of being ethnocentric.

What was your favourite part of your year abroad?

My favourite part of my year abroad was the people that I met and the places I got to see. I was fortunate enough to have saved up enough money so that I could visit neighbouring countries and I ended up going to Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Czech Republic and the Netherlands, which was incredible and definitely made the year abroad more excitable and enjoyable.

The people I met were so fascinating, and despite being from different parts of the world and living very different lives, I was surprised how much we all had in common, and the friendships you make are like no other. Just participating in conversation about our differences in cultures was always so interesting as it often went against the stereotypes, so it gives so much opportunity for learning and opens your mind to new perspectives, which helps you grow a lot.

We did a lot of group work in Germany – almost all my modules had group work included, so if you enjoy group work then it’s definitely the place for you. I enjoyed this aspect a lot as you get to spend time with other students and sharing/hearing each other’s ideas was interesting.

A collection of images from Bronte’s year abroad


How did your course prepare you for studying abroad?

I felt it did help towards the year abroad and I would say that it also helped having a good insight of international business beforehand.

The topics vary and I did not have any prior knowledge on a lot of the subjects. However, there were also many subjects where I had already done the same/similar work at Brighton in terms of models and theories used by the professors, so that was useful.

Did you do any part-time work or placement while you were out there?

I worked for my dad helping him with his marketing company, so I was working remotely.

There are three or four Irish pubs in Mainz, which all had English speaking staff. Most of the staff were either native English speakers or Irish and the others spoke very good English, an option for people interested in working. However, if you did want to get a job, basic German language skills will be required.

Did you apply for the Turing scheme?

The Turing scheme is something all students going abroad should apply for.

The Turing scheme is a grant given by the government to help those going to do a year abroad. You get [a set amount] at the beginning and the rest when you have finished the year.

How do you think having a year abroad will help you in finding a job after graduation?

The skills that come with doing a year abroad say a lot about a person. It shows fast adaptability to a new environment, the ability to work across cultures, being able to effectively communicate across cultures, intercultural communication, problem solving, teamwork, enhanced creativity from the vast perspectives it brings, and resilience.

Studying abroad sounds like a year of a good time, but it is difficult adapting to a new culture, and communicating with other cultures is difficult. You have to be patient, hardworking and committed – it might not always be smooth sailing and there will be a lot of problems to solve. After doing a year abroad, the skills and personal growth that you experience is absolutely worth it, and makes you more interesting to an employer. Work hard during your year abroad because it will be your selling point to a potential employer.

Globalisation is growing intensely and because of this employers will be more attracted to somebody who has worked closely with other cultures, and gained the skills of intercultural competence. Employers will also find it appealing knowing that you have committed to living in a different country for a year as it is not an easy thing to do.

What would you say to another student who’s considering doing a year abroad?

Do not turn down this opportunity as it is an experience of a lifetime which you won’t get again! Here are a few tips that I would suggest when considering going abroad for a year:

  • Make sure you check the entry requirements! I didn’t know that I needed a citizenship to be in Germany longer than 90 days, so I got myself in a very tricky situation. The university will guide you through most things, but you need to make sure you complete it.
  • There will most likely be an induction week, it’s very important as it’s where you’ll meet the most people and everyone will start to mingle, make group chats, organise further meet ups etc. I missed out on this in the first semester, and it affected me a lot, so make sure you go to everything if you want to ensure you meet people. Socialising and creating friendships are really important for getting through the year as it can be lonely without companionship.
  • If you do well in your year abroad, your top highest marks will count as your marks for that year abroad module, which will go towards your final grade, so work hard!
  • Make the most of where you are – there are such beautiful places to visit in these countries, and often those places are not far from where you are staying.
  • When I was told to choose my modules, I thought I was choosing for the whole year, but in Germany they do it differently. Discuss with your supervisor in Germany the requirements for how many modules you need to do.
  • Just remember that English is not their first language so speak slowly, clearly and don’t use words they might not know. It’s best to speak and communicate at their level and not have any expectations of their level of English. Most had amazing English skills but be sure to remember not to use slang or abbreviations.

Germany was brilliant and cared a lot for their international students, the professors were inclusive, and the German students were interested in us. They organise lots of events for the international students, lots of parties, BBQs, boat party, day trips etc.

You were never alone and there was always more than one international student, so it was less daunting because you’d be in the same lessons as the German students. The work was also very interesting and not too difficult – there was always somebody to ask if you weren’t sure on anything, and doing lots of group work helped with that.

More about study exchange

Fantastisch Bronte! (fantastic Bronte!) – thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Find our more about study exchange opportunities and how it could work for you.

careerinternationalinternational business managementSchool of Business and Lawstudentstudent experiencestudent lifestudy abroadstudy exchangestudy Exchange experiencestudyingUniversity of Brightonyear abroad

Clare Cornwell • February 29, 2024

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