If you are a bookworm, then you might be accustomed to losing yourself in the worlds of literary, imagination, and wonder. Studying literature abroad, however, is the opportunity to create your own adventure in the real world, one that will greatly shape your literary perspective and generate a whole new story to tell.
Why Study Literature Abroad
Let’s face it, literature is a worldly subject. There is only so much insight one can gain from studying the works of great authors in a classroom setting, and the rest must come through growth and personal experience. Studying literature abroad is the opportunity to elevate your literary perceptiveness on a personal, academic, and professional level. Completing high-quality literature courses at a foreign university, while becoming lost in the world with the ultimate goal of pursuing a greater literacy understanding, will change your view of the subject entirely.
Where do you feel you can have a life changing experience and be exposed to the type of literature that intrigues you? While other considerations obviously exist, this should be the main factor influencing your decision of where to study literature abroad. To each their own; there is no one more capable of determining the most fruitful context for your literary adventure abroad than you!
On a more practical scale, a helpful place to begin the decision making process is by breaking your study abroad program options down into the English speaking and non-English speaking world. If you are a student of English language and literature and want to take subject-specific courses, then obviously you will want to pursue an education within the former. There are many countries out there that utilize English as the medium of education; from England to South Africa to India, you might have more options than you think.
If you want to study comparative or world literature, or are okay with enrolling in courses that aren’t all necessarily subject-specific, then you will have a whole new window of opportunities open to you. While a larger academic emphasis is placed on literature in some regions of the world over others, most cultures indulge in some manifestation of the art form. This means you can study literature abroad pretty much anywhere; however in the non-English speaking world your course selection may be more limited.
Studying Literature Abroad
There are a few routes you can take to study literature abroad. The first and most obvious is to directly enroll at a foreign university for a semester or even a full year. Your home university, as well as a host of external study abroad program providers, can help pair you with a university abroad. Students who choose this route will likely live in a dormitory or homestay and have access to a full course catalogue alongside local students. Since literature is a common subject taught at most universities, you will have a wide selection of literature courses at your fingertips if you choose direct enrollment in almost any country.
Another option is to engage in a subject-specific study abroad program that is tailored to literature students. These are generally shorter summer or winter programs that take place between academic semesters, offering academic credit for a handful of courses along with the opportunity to enjoy pre-planned extracurricular activities and excursions. Most literature study abroad programs are targeted at international students and take place at either a satellite school or academic center, as opposed to a local university with local students.
The number of literature study abroad programs out there are many and diverse, so it is important for students to spend some time researching a wide array of options. Every continent and country has a culturally unique approach to the subject, so the course-matter will take on many different forms across the globe.
Growth. As an individual and as a literary observer, the perspective you gain from studying literature abroad can greatly mature you. You time abroad will be a tremendous developmental experience.
Language. The author Geoffrey Willans once stated “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.” As a student of literature, immersing yourself in another language abroad can lead to tremendous insight of your own.
Reading Time. Is there a more romantic literary notion than taking a long train ride in some faraway country with your nose buried in a great book? Traveling will provide you plenty of time to read that epic you’ve always wanted to, but never have had the chance to, undertake.