Debating whether to study abroad? Go!
Even the most adventurous students can feel nervous about studying abroad. Maybe you finally found the best secret study spot on campus and you’ve got a great group of friends — who wants to leave all that behind? Here’s a tip: it will be there when you get back. Take a deep breath, let go of your FOMO, and check out your school’s study abroad programs. For every excuse you have to stay, there are ten reasons why study abroad is a great idea.
1. Because now is the perfect time
You want to study abroad while you are young and energetic, fit for adventure! “I can go in a few years,” you’ll say, “maybe after I graduate.” Sure, Jan. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’ll have all this extra freedom once you’re out of school. The same pressures that are keeping you home now will still loom over you after you graduate — what if you decide you want to go to grad school, or you find a great job? It’s best to take this opportunity to see the world before you get tied down. There are plenty of study abroad programs just waiting for you to sign up, so start planning asap!
2. Because you’ll make awesome new friends
Do you remember the excitement you felt starting school, when no one knew each other? Well, everyone studying abroad is starting from scratch all over again (but this time with the comforting knowledge that your school friends are still waiting for you back home).
Finding common interests with someone who grew up across the world from you is wild, and it doesn’t end there. Depending on your program, you could find yourself eating dumplings with new friends from Brazil and Italy. Think of this process as preemptive international networking—the possibilities are endless!
3. Because you’ll gain new perspectives
More than ever before, we live in a globalized society, so it’s important to develop an inclusive worldview. Whether you’re studying science or literature or politics, being able to think from a multi-national perspective will help you face modern challenges and come up with creative solutions. As you learn to view the world through different lenses, you’ll also learn new things about your own country and culture.
4. Because you’re not visiting, you’re living
For several months, you’ll be living among locals, riding public transit, eating the national cuisines. The foreign becomes familiar and sooner or later, you’ve found yourself a second home.
Anyone can vacation in Madrid, but far fewer people get the opportunity to live there, and for good reason. Moving to another country is a lot of work. You need to find a job and a place to live, figure out your bills and complete pages on pages of paperwork before you even set foot on foreign soil. Yikes on bikes! With study abroad, you get to reap all the benefits of living in another country (including superficial bragging rights), via pre-designed programs based in a familiar academic structure. Figuring out how to study abroad is easy — the toughest part is choosing what to pack and what to leave behind.
5. Because you could learn a new language
Maybe your classes are taught in English, maybe not. Either way, you’re sure to pick up some of the native languages. In fact, studies have shown that immersion is the #1 way to learn a new language. Even if you eventually forget most of the Arabic you picked up in Tunisia, this experience will make you more compassionate to English as a second language speakers back home. Of course, being bilingual is also a marketable skill…
6. Because a semester abroad looks great on a resume
Studying abroad says a lot about you on your resume. Not only does it highlight an interest in other cultures, and perhaps a second language, but also your ability to adapt to a new environment.
Studying abroad shows courage and an openness to different ideas. Some programs even offer internships, which means you could show employers how you succeeded in a professional environment abroad. Even by taking classes in another country, you’re promising to bring new perspectives to the company or workplace. The same holds true for graduate school applications as well.
7. Because you get to be totally independent
You’re in a new country, with only a suitcase and backpack. The cell service is spotty at best, and no one knows who you are. The program staff are around to help you, but you’re more or less on your own. Feel that? It’s independence. Embrace that freedom, because your study abroad experience is up to you to write, and you’ll learn so much about yourself along the way.
8. Because you might really love the country
9. Because you get to experience a different education system
Each country has its own approach to education. This means that, depending on your program, the classes you take abroad could be way different than what you’re used to. Do a little research on education in your host country so you’re not caught off guard, but make sure to embrace the differences once you’re there and take advantage of this University’s particular strengths or resources during your stay
10. Because it’ll be unforgettable
Study abroad will give you enough stories to last a lifetime. Make sure to save some mementos, like train tickets and photographs, and keep a record of your adventures, because you might not realize how incredible your semester was until you’re home.