Study Abroad. A loose term used to the describe the not so new phenomenon of students “taking the leap”, “broadening their horizons” and moving to a new country, usually for a short period of time. Whether it be complimenting your Psych major with the beaches of Madrid or fine tuning your Language skills with the Parisian streets as your backdrop, studying abroad has brought students across the globe the experience of a lifetime. But despite the stereotype of international schooling being a cheeky excuse for an extended vacation with education as an afterthought, moving outside your country has the potential to quite literally change your life. Here are 5 five reasons why.
CULTURE CULTURE CULTURE
As generic and cheesy as it may sound studying abroad allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture that changes the way you view the world, but in the best way possible, I promise. This goes way beyond ordering Fish and Chips from authentic British Pubs, or getting to finally have Pizza from Italy. It’s learning and understanding people different from your comfort zone. From your daily interaction with the French man at the corner store to falling in love with a Brit, the connections you make abroad make you understand a culture far more than you ever could back home.
2. STAND OUT FROM YOUR PEERS
As we all know the job market is competitive. As the world is moving more and more into the age of the Creative (i.e valuing creativity, personality and life experiences over set qualifications and analytical thinking) studying abroad puts you ahead of other candidates instantly.
Okay I take back what I said. Part of studying abroad is a vacation. But in the sense that (especially in Europe) traveling is so convenient and cheap that you can easily take mini vacations during your time abroad and it won’t conflict with your studies (for example, I went to Toulouse, France for 15 hours and was back in time for my 10am class in London).
4. INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS
Unless you’re from a big city chances are your town/school didn’t have too many international faces. Outside of exchange programs much of America really is in it’s own bubble when it comes to International students. Moving and studying abroad automatically opens you to friendships with people from all different cultures and places. My second year flat consisted of 5 girls from Malaysia, Britain, India, Portugal and America…needless to say our potluck dinners were awesome.
5. WHY NOT?
To put it simply, we only have one life. Moving to a new country can seem scary, but the worst case scenario really is you don’t like and move back home. But the best case scenario? You see the world, you learn about cultures and people you never thought you’d meet, you make lifetime friends from all around the world, you change the way you see other people and your own country. You come back home more open-minded than you’ve ever cause you’ve seen the world in a way no textbook ever could. You studied abroad and although you may have gotten homesick, you would do it all over again.