Studying abroad has some great benefits for students such as the opportunity to explore the world and become more cultured, or even just get a break from school. There are many other reasons to consider studying abroad, including:
1. New experiences
Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be exposed to new cultures and ways of living. The world is full of unique traditions, languages, foods, customs, activities, people, landscapes, etc that are not available in your home country.
For this reason, studying abroad can create some great memories and new experiences. I personally have traveled throughout Europe and Australia on a few occasions while studying abroad and found it incredible to explore new places or meet locals who could give me more insight on their country’s history or culture.
2. Gain practical Knowledge
Studying abroad provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain work experience as well as improve their foreign language skills through immersion in the local marketplace.
In some international programs, you will be required to take part in a work placement in order to complete your degree or earn some money while living abroad. You can even choose programs that provide paid internships and courses where you will learn how to succeed in the workplace, such as professional internship opportunities at companies such as Google and General Electric.
Another option is starting your own business through an international program such as the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program offered by Georgetown University or The Founder Institute which provides students with the necessary tools and relationships they need to launch their own start-up company.
3. Break out of your comfort zone
Studying abroad provides students with the opportunity to experience living independently outside of their home country for an extended period of time. This sense of independence can help students break out of their comfort zone and build amazing experiences that they may never have had before.
I know a few people who were a little shy or guarded back home, but after studying abroad they came out of their shells and became much more open to new experiences – living independently really changes your perspective on how you should be treated as a person, so this can help improve your personal development.
4. Intensive language courses for free!
Studying abroad allows students to immerse themselves in foreign languages which is great for those looking to gain fluency quickly as well as those looking to prepare for future careers where the ability to speak another language is an asset.
It’s also a fantastic way to meet people from all over the world since every country speaks a different language. The best part about studying abroad is that many universities offer free or discounted intensive language courses to international students, especially if they are taking classes within their own school (i.e. French Language and Culture offered by the University of Alabama).
5. Personal growth through challenges
Going outside your comfort zone not only provides you with amazing memories, but it can also help improve personal development through overcoming various challenges such as learning new concepts in a foreign language, adjusting to new surroundings, etc.
Overcoming these challenges will most likely change you which can be viewed as either positive or negative depending on how you handle the situation – personally, I view it positively since I believe our main goals should be challenging ourselves so we can grow as people.
6. Gain a competitive advantage in the workplace
The number of companies that require fluency in other languages is increasing year after year. Many international job opportunities require fluency in English and a second language because it allows you to communicate your message to a much wider audience.
If you want to study abroad, but are concerned about how this will affect your future career then there are plenty of ways to gain experience or even pursue internships that can help improve your employability – asking for an internship at the school itself is always another option if they have on-campus resources for students looking for paid work.
7. Travel (and explore the world)
Studying abroad gives you the opportunity of traveling around the world while studying at some amazing universities which may not be possible if you only study in your home country.
This is especially true for international students since they can travel around their host country without any problems (hotels, food, flights) and also get the opportunity to attend various conferences or events that would not likely be available if they were staying in their home country.
8. Experience something new
One of the most common things I hear about studying abroad through recruitment websites is how it provides students with an amazing chance to experience new cultures and ways of life which will result in a much more interesting and diverse personal development than staying at school for an extra semester.
9. Gain skills not taught at university
Some universities may not offer certain courses you’re interested in because they’re purely elective courses not required for graduation.
One of the best ways to gain these skills if you’re in this situation is to study abroad since many schools offer different courses similar to what would be required at your university back home, but also provides you with a great chance of seeing new places and meeting people from all over the world.
10. Great way to meet people
Studying abroad is one of the best ways to make friends from around the world since it allows you to connect with individuals from different countries who have unique stories and perspectives about their culture which will help provide a more clear understanding of other cultures while also giving you a chance at learning a second language. If you want some advice on how to make friends while studying overseas, read my article about it here.
11. Save money by living with a local family
If you don’t want to stay in student accommodation or pay for an apartment, then staying with a host family can be another great option that allows you to gain the full experience of studying abroad since many families are eager to meet new people from around the world and will provide you with free food and housing (some may require payment but it’s usually very affordable).
You can check out some websites like Homestay which provides listings of international students looking for host families all over the world.
12. Experience local life
One of my favorite memories while studying abroad is how I got to experience local life without having to worry about transportation costs even feeling excluded because I didn’t fully understand what the locals were talking about.
In addition, I got to see how people in certain countries do things differently than others and it made me realize that there is not one specific way of being a “good person” or “doing something right.”
13. Gain more independence
Studying abroad provides you with the chance to gain a level of independence that most university students might not have by living on their own in a foreign city without having to worry about strict dorm rules or parents always wondering where you are going/who you’re with. Not only that, but many schools offer free or cheap activities for international students which opens up lots of new opportunities depending on your interests (camping, music festivals, hiking).
14. Enjoy traveling
Studying abroad means that you are taking a step towards your dream of visiting new cities, countries, and continents that may or may not be possible if you merely stay at school for an extra semester. You can also take advantage of your time in these places to visit the many historical sites around the world so you don’t have to worry about traveling long distances when you return home.
15. Discover hidden talents
One of the best ways to discover hidden talents is by studying abroad since it allows students to try something they’ve never done before without having their friends or family judge them into thinking it’s another “one of their phases.” I think that pretty much sums up all three months I spent studying in China but there were definitely more perks than I expected which made the experience all the better.
16. Gain real-world experience
Studying abroad provides you with a great opportunity for gaining real-world experience by studying your major in an international setting which allows you to have to adapt in order to survive in another culture even if it means struggling through language barriers or trying out new foods that may not sound appealing at first but are ultimately delicious.
I hope this article helped convince you to study abroad! Feel free to leave any other tips in the comments below!