In today’s globalized world, many students are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study abroad. And each year, thousands take advantage of the unique opportunity to experience life outside of their home country.
The results are staggering, with U.K. and U.S. studies suggesting students who study abroad have a higher chance of landing jobs post-graduation, nearly twice as likely as their home-campus counterparts. What’s more, these jobs pay more and students feel more satisfied with their work because of their study abroad experience.
However, the professional benefits are just one aspect of a well-rounded study abroad experience. Studying abroad allows students to develop a sense of flexibility, resourcefulness, and acceptance that translates to long-term benefits across the course of one’s life. Ready to explore these benefits in more detail?
Navigate New People & Places
Travel is a big part of studying abroad. In some places, like Western Europe and Asia, the high density of famous cities and landmarks means study abroad students are constantly on the move, taking advantage of efficient public and private transportation systems to explore their corner of the world.
There’s no denying that travelling requires a certain degree of resourcefulness, especially in a country where the first language is not your own. Whether students are changing out SIM cards as they country-hop or have a cell phone plan for international students, technology takes on a whole new meaning. Your smartphone allows you to translate phrases in foreign languages or locate subway maps at the click of a button.
In addition to the thrill of the unknown, you’ll also face challenges while abroad. Overcoming these obstacles while managing a full university course load is no easy feat and one that’s likely to be highly desirable to prospective employers. Don’t shy away from detailing your study abroad experience during interviews or while constructing a highly persuasive resume of your achievements.
Immerse Yourself in Different Cultures
Study abroad goes far beyond the curriculum itself. Immersing yourself in different cultures is a key component of a study abroad experience. If it’s your first time out of the country, you may feel like you’ve landed on Mars walking the storied streets of Berlin, Germany, or Florence, Italy.
Study abroad programs offer students the opportunity to learn the local language, which allows you to connect with locals on a deeper level and gain a better cultural and historical understanding of your temporary home. Many programs also practice an immersive approach when it comes to learning about language and culture. Your study abroad curriculum is likely rounded out with visits to some of the area’s top museums and architectural feats, and perhaps even topped off with a coffee-shop chat amongst locals.
Living in a different culture can sometimes force you to swallow your pride or think about things from a new perspective. When you experience diverse cultures and ways of life, you’re more likely to practice acceptance in your day-to-day life, no matter who you interact with. Setting your judgments aside allows you to connect with people of all different ages, ethnicities, creeds, and backgrounds. In the process, study abroad can also help mould you into the person you’re becoming — a young citizen of the world, a skilled, self-assured individual who’s ready to take on life with gusto.
Develop Important Career Skills
The cultural wonders of study abroad alone are enough to keep you busy throughout your stay overseas. But we don’t want to focus solely on the cultural benefits of study abroad, lest we forget the educational and professional motivations behind the journey.
The study aspect of study abroad may seem the dullest component of the adventure, but there are ways to actually enjoy studying. By creating a cozy and distraction-free study space, you can get coursework done quickly and efficiently. Living in a foreign country also allows you to switch things up. Going to the park, a cafe, or a library can change up your study habits while allowing you to soak in the local living experience. A fellow learner or native speaker can hold you accountable and make practice fun when it comes to language learning.
Apart from developing good study habits, study abroad allows you to complete coursework toward your degree while you’re still developing as a professional. Internships can help integrate you into the local workforce in some cities, depending on your experience and language capabilities. Getting involved in the local community also means networking opportunities are ripe, allowing you the chance to connect with other students, professors, local professionals, and more.
No matter what your motivations are for considering study abroad, you’re sure to find a program that suits your interests and career goals. Whether you’re getting lost in Amsterdam or learning about business in China, the skills you learn while studying abroad will stick with you for a lifetime.