Why study abroad?
You make be thinking, “I’m just trying to finish college in 4 years. Money is tight, and studying abroad seems like a luxury I can’t afford. Besides, FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, I don’t want to miss out on anything happening on campus and I don’t want to leave my family and friends to go study abroad.”
Many study abroad alumni have had those same thoughts. But speak to any alum, and they’ll give you a long list of ways that going abroad benefitted them, and they’ll keep going! Students who have gone abroad recognize that study abroad doesn’t have to be a luxury, but rather consider global experiences a once in a lifetime opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
Besides being fun and exciting, study abroad is a unique life changing experience that will help you grow. Below are just a few of the various ways going abroad benefits you academically, professionally, and personally.
1. Academic Benefits
Whether you choose to learn Italian in Italy, take university classes in Argentina, or work with a start up in South Africa in a developing country, study abroad and other global programs will have many academic benefits. Attended classes in another country offers unique learning and cross-cultural opportunities that are not necessarily available at your school or in your local community. By venturing abroad, you will:
Going abroad places you in a unique environment where you are learning and experiencing culture all day, every day. And while the content you will learn in courses abroad may also be taken at your home institution, the additional benefits you gain by being immersed in a different country give you countless advantages to learning.
If you’re a high school student exploring the possibilities of studying abroad before college, or perhaps even taking a gap year, here are some advantages that you will gain:
2. Career Benefits
What does studying abroad have to do with your future career? A lot more than you probably think. Landing your first full-time job is more difficult than ever.
With that in mind it’s now more important than ever to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. One way to stand out as a job candidate is to study and/or intern abroad. This experience can make an impressive addition to your resume, give you a competitive edge, and set you apart from other job applicants. During an interview, your international experience may even be the first thing a recruiter asks you about!
Study abroad is a high-impact activity, which means you learn and grow more rapidly, and with more depth, than you would in your usual setting. Students return from studying abroad with long lists of skills they gained and perspectives they never knew they were missing - even after being away for just a few weeks! This impact makes study abroad the strongest investment you can make in your future. Some of the most common tangible outcomes that result from a study abroad experience include:
Study abroad is unique in its ability to expose you to all of this in such a short period of time. No matter what you plan to do with your life after graduation, study abroad will propel you in the right direction.
Whether you are a graduating student or a student looking to intern, the current job market is extremely competitive. You are not only competing for jobs with students from your university, local area, or even your country; you are competing with students from across the world. A study abroad experience on your resume will distinguish you from your peers.
For more information on the many career benefits of going abroad, check out our career center for more information.
3. Personal Benefits
For many students, going abroad is a life-changing experience. Students come back from study abroad more independent, confident and eager to take on any challenge, academic, professional or personal. There are many personal benefits to study abroad. Some of these benefits include:
How and why does study abroad have the ability to challenge you in this way? Consider how being in a new location means that even the simplest tasks - such as going to buy groceries - requires the ability to communicate, travel and purchase items in an entirely different setting. After spending just a few weeks in a different country:
Studying abroad is full of amazing experiences, from learning a new culture and language, to making new friends from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds. In the end you, like most students, will return with a new sense of independence and more confidence. That will equip you to face challenges presented by the real world during college and in your professional career or during grad school.
Want to learn more? Check out some of our articles here:
“I wanted to study Arabic in order to connect with my family, history, religion, and culture. I previously lived and worked in an Arabic-speaking country and wanted to learn Arabic more formally in order to maintain personal and professional...”
American Councils for International Education