Brussels: the heart of the European Union. A city in which representatives from 28 nations meet to discuss, plan and make decisions. And, as a result, the city hosts an array of different nationalities, cultures, and languages.
As a study abroad student who, one day, wants to cover foreign news, it is incredibly refreshing to be exposed to such an international environment. But, unfortunately, there will soon be one less country sending a representative to Brussels. So what does Brexit mean to someone experiencing the benefits of being in the EU first hand?
Every year study abroad gives thousands of students the chance to meet and learn from people from other countries. In a world that is already so divided, this is so important. It is crucial that we take these opportunities whenever possible; because one thing study abroad makes you realise is that, despite our cultural differences, we are all far more similar than we think.
The chance to study abroad is huge for so many students – it gives them a sense of independence they otherwise may not have had. It is one thing to move a couple of hours away from your hometown for uni, but moving abroad by yourself takes it to the next level. Programs such as Erasmus give students the chance to do this so easily. For most students, this is the only opportunity to live abroad while studying. And living in an EU member state makes the whole process far simpler. There is no need for a visa and it is so easy to travel to other countries in-between studying. So many British students are, therefore, incredibly lucky to have been able to go on Erasmus before Brexit turns everything on its head.
Not to mention the added benefits such as the Erasmus Grant. Students literally get free money to study for a semester in another EU country. The amazing thing is that the EU genuinely wants to encourage people from different European countries to interact. That’s part of the reason why it gives Erasmus students a grant to help with the financial cost of studying abroad. And Brexit means that British students will face a significantly more difficult process before seeing the benefits of study abroad. And, even then, they won’t have the same opportunities British Erasmus students did before Brexit.
As a current study abroad student, it is clear that Brexit will be a significant obstacle for the UK in the future. It is disappointing that a small majority voted to break away from the EU. The 27 absolutely amazing remaining nations all have something positive to offer the British people. And now we will no longer be part of this incredible union of brilliant countries.
Do you have any views on how Brexit may affect student life? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.