Study Abroad Benefits
23rd January, 2017
College is a time to learn about yourself while learning about the world, and there really is no better way to do that than by heading off on your own to study abroad.
If you’re ready to undertake a bold new adventure, check out the study abroad benefits below, and discover why so many young adults choose to take a less traditional approach to their studies.
1. Explore Beyond Your Personal Borders
Do we even need to mention that traveling overseas is one of the main reasons why students choose to go abroad? Your 20s is the perfect time to embark on a life-changing voyage. Without a job or spouse and kids, you’re totally free to focus on you, and nothing tests your mettle more than living in a foreign country. Go on, see what you’re made of, and when you come out the other side, you’ll have the confidence you need to tackle anything life throws at you in the future.
2. Immerse Yourself in Another Culture
Studying abroad gives you the chance to dive into the experience of a new culture: its food, its traditions, its language, and its people.
Many students find that, when they live in another country for a while, their beliefs and notions about that place change. More importantly, their perspective of their home country also changes. Studying abroad makes you a more worldly global citizen, because you have to adapt and learn to thrive in your new environment.
You’ll learn to appreciate local customs, and you’ll miss some comforts from home, but when you return you’ll never take those little things for granted again.
3. Immerse Yourself in Your Heritage
Did your parents emigrate when they were young to start a new life in your home country? Then studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to uncover more about your own family’s culture.
You’ll gain a deeper understanding of who your family is, and probably understand some of the motivations behind certain behaviors. When you’re in touch with your roots, you gain a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices your ancestors made to get you where you are today.
4. Learn a New Language
Keep in mind that being bilingual is a highly desirable skill these days, as well as a massive resume booster. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to hone your language skills, if you put in the effort. If you’re a native English speaker, resist the urge to get by using English just because you can. Make a concerted effort to learn and speak in the local tongue, and you’ll not only boost your brain, you’ll engender a lot of goodwill from the locals.
You’ll probably be surprised by how quickly you pick up new words and phrases when it’s required to get around, order food and ask for help.
5. Prepare Yourself for a Fantastic Career
Multinational companies look for candidates with international experience. When you study abroad, you gain the valuable global perspective that differentiates you from the pack. Your experience in navigating difficult social situations gained from your time overseas will assist your interpersonal skills no matter where you work. During your time in a foreign country, you’ll have developed valuable problem-solving skills and you’ll be better positioned to excel in diverse workplaces.
6. Discover Yourself
Inevitably, when you study abroad, you’ll learn as much about yourself as you do about your new home. You’ll be forced to confront new challenges in a new environment where everything is different. Even a trip to the grocery store can seem daunting. But the benefits of study abroad are multiplied when you take a moment to reflect on your reactions and feelings. You’ll get an opportunity to break down the limitations you’ve been placing on yourself, so you can embrace a truly extraordinary future.
7. Become More Financially Savvy
Study abroad programs can be on the pricey side, especially when you take exchange rates into consideration. For many students, it’s the first time they are solely responsible for their finances, and that means every dollar or euro counts. By using forums to find jobs and money saving services, you’ll gain strong budgeting skills that will pay dividends in the future. When you need to pay tuition fees, using a secure wiring service like OFX to make your transfers could save you enough to pay for that weekend in Ibiza.
With low cost airlines and affordable student rates at hostels, you may be able to journey to yet another bucket-list destination for the price of a big night out at the pubs. While it’s tempting to spend big with a YOLO mindset, careful budgeting will allow you to do most of what you want to do while gaining the personal finance skills that will help you stay financially sound in the future.
8. Make Amazing New Friends
More than anything else, the people you meet overseas will define your experience there. And there’s something so comforting about connecting with a new peer over universal experiences like lost love or niggling parents. The benefit of studying abroad and meeting new friends is gaining a greater understanding of our shared humanity and how it transcends borders.
9. Embrace New Experiences
As you embrace new experiences, both on your own and with your friends, you will become more confident and less fearful. Living and studying in another country pretty much forces you to boost your sense of adventure and your willingness to say bye-bye to business as usual.
When in Costa Rica, climb volcanoes. When in France, eat snails. Ah, la vie est belle! And when you finally get back home, you may find a very different you has returned. You’ll be better prepared to face obstacles and take risks. In short, you’ll know how to live a more profound life.
10. Get Ready for Graduate School
Planning on going to graduate school after you get your bachelor’s degree? Studying abroad could make it easier to get into the program of your dreams.
Admissions boards at graduate schools admire and respect individuals who have studied abroad. That’s because those students can prove that they aren’t afraid of challenges, of putting themselves into difficult situations, and of embracing diversity.
Plus, when you study abroad, it confirms just how committed you really are to getting an education that will serve you well for the rest of your life. It showcases the fact that you are willing to work hard to improve yourself and help others succeed.
So if you want to really stand out when applying for grad school, study abroad while you’re on the undergrad level. You’ll be able to show off your leadership capabilities, as well as your curiosity for the world at large—traits that are highly desirable in higher education and beyond.
In sum, just go
We’ve tried to itemize a few of the major study abroad benefits here, but the reality is that your experience will be entirely unique. As with any educational opportunity, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. The lessons you’ll acquire while away from home are those that you simply can’t get in a classroom, and the experiences you’ll have are those that you’ll never forget. Now all you have to do is get on that plane.