Studying abroad, whether you are doing it in high school or during college, is a chance of a lifetime. However, the opportunity is rarely easy, and it can often be a bit scary. But once you have overcome the initial (and eventual) issues that you have with living abroad, the end result is usually you being an all-around better person.
The experience does not change your personality. You are who you are, and you likely always will be. What changes is how you see the world around you and how you understand the events that take place in your life. Whether you put yourself into one other culture or several, you have no choice but to absorb some worldly knowledge while out of your comfort zone. That worldly knowledge stays with you and helps you cope with and triumph over all the interesting curve balls life has in store for you for the years to come.
Programs Studied Overseas
Language degrees, such as Spanish or Arabic, are very common programs that encourage students to go to the source of the knowledge they are trying to attain. But language is only the beginning.
Students going for political science degrees, as well as those for international relations, often go abroad for at least a year of study. And those looking to position themselves as global players, no matter what degree programs they are in, also take advantage of the opportunities afforded by studying abroad.
Programs, like international studies, put students right into the frying pan, so to speak, when it comes to immersion. You should see the idea of putting yourself out there to experience the world and everything that it has to offer as one of the biggest and most important decisions that you can make in your life, and one of the biggest favors that you can do for yourself.
There are so many benefits to studying abroad that it is difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to making a list of reasons why you should involve yourself. Among the reasons that we consider benefits are linked to future employment, personal growth, and character development, as well as broadening your perspectives and world view. All of which are great for helping you reach a much more fulfilling life.
Delving into a new culture where you get to learn the language as it is used by native speakers, gaining a deeper understanding of the religious views and values of the people in the host culture, and understanding the aspects of life that are important for them can all lead to more awareness of how you fit into your own culture back at home. The realizations that come out of the experience of studying abroad are often incredibly powerful and can provide you with a big advantage when you go back home.
Learning about yourself and what’s important to you is hugely important. Aligning your priorities before leaving college can mean a completely different career path for you, which can be the difference in your overall level of job satisfaction and happiness once you begin working. You find out that you have some interests that you were not aware of and feel that you should spend some time exploring the new sides of yourself. This kind of exploration can lead people into much different directions, and the shifts that are taken are often for the better.
The workplace tends to open its doors a bit more widely to those who have gained more life experience. When you can discuss issues that are related to the job that you are trying to get on a broader level than someone who has not gained the same perspectives as you have, you will almost always have an edge.
It is clear that we are advocates for traveling and studying abroad. We have done our fair share and we know, first hand, why it is a good choice for almost everyone. To be fair, however, there are a few potential drawbacks that can lead to a negative experience for some people. If you feel like any of these issues could prove to be detrimental to you, then it may be a good idea to review your plans one more time before buying your plane ticket.
One of the biggest problems many students face is the cost. When you are living in a foreign country, everything that must be purchased while you are away must be done by you, or whoever is helping pay your way. You will need to pay for International tuition, room & board, food, entertainment, books, clothes…the list goes on and on, and can get quite expensive.
Another issue some people face is the potential for loneliness. Not only are you there without the support network that a family and group of friends would normally provide, but your limited language abilities also put you on the outside of many circles. Unless you are strong enough to find comfort in your own company and relish in the experience of making connections with a bit of concerted effort, this aspect of studying abroad can prove to be a bit difficult.
Adapting to a new culture can also be a little tricky for some people. Some countries that are popular may not be very different from your home country or culture, but others may be so different that you end up feeling like you stick out like a sore thumb everywhere you go. The culture shock factor is exactly why some people love to travel, but for some it isn’t fun.
Should You Study Abroad?
For most people who fancy a bit of adventure and feel that they are ready to handle a rewarding but sometimes challenging life experience, the answer would be, “Yes.”
Studying abroad has far more benefits than drawbacks, and what you get from the experience is far more than what you put into it. Ready to step outside of your comfort zone and experience a new way of life, while learning at the same time?