Many stages of our lives are predictable. We start in primary school, move up to secondary, and then university, for many of us, will complete our education. Once we have our degrees, we start our careers, which is overall a progression of expertise and responsibilities. But studying abroad breaks the pattern. Although it will be counted as part of your education, and is often offered as a semester abroad during your higher education, studying abroad is like a momentary step out of your expected life path.
1. Once in a lifetime opportunity.
The reason a term or year abroad is so incredible is because you will be lifted and placed into a whole other world. Not only that, but all of your daily necessities, i.e. accommodation, food, university classes etc., will be organized for you. If you have not moved abroad on your own yet, it’s difficult to realize how many little things need to be set up and take some getting used to. For example, you’ll have to have a local phone, figure out where the supermarkets are, as well as figure out the public transportation, and get an overall understanding of the layout of your new city. This can feel overwhelming, but because you will be welcomed by a study abroad team, whose job is to make sure your transition is as seamless as possible, your move will be easy and secure. This will allow you to save your energy to explore and discover a whole new world, miles away from your comfort zone. This opportunity will only arise once, maybe twice in your life, so try not to miss it!
2. Expand your education in incomparable ways.
This incredible and exciting opportunity will also enrich your understanding of the world in profound ways. When you are in a new land, where the national language is not your native tongue, you’ll discover how wonderfully liberating, daunting, and eye-opening living abroad can be. You’ll notice little idiosyncrasies that to you may seem bizarre, but to the people around you are really quite normal, and even expected. These are difficult to pick up, and really understand, unless you spend a decent amount of time there, usually amounting to at least 5-6 months. You’ll also learn about cultures and societies in ways that cannot be taught in a classroom. In essence, you’ll be learning through your five senses, exposing yourself to newness on many levels. You truly will come back home enriched in countless ways. Ways that are difficult to explain unless you have experienced living abroad.
3. The best way to really learn a foreign language is living where it is spoken.
Leaning a foreign language takes time and dedication. But even if you have taken 4 or 5 years of Spanish or German, you may actually not be at a level that you would expect. That’s because classroom learning has its limits, especially when languages are involved. The optimal way to truly become fluent in another language is to be fully immersed in it. Living in a land where your foreign language is spoken will not only enhance your overall level, but will teach you many of the nuances, idioms, and specific tones that are used in everyday, native interactions. The subtlety of a language is really only truly experienced in the land where it is spoken.
4. Enhance your CV
As our world becomes increasingly globalised, many companies now look for candidates with international experience. From either knowing multiple foreign languages, to having experience living abroad, the expectation is to make sure a company has a global outlook, as well as diverse and worldly employees. Studying abroad will “help you stand out from the crowd, seeing how, in an increasingly globalised society, any kind of international experience will help you immensely” argues the blog 7 Decisive Reasons to Study Abroad – Why You Won’t Regret It. In addition to this, if you love your host country you might decide to look for work there. “If you can relate, you will find that a local education will be very valuable when searching for a potential job in that country” highlights International Student in their article 10 Benefits to Studying Abroad.
5. Overall profound personal and psychological development.
Last but not least, this experience will be invaluable. You will not regret it. I have taken the opportunity to study abroad during my gap year (in Italy, and then Australia), as well as a term in Argentina during my undergraduate degree. You wouldn’t believe how many other students told me they were interested in studying abroad but still undecided. Once we all got back to campus after studying abroad, I caught up with many of the students who had been ambivalent. Without fail, those who had decided to stay on campus regretted it and felt they had missed out. And those who had decided to go loved every minute of it. Even if they had faced some challenges, they knew it was a worthwhile experience. Because no matter what happens, you will learn more about the world and yourself in 6 months abroad then you will during your entire bachelor’s degree. It’s an incredible, thrilling, liberating, fascinating experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. So what are you waiting for? Start looking into your options and prepare to have one of the most memorable experiences of your life!
If these 5 reasons weren’t enough to convince you, then here’s another 25 from QS World University Rankings. I have also added a QS’ How to Study Abroad: Frequently Asked Questions, which will give you specific information you need to know, such as the list of the most affordable cities for students, how to get started, when to start applying and visa application facts and figures.
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