Why You Should Study Abroad: Tips For Getting The Most Out Of It
Perhaps one of the first things you’ll notice when you leave the country for the first time is how little many Americans travel compared to people from other countries.
While it’s true that one of the reasons is because the United States is such a big, diverse place on its own, it does mean that many of the citizens living within its borders have little experience of the rest of the world beyond those borders.
When you study abroad, you gain a perspective that can be valuable for the rest of your life.
Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity for personal growth. It truly pushes you out of your comfort zone, and you have the chance to see who you are when you’re out of your familiar environment. You’ll also see a very different way of living, even if you’re in a culture that you consider very similar to your own. A semester or more of studying abroad builds resilience and independence and can change you for the better in profound ways.
Studying abroad broadens your career opportunities. This is especially true if you’re hoping to work internationally, where intercultural experience is often a prerequisite, but it can be a plus in other job searches as well. Employers will see you as someone who is self-sufficient, open-minded, and adaptable. You’ll improve your problem-solving skills. If you are in a place where English is not the first language, you may develop language skills that can be beneficial in many different careers as well.
If you are worried about the cost of studying abroad, you have a few options. First, your school may have an agreement with a foreign university that allows you to pay your regular tuition. Second, the cost of living in the foreign country may be lower than where you are presently. You have other alternatives as well. You can use student loans to cover tuition at a foreign university. You could also look to direct enrollment, and in some cases, the cost might still be comparable to your regular tuition. It’s not a bad idea to have a credit card for backup in case of emergencies when you’re far from home, but you want to choose the right one. You can review a student guide to credit cards to help you make that decision.
To get the most out of your study abroad experience, push yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable. This does not mean that you should put yourself in dangerous situations, but you should try new things. It can be especially tempting to spend all your time around people from your own country, particularly if you are struggling with language skills, but trying to build relationships with students from all over the world and with locals in your host country will provide you with a much richer, more meaningful experience. While you will probably experience culture shock, you should try to understand why things are done differently rather than rushing to judge those differences.