Having the opportunity to study abroad is a rare one, and not everyone takes advantage of it. Read this article to learn more about studying abroad and why it could be right for you.
Before going into this article I want to say that I understand that studying abroad is a privilege that few people have access to. Either due to the financial burden, their particular schools or programs policies or many other factors people are unable to participate in study abroad programs, which does not make their degrees any less valuable or important. This article is for those who have the opportunity to study abroad, for a semester or for their entire degree and are looking for more information on why they should do this. This article is based on my personal experiences with living abroad for university and are not reflective of everyone’s experience.
Experience A Different Culture
Even if you’re traveling to a country that you have a good understanding of, that does not mean you have experienced its culture. Visiting as a tourist for a week or two doesn’t have the same impact as six months or four years ever could. At times you may experience culture shock but it is important to try and dive right into the local culture of wherever you go. Even if you are friends with other people doing study abroad programs from your country and school make an effort to make other friends and to spend time with them on a regular basis. Try new foods, watch their TV, listen to their music and just try and soak it all up. Things that seem bizarre to you when you first arrive might end up being the things you miss the most when you leave.
Open Up Career Opportunities
Most people are at university because they are trying to better their job prospects down the line, and going to study abroad is another way to help you stand out from the crowd. In an increasingly globalized world, any international experience you can get will help you get ahead, especially if in your time abroad you are able to pick up a new language or even just make connections with people from around the world. Another great benefit of going to study abroad, it doesn’t mean you are stuck to that one city or country. Take advantage of where you are to travel and see the other countries around you. Any additional knowledge or connection could help you when it comes to applying for jobs down the line.
You’ll Become More Independent
Much like going to college in the first place forces you to become more independent, going abroad to study takes it to the next level. You’re pretty much on your own in a foreign place and your family and friends are more than a phone call away. This can be daunting but it will also force you to grow up much faster than you would have back at school. You’ll grow more mature and develop life skills it’ll take your classmates longer to catch up on, and you’ll get to do it as you explore the wider world.
It Will Be A Challenge
You may look at all the opportunities and experiences that study abroad provides and think it will be a breeze but there are always challenges. Homesickness usually starts out in smaller ways, not being able to find your favorite cereal, or missing a friends birthday. Slowly it builds though and I can guarantee that on at least one rainy day during your time away you’ll wonder why you came so far away and how you’ll ever be able to finish out your time there. I can also guarantee that feeling won’t last. You’ll make new and amazing friends and learn so much about yourself in the process that once your home and looking back at it you’ll wonder why you ever doubted going in the first place.
My general advice is to say yes to every opportunity and try as many new things as possible because this is one of the few times in your life that these doors will be open.