Ever thought about studying abroad, but wonder if it’s worth it or are nervous to travel to a foreign country alone? Consider this- study abroad not only gives you the opportunity to see the world and have your own adventure, but it also provides you with experience and skills that will boost your resume. Below are ten reasons you should take the challenge and study abroad.
1. Study abroad will help you develop skills and give you experiences a classroom setting will never provide. While away in a foreign country, you will be faced with many challenges and problems that you have never dealt with before. You will develop a whole new set of skills, problem-solving techniques, strengths and abilities, as well as leadership qualities. Being able to adapt to your surroundings will prove a valuable skill in the future.
2. Study abroad is the optimal way to learn a language. Learning a language in a classroom is great, but chances are you will forget 80% of what you learned as soon as you walk out the door. However, if you choose to study abroad, you will learn by immersion. You will talk to the locals, order food at restaurants, and listen to conversations, all in a different language. Even the most novice speaker of a foreign language will pick up new words and phrases almost daily. Don’t forget to put your new language skills on your resume!
3. Study abroad provides the opportunity to travel. Of course your main goal is to learn, but you won’t be studying every second of the day. You will have vacations and weekends to go out and explore. Take the opportunity to visit tourist attractions or go out and eat a food that the country is famous for. Even if you don’t have time to take a long trip, some study abroad programs have field trips built into the class schedule.
4. Study abroad allows you get to know another culture first-hand. Cultural differences are more than just differences in language, food, appearances, and personal habits. A person’s culture reflects very deep perceptions, beliefs, and values that influence his or her way of life and the way that s/he views the world. Students who experience cultural differences personally can come to truly understand where other cultures are coming from.
5. You will make new friends and contacts during your study abroad session. You will meet all sorts of people on your trip- from local families, to fellow study abroad students, to professors with professional connections in your field of study. Take the opportunity to get to know people and, more importantly, stay in contact with them when you get back home. You could form life-time friendships or receive a recommendation from a professor that helps you land your dream job.
6. Study abroad helps you to learn about yourself. You will not only gain a new sense of your strengths, weaknesses, and abilities, but also you will have a whole new perspective of the region and culture you are immersed in as well as a new perspective of your own culture. Your attitudes and beliefs may either change or strengthen with the exposure to new ideas and ways of life.
7. Study abroad expands your worldview. Study abroad affords you the opportunity to become truly informed on global issues as well as social problems, attitudes, and ideas that affect the part of the world you are visiting. Studying in a foreign country will allow you to gain an unbiased view of the people and culture.
8. Study abroad gives you the opportunity to break out of your academic routine. Ever get bored with microeconomics every Tuesday and Thursday and global politics every Monday afternoon? Study abroad allows you to break out of your routine. Even if your class schedule is the same every week, the sights and sounds you will experience between and after class is enough to mix things up a bit. A new academic system, new professors, and new peers will also help turn the mundane into a new exciting adventure.
9. Study abroad enhances employment opportunities. As the world becomes more globalized, employers are increasingly searching for people with global experience. Employers may be looking for someone who can negotiate in Spanish or who has experience problem-solving and living in Germany. In addition, your experience may boost your potential to find international jobs, should you choose to work outside your home country. Also, experiencing a foreign country makes you a well-rounded person and proves you are confident and self-motivated, in addition to giving you new skills and abilities.
10. Study abroad can enhance the value of your degree. You will be studying in a new academic system which may give you the opportunity to take classes that are not available back home. In addition, the language skills you acquire may count toward a concentration or minor in that language at your university. Ask your advisor before you head out on your journey to see what is required for a language minor.
The pros far outweigh the cons on the issue of study abroad. Studying in a foreign country will give you opportunities you would never otherwise have. You will not only learn about new subject matters, but you will learn about yourself as well. You will meet new people, gain valuable skills and a new global perspective. Studying abroad may even open doors to future job opportunities. So take the challenge and apply to study in a foreign country.