Many students are unsure about going abroad at first. But after they return home they describe their trip as a life-changing experience and they want to go again.
By studying abroad you show initiative and eagerness to achieve personal and academically challenging experiences. There are a number of other benefits to studying abroad; however, there are also numerous challenges. Consider the pros and cons, and decide if studying abroad may be right for
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Why Should I Study Abroad?
1. Experience a Foreign Culture
Visiting foreign-land in person is an entirely different experience. When you study abroad, you participate in the day-to-day life of a new locale, gaining a first-hand understanding and new appreciation of the culture.
2. Improve Your Second Language Skills
You may already be fluent in a second language, or you might study abroad in one of the many countries where English is spoken as a first language. However, studying abroad can provide you with a perfect opportunity to learn a new foreign language.
Being surrounded by native speakers affords you the chance to immerse yourself in the language, which can expedite your retention and fluency. Furthermore, if you travel to a country in which the primary language is one you’ve studied in school, you can add to your vocabulary colloquial words and phrases that may not appear in the textbooks.
3. Learn How to Communicate Across Cultures
In today’s increasingly global society, it’s important to possess the skills to communicate across cultures – and this means understanding more than just
a different language. Studying abroad helps you become familiar with the customs and traditions of the country in which you are studying, in addition to the language. By interacting with locals, you can develop an appreciation for the culture and its differences from your own.
4. Become More Independent
Studying abroad removes you from the normal support network that you are accustomed to back home. While on the one hand, being away from friends
and family can seem daunting, it is also a chance for you to hone your own skills and gain some independence.
Whether it’s washing your laundry or buying groceries, you will learn to take responsibility for your actions. When you return home, your increased
independence will be very useful – it can help you in your job search, at home, or in your day-to-day routines.
One major aspect of being an independent adult is having the ability to manage your own finances. Regardless of whether your study abroad program is financed by a scholarship, or another source of income, chances are that it will be your responsibility to pay the bills.
Furthermore, living in a new country also forces you to learn to understand a new form of currency, and familiarize yourself with the various living expenses. Understanding how to manage your expenses will especially be beneficial when you no longer rely on the support of your family.
6. Increase Your Employment Prospects
Employers value prospective candidates with international experience, foreign language skills, and the ability to communicate across cultures. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in international relations, diplomacy, or government, these skills will be especially useful.
Use your experience studying abroad to expand your set of abilities, and make these a determining factor that will separate you from the others in a pool of applicants.
7. Form New and Rewarding Relationships
Without your regular support group of friends and family, you will be confronted with new situations on a daily basis. However, studying abroad offers you the chance to meet new people and form friendships that may last a lifetime.
Whether you’re living with a host family or in a student residence, make an effort to form relationships with those around you. Not only will you have someone around to console you when you are feeling homesick, but you will also get to know people that you can have fun with. Recreation is an important part of the studying abroad experience, and you will likely enjoy sharing your experiences much more than spending your time alone.
8. Network for Your Future
In addition to making friends, you can also form professional contacts while abroad. Generally speaking, course loads tend to be comparatively lighter while studying abroad, so this can be an ideal occasion to intern, work part- time, or volunteer while you’re studying.
Consult your college or university to see whether they help you find internships or work placements abroad. Sometimes, you can even get credit from your home institution. When you’re finished working abroad, be sure to ask for a recommendation letter to testify that you worked abroad, and to