Studying abroad can be one of the most formative and rewarding experiences of your life. It represents a valuable investment in your future career, as well as being a great way to make new friends, see the world, and build your confidence.
See below for our top reasons why studying abroad is not to be missed.
Learn a new language
Regardless of the industry you plan to work in after graduation – business, healthcare, law, or education – knowing a second language is a crucial way to have a leg up on the competition. We live in an increasingly globalized economy, and being able to communicate or do business with people from a different country will help you advance quickly in your career.
The best way to learn a language? Going abroad and being fully immersed! An immersive experience will help to establish the fundamental elements of a foreign language (if you’re a beginner). Or it can give you the tools you need to converse fluently (if you’re more advanced).
Check out some of our favorite Spanish immersion programs for inspiration!
Experience a different culture
Gaining intercultural competency is another skill that has become increasingly important in today’s interconnected global space. Being able to interact and relate to people from a different culture or country is a skill that employers look for in potential candidates as well.
The best way to gain intercultural experience? If you don’t happen to live in a multicultural environment like New York City or Los Angeles, study abroad will give you this exposure. You’ll see and live firsthand a culture outside of your own. Additional exposure to the culture through staying with a host family, enrolling in courses at a local university, and taking part in local cultural activities and events will also aid in this immersive experience.
Personal development & confidence
Confidence is not something that can be built overnight and is hard to cultivate on our own. But by being thrown into a foreign environment (like studying abroad), we learn that we have to adapt to a new language, customs, transportation, and cuisine. Being challenged and struggling to overcome challenges brings with it a set of benefits in and of itself.
Perseverance through uncomfortable or painful situations is a great way to build confidence. Once you get through navigating a foreign language or culture while abroad, you will feel more comfortable in your abilities back home and face challenges with a new perspective.
Post-graduate & career opportunities
Study abroad can be beneficial for your career as well. It has been shown that employers increasingly value graduates with international experience. There are skills that you develop from study abroad that can help you directly in the workplace.
These include leadership and communication skills, in addition to problem-solving and self-sufficiency, which are valuable to any future job.
Friendships to last a lifetime
Not only is studying abroad beneficial to your professional and personal development, but you’ll also make friendships to last well beyond your time abroad. As a student in an international setting, you’ll have the chance to meet other international students on your program as well as locals. These opportunities could be through class, cultural activities, or through your program.
Expect to bond instantly with fellow peers who are likely to be adventurous and curious about other cultures – just like you! The experience is what brings people together, and you’ll make bonds to last a lifetime.
Finding new interests & hobbies
Have you ever wanted to try something new but lacked the inspiration? Studying abroad will continually expose you to new traditions, customs, and activities.
Every day will be an opportunity to experience something new, from learning how to dance salsa or bachata to paddleboarding on the Mediterranean or exploring cathedrals or palaces from centuries past. You may even learn how to cook paella or tortilla de patata. The possibilities for exploration of new interests and hobbies are endless.
Aside from the novelty of your new city, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the rest of the country or continent too.
Europe is one of the most popular study abroad destinations. It’s no surprise that students take advantage of budget airlines and the proximity to other countries to travel at weekends and during breaks. Can you imagine a weekend in Paris or spending spring break in Patagonia? It’s not out of reach when you’re studying abroad!
With all these great benefits from international travel and friendships to professional skills and personal development, now is the time to start planning your study abroad dreams!