The Benefits of Studying Abroad:
A University Student’s Perspective

BY Sacha Lund

I have always had the travel bug, being lucky enough to travel to over 15 countries before my grade 11 year. I was counting down the days before I could go on my first Blyth Academy program – the hardest part about my summer abroad was picking which of the many amazing countries to experience! After extreme deliberation, I landed on Rome and the Greek Islands, and I couldn’t have been happier.

As I am sure you are aware, studying abroad will undoubtedly be one of the best experiences of your life. No matter where you go, you are sure to make irreplaceable memories and forever friends. Not only that, but you are bound to learn essential lessons that will prepare you for anything life throws at you. After exploring the Greek Islands, I finished my last year of high school and then started my first year studying Commerce at Queen’s University. It wasn’t until this year that I realized how studying abroad was preparing me for university life. The most shocking part was that the lessons I learned outside the classroom on my program ended up helping me the most in first year. It even happens that my roommate on my Blyth Academy program will be my housemate next year!

Here are some of the advantages of studying abroad:

Sacha at university with friends


When in Rome and Greece, I never wanted to miss out on one minute, from the Colosseum to taking in the gorgeous landscapes of Kalamata. That being said, it was easy to forget about the essays I had due the next day. I quickly learned how to balance hanging out with my new friends, seeing the landscape, and doing my school work.

Sacha at the Vatican in Rome


There is no end to all the new things you can try when in Europe! My personal favourite was learning how to backflip off of a sailboat in the Greek Islands. Studying abroad really broadened my horizons and gave me the courage to get out of my comfort zone and try new things in my first year of university – I now try to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity I’m given.


It’s okay to miss my family and friends! It’s totally natural to feel homesick at times; it can be hard to be away from your loved ones when travelling abroad or away at college or university. Just remember they’re only a phone call away.


Living abroad taught me how to get outside my comfort zone, be a little silly, and meet new people. Making new friends can be hard and it is definitely a valuable skill to learn. Even small things like asking strangers for directions are new skills that are so helpful in your university life.

Sacha at the Parthenon in Athens


Sometimes you forget how much there is to learn – and the world is bigger than you think. Travelling abroad and experiencing a new culture reminds you there is always something new to learn. I can say for certain my curiosity was sparked after taking in European culture.


If you’re anything like me, you like to do things your way and don’t think twice about any other solution. Having roommates teaches you how to go with the flow and listen to other people, you may be surprised with how much you like following someone else’s lead. While you’re out exploring your new city you have to adapt to small things like turning down a road you’re unsure of or losing track of time munching on gelato and missing out on some of your study time. You adapt quickly to fitting studying in your schedule.

Though our physical doors remain temporarily closed, the minds of our students stay open. Summer classes are continuing to meet on their regular daily schedules, in virtual classrooms with face-to-face instruction and peer interaction.  The Blyth Academy model of small class sizes, flexible scheduling and individualized approach have enabled us to remain faithful to our standards. Our commitment to ongoing and meaningful communication between school, teachers, students and families has been critical to this effort.

Although our students have transitioned into summer mode and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen, we are looking ahead to what September will hold for our campuses and families.
We want to be clear - our preference and our priority is to get students back to our campuses, but we must ensure this is done in a safe and effective way. While we await official guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, a "return to school" task force has been hard at work putting concrete operational plans in place for all likely scenarios. This includes a full return to campus with safeguards, a blended model of virtual and in-campus learning and the continuation of fully virtual classrooms. All scenarios will provide robust learning and live, daily instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. 
With ten campuses across Ontario, we realize that each one of our schools is a unique space and community. We will be implementing across-the-board policies on hand washing, facility cleaning and social distancing measures. Each school is also prepared to pivot individually based on the guidance of local health authorities and to best serve students and families. 
Our recent survey showed that over 80 per cent of Blyth Academy families are eager to return to campuses, and we are hard at work to prepare for this day. As September's scenario becomes clearer and more information becomes available, we will continue to communicate. 

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