BlogUniversityPros and Con of a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS

Pros and Con of a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS

So, you pretty much know all the details and info on studying a UTS Bachelor of Arts in International Studies — take a quick look here if you don’t! 

But you want to know how students really feel about this degree? 

Well, we’ve had a chat with Emiko, a UTS Graduate who spent a year abroad in Germany for her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (her core degree was a Bachelor of Communications in Journalism). We ask her all those questions you really want to know the answers to!

This is such an exciting degree, so what are you waiting for?! Let’s get started! 

Why should you study International Studies at UTS?
Top 3 Pros of an International Studies Degree
Top 3 Cons of an International Studies Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting a UTS Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying a UTS Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study International Studies at UTS?

UTS Bachelor of Arts - Student Quote

Now, in all honesty, who wouldn’t want to do this awesome double degree?! A year abroad, a new language and culture, new skills and lifetime experiences. 

Top 3 Pros of an International Studies degree 

#1: You spend a year abroad

The best part is the year abroad and I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Emiko said.

Well, we aren’t surprised about this — for a lot of students, it’s the first time living out of home and in a different country! Everything is new and different, there’s a bit of a culture shock at the start and you’ll probably get lost in translation but it’s all so exciting and a wonderful learning opportunity.

You’ll make friends for life and have memories to talk about years on down the track!

#2: Experience another language and culture

It’s true that the best way to learn a language is living in the country! Well, you have a whole year away to learn the language and experience the culture. 

“You do realise how much you actually learn in the country compared to two years of learning German in Australia — it’s insane!” Emiko told us. 

She added, “I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a place for that long where the official language was not my first language. I was able to be in that position for the first time and I think that’s a valuable experience that I’ll never get again.”

#3: You grow as a person

It can be quite confronting when you arrive and you’re still struggling to learn the language plus the culture is different. You’ll definitely find yourself out of your comfort zone at some point or multiple times but these moments are where you grow! 

Emiko said, “I think immersing in another culture and putting yourself in the deep end allows you to learn more about yourself and grow to be a well-rounded person.”


Top 3 Cons of an International Studies degree

#1: Assessment structure abroad 

Although you do have to attend the language classes at your host university, you’re not marked on these classes! Instead, UTS marks you on your cultural assessment tasks which are completed in English — all of these assessments lead towards your capstone research project. 

Emiko told us that this structure “makes it somewhat hard to focus on the language studies, one of the most important parts about the in-country study.”

#2: You’re responsible for your language learning 

“Perhaps I should have pushed myself to meet more German students on exchange at UTS or joined the German society before my in-country study,” Emiko said. 

At the end of day, your language fluency depends on you! It’s up to you to put yourself out there and make mistakes — that’s how you learn the language.

In some countries — for example, Germany, a lot of people speak English so you have to be strict with yourself if you want to learn the language. Make German friends, listen to German music and watch German films! 

#3: Well, there isn’t really another con! 

It’s pretty cool that you can spend a year abroad and it counts as part of your degree! It just adds on two years to your core degree (you can’t study International Studies by itself at UTS — have a look here to see the double degree options). 

In that time, you get to learn a language, make lifetime memories and complete an original piece of research — this degree really gives you the edge and makes you stand out from the crowd! 

Any regrets? 

I wouldn’t say I have any regrets about this degree, and I was able to do what I set out to do during the degree,” said Emiko. 

Now, we’re pretty sure that speaks for itself! 

What do you wish you had known before starting a UTS Bachelor of Arts in International Studies? 

The resources provided to me prior to starting the degree were comprehensive and therefore I felt like I knew a lot about the degree before starting it,” Emiko said. 

Something else you should definitely know: Save up! 

While UTS pay for your airfare, insurance, pre-semester language course and semester fees (pretty sweet, right?!), you do have to save enough to cover your living costs and any travel you do during the year.

The good thing is that you have three years to save up before you go abroad in your fourth year. However, that does mean that you really have to save what you make because you’ll need it when you’re abroad. And trust us, you’ll want to travel during the semester break! 

There’s also the chance for you to take out an OS-HELP loan if you need some extra financial assistance. If you have a distinction average, you can also apply for the International Studies Overseas Access Scholarship which provides financial assistance for your year abroad. 

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

#1: The In-Country research project 

So, you have the whole year to write your capstone (5000 words) which is basically a big research project where you choose a topic, collect the data and then write it all up. There’s a lot of freedom with it because you can choose any topic which relates to your host society/country. 

“For me, I looked into Göttingen’s historical identity as an academic town and how that identity had transcended to the modern day,” Emiko said.

She added, “I loved this project and my chosen field of study as it really allowed me to study the town I lived in, know more about its history and the people who lived there in the past and present.”

Submitting your final research project is so rewarding because this is something you’ve been working on constantly throughout the whole year! 

#2: Develop skills that can’t be taught in the classroom

Emiko told us that International Studies “is a very different degree compared to others offered at the university, as it offers students the invaluable experience of immersing themselves in a culture in another country.”

“It allows students to develop skill sets which can rarely be taught and experience opportunities unique to being a university student in a foreign country. It is most definitely a challenging degree that tests your true abilities and rediscovers your identity,” she said. 

You can’t really put a price on experiences and throughout the year abroad, you’ll have all kinds of experiences that challenge you, excite you and really make you wish the time wouldn’t go so fast!

What inspired you to choose a UTS Bachelor of Arts in International Studies?

Emiko told us she always wanted to do International Studies! 

Learning another language and culture was my passion from early on, and being able to do so in a university setting was very appealing to me,” she said. 

What are the possible career paths?

UTS Bachelor of Arts - Careers

Well it really depends on what your core degree is (whether that be business, engineering, architecture, creative writing, etc. — there are a lot of different double degree combinations) because International Studies can’t be studied alone.

However, in saying that, perhaps you want to work in the media overseas or work for an international business and so on. This degree really provides you with the opportunities to take your core degree to the next level!

You learn so many valuable skills throughout the degree (independence, cultural awareness, time management, resilience) which are beneficial for any job!

There’s really so many possibilities depending on what your core degree is! Here are just a few international related jobs:

    • Nurse, teacher, engineer working overseas  
    • Foreign correspondent
    • International law or business firm 
    • Policy officer 
    • Diplomat 
    • International aid worker 
    • Immigration specialist 
    • United Nations worker

And yes…there are a lot more out there — it’s all very exciting! 

Tanna Nankivell is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.


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