You’re in university; you’re in the routine of classes, studying at the library and taking exams, maybe going out to some college parties or sports events and sleeping in late on the weekends. You’re making great friends and having a great time. But what about the day you get that study abroad brochure in the mail? Does it ever cross your mind to take the leap and take the opportunities to study in London, Italy or Japan for a semester or year? Before you put down that brochure without another thought, consider these 5 reasons to shake up your college years and study abroad:
Broaden your Experiences
So I know you’re having a blast at university, but think for a moment how your horizons could be expanded by spending a semester or year in a foreign country. You’ll see the things you only read in books back at home, and learn about foreign cultures firsthand. You’ll begin to understand the world in a completely different way than you ever did before.
Gain New Perspectives and Insights
When we’re immersed solely in one country, we tend to have a limited view of the world. It’s only natural; we’re bombarded by media and our own society imposing its views of the world. Getting away from your country helps you gain an entirely new perspective on the world. You’ll also make deep friendships with other travelers and gain insights you never might have otherwise.
Learn a Language
You can sit in a college classroom for 4 years trying to learn Spanish, or you can move to Madrid for a year and become fluent. The fact is, you must be immersed in a foreign language to learn it properly, so take this opportunity to broaden your skills. The bonus of this is that you’ll learn a language immersed in the culture as well. Where better to practice your newly-learned Spanish than at a local tapas restaurant in Madrid, or with a Spanish family?
Improve your Professional Potential
Gone are the days where one stable job is what looks best on a resume. Employers love people who have international experience and can bring something new to the table. If you’ve studied abroad, you might have some different skills that would put you above someone who stayed in the country for their full years of study. Spending time abroad means you know how to relate with all different kinds of people, be flexible in different situations and you know how to take a risk: all things employers value.
Become a lifelong learner (and traveler)
Traveling helps you see that education does not stop outside the classroom. In fact, some of the most educating years of my life have been those I’ve spent abroad. I’m not saying that you won’t learn valuable material in class, but if you can travel mindfully and take in all of your experiences, you will life your life always learning and growing. So studying abroad does come with a warning: you must be prepared to never see the world, or yourself, the same way again. And you may just find that traveling is something you can’t get enough of!