It’s tempting to write off studying abroad as nothing more than an expensive, superfluous option that comes along with the college experience. But the truth is that there are actually quite a few major benefits to a semester or two spent overseas. From polishing your resume to some invaluable character development and a truly “big picture” view of life, here are a few of the different reasons you should seriously be considering packing up your textbooks and taking your studies to an international level.
Why Studying Abroad Is a Good Idea
Here are 5 of the top reasons you should consider studying abroad. Some are excellent for your professional career while others are important parts of rounding out your character, personality, maturity, and life experiences.
It Looks Good on Your Resume
While you’re in college, it’s hard not to filter everything through the thought process of how you can utilize each opportunity in order to help with your future career. After all, you’re likely investing years of time and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into an education that is meant to boost your chances of success, right?
If you’re wondering how taking your education on the road will help with those goals, it’s a reasonable question. Fortunately, it turns out that studying abroad has a handful of useful benefits for your future career. For one thing, it allows you to both see and interact with the global workforce. This can be extremely helpful in the future when leading internationally diverse teams within the workplace. It also provides opportunities to network with foreign businessmen and women and looks very good on your resume.
It Steeps You in Another Culture
You may have ambitions to travel the world once you’re graduated and successfully holding down a job. But the truth is, even a month-long trip that bounces from one place to the next isn’t quite the same experience as spending a significant amount of time studying in a single foreign location. There’s something special about being truly immersed in another culture for an extended period of time. The opportunity to see the world through a different cultural lens is an invaluable part of the experience that is difficult to recreate under other circumstances.
It Helps Foster a Truly Big-Picture Mindset
It’s hard to overstate the incredible impact that comes with learning another language, seeing interesting new places, and all of the unique experiences that come with studying abroad. It can help you appreciate the quirks, comforts, and conveniences of your own home as well as see the good in how others choose to live their lives. It also has the natural side-effect of helping gain a more global, big-picture mindset. It creates a sense of awe and an appreciation for the beauty that comes with simply being human and living, breathing, and co-existing with billions of others around the world.
It Allows for Deep Introspection
There’s something magical about time spent abroad. It allows you to fully disconnect from the daily routines of normal life and forces you out of your comfort zone. While this may be uncomfortable at first, ultimately it allows you to take a deep dive into who you are, what makes you tick, where your interests really lie, and what you’re truly passionate about. This can help you gain a sense of balance and fulfillment that can be hard to find in a comfortable, familiar atmosphere.
You Never Have to be “Too Far” From Home
With the plethora of technological gadgets and applications available these days, it’s never been easier to study abroad and still remain connected to your life back home — both personally and academically. Things like smart technology ensure that everything remains fairly current within the classroom, whether you’re in the U.S., Switzerland, or South Africa. In addition, smartphones and the numerous apps available allow students to video chat, phone call, and message their friends and family while away, usually at little to no cost.
Tips for Studying Abroad
If you do decide that studying abroad is the route you want to take, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind in order to make sure your trip is as successful as possible.
Stretch That Cash
Just because you’re borrowing large amounts of money for those college expenses hardly means you should justify living recklessly while you’re traveling. Make sure to research ways to keep your costs down, including things like:
- Look for alternative lodging and transportation options: Airbnb and hostels are excellent ways to save money, as are bikes, ridesharing, and public transportation.
- Plan your airfare carefully: Utilize airline points when you can and try to avoid holidays and weekends when you book plane tickets.
- Check with your bank: Ask to see if there’s a credit or debit card option that avoids international fees.
- Look for discounts: Things like tourism passes or student discounts can save you money in more places than you think.
Always Plan Ahead
Along with looking for ways to trim your budget, make sure to take some time to prepare yourself for the immersive experience you’re about to have. Study the local culture, try to learn at least basic communication phrases (Hint: equip yourself with a translation app!) and always look for dangers and concerns you should be aware of.
For instance, if you’re traveling to South Korea, it’s worth knowing that driving can be dangerous, scams are aplenty, and the demilitarized zone to the north isn’t a subject worth bringing up. Similar warnings and concerns can be found for nearly every destination in the world if you put a little time into researching beforehand.
The Experience of a Lifetime
From cultural immersion to business benefits and beyond, there are so many different reasons to consider studying abroad. The chance to round out your personality, discover your deeper passions, and gain a greater respect for the world around you is priceless. No matter where the destination, if an opportunity to study abroad comes up, it’s always worth seriously considering.
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