Besides fulfilling requirements for your major, studying abroad is beneficial in SO many more ways…especially for the reasons below:
Becoming a Global Citizen and Seeing the World
What does global citizen mean, you ask? Well being a global citizen means that you are breaking away from the borders of your country and exploring, learning about and giving back to communities around the world. In simple terms, it means to be a citizen of the world! Studying or interning abroad will allow you to be one step closer to broadening your horizons and learning about the world in which you live in. Your overseas experience will give you the opportunity to have a better understanding of the differences and similarities the world is made up of and it will allow for you to have a new outlook on your own culture.
It’s so easy for us to live inside our own little bubble, town or community and forget about what’s going on in the world. Step outside of that bubble and globalize yourself, the world is waiting!
Self Discovery and Growth
What I found to be the most rewarding part of studying or living abroad is the insight you gain about yourself. You realize the fears you once had, are thrown out the window, because many times those fears are what you are confronting through your overseas adventure. Now, this isn’t a guarantee for everyone and it’s not a given that just because you study or live abroad you will return home a new and refined person. However, I find it inevitable that some change is bound to take place. Whether it is by meeting new people, learning a foreign language, getting lost in the city or challenging yourself to step outside of the box, however big or small, and whatever that change is, it will be credited to that overseas experience. And that my friend, is an amazing realization!
Exploring Different Cultures and History
How awesome would it be to learn about art history in Florence, Italy or study philosophy in Athens, Greece, or study Spanish in Barcelona, Spain? Super awesome, is the answer! One of the great benefits of studying abroad is being able to take cultural courses that relate to the country or city you are studying in and it is a great way to really get a firsthand look at the historical and cultural aspects that country was built upon.
Studying abroad allows you to take in all of that country’s history and culture and to truly immerse yourself into that society, even if it is for a short while. Hey, a short while is more than never, right?
Picking up or Improving a Foreign Language
Another great benefit of studying abroad is if you are inclined to learn, practice or improve a language! This is one of the most common reasons people choose to study abroad, and, well it is a GREAT reason to study abroad. What better way to learn a language than in the country of its origin? I find that the most influential way to learn a language is when you are surrounded by it, constantly hearing it, reading it and are forced to communicate in it. It can definitely be challenging and intimidating, but it is well worth it to say you spent a semester in Spain and came back almost close to fluent in Spanish!
Having a Competitive Edge
International education is on the rise and studying abroad is one way jazz up your resume. In this day and age having international experience, whether it’s studying or living aboard, makes you a competitive force in the work field. International experience is an attractive asset that many employers look for now a day. In addition, it is a great conversation starter to break the ice during a nerve-racking interview. Studying abroad lets potential employers know you are cultured, well-traveled and open to new experiences. It can also imply that you speak a foreign language which is also a plus when applying for jobs. Overall having study or internship abroad experience will automatically give you a competitive advantage when entering the professional world!
Make New Connections and Lifelong Friendships
By studying or living abroad you will not only walk away with the wonderful memories you made along the journey, but often times, you will walk away with lasting friendships with those who helped make those memories worth remembering. I recall when I studied overseas in Florence, Italy, I was expecting to only get to know those students in my program, but boy did I end up getting a better bargain. It just so happened that my neighbors were also on a program from New York, and they were THE most awesome foursome I had the pleasure of meeting! It would be hard to imagine if I had not met them because they were such a huge part of my study abroad experience. We all still remain friends and much of that is because the memories we created in Florence are unforgettable and therefore so are the friendships we made!
The point being is you are guaranteed to walk away making some great friendships with people in your program or other programs OR better yet, with locals! Take advantage of putting yourself out there and getting to know as many people as possible, because having international friends is awesome and can make for great connections in the future!
Well if I haven’t given you reason enough that studying aboard can benefit you in more ways than one, please feel free to share some of your thoughts or ideas on other ways your study abroad experience was beneficial to you! Buena
Buena suerte, chicos!