Many of us dream of studying abroad in a different country, just like many students across the globe dream about studying in America.
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience that not many have the opportunity to do during their college years for various reasons.
If you find yourself presented with the chance to study abroad, yet are on the fence about whether or not an exchange program is right for you, here are ten reasons to convince you to go:
1. Combine travel and education
Many of us can only dream of traveling whilst earning college credit. If presented with the opportunity, then why not? Many programs, depending on where you go, allow you to tour other countries located nearby. For example, if you study abroad in England, you can also visit France, Italy, and Germany etc. Instead of waiting until you graduate to travel, travel whilst you are studying.
2. A more competitive resume
According to Global Penn State University, students who studied abroad during their college career find themselves earning post-graduate salaries that are 25% higher than those who did not study abroad. In a generation that is motivated financially, whilst studying abroad is an expensive experience, it pays off in the long-term through your experience and competitiveness down the line.
3. You have the world in the palm of your hands right now
Before we all end up in the adult world, with an influx of responsibility from the time we graduate, studying abroad whilst we have a smaller amount of responsibility, why wouldn’t you want to study in another country for a semester? You only live once, and you will only be young once, go for the experience before you end up regretting it down the line.
4. Break down language barriers
Develop that high school level of Spanish that you learned and live in a Spanish speaking country for a few months. Not only will this make you appreciate those who are bilingual and switch between English and Spanish multiple times a day, but this will also make your resume stand out more amongst other competitors. If you are worried about language barriers, download an app, like Duolingo, to help you feel more at ease.
5. Wider appreciation of culture
The exposure you have to other cultures and how others from around the globe live their daily lives will surprise you when you study abroad, however, you will grow to appreciate it and understand it on a greater level than just reading about it in a travel guide. “Once you understand and appreciate other people’s cultural backgrounds, then you can also connect with them more.” – Belle Wei, Chico State
6. Make a vacation your home for a while
Whilst many of us travel for vacation or for work, getting to live in a vacation destination, as well as earning college credit, is a dream for many college students that you will meet. Being able to call your dream travel destination home for a period of time will make the experience all that more special and surreal.
7. Personal development
When you remove yourself from your everyday life and setting, you test yourself in everything that you do. Living and studying abroad will emphasize how you present yourself to the world and provide you with a platform to grow upon.
8. Experience a different education system
Education systems vary across the globe in teaching methods, school structures, and course availability. Being able to adapt to a new method of teaching, as well as language, is not only an impressive skill to employers, but it also shows your willingness to grow and develop with every experience that you have. The Oxford Royale article “10 Ways Schools Differ Around the World” highlights some of the surprising differences that you may notice when you study abroad.
The people you meet and form friendships with on exchange programs can end up being life-long friends. They will see you in a different light from the people you are around every day at home and will your friendships will be based on your authentic self in a new environment. Many of those who study abroad remain in good contact with others they met during their experience for years to come – an excellent networking opportunity!
10. Overall experience
Aside from the personal development, the connections and the educational credit you gain from studying abroad, there will always be a conversation to have about your trip, always a talking point to be had and also a further insight you can give about the different cultures you have been fortunate enough to experience.
Whilst the financial aspect of studying abroad may have you on the fence about whether or not it is right for you, those who have studied and experienced different education systems can vouch for the fact that every penny is worth each of the ten points listed above. NYTimes Authors Allan E. Goodman and Stacie Nevadomski highlighted why it is becoming essential that American students study abroad during their college years here.
If you have the chance to study out of the country, make sure you look at the timing of it. Many college students may be in such a position that they can leave home for a semester to have this experience, if you are fortunate enough to do so, weigh your options and go for it.