For those who have not traveled extensively, studying abroad may be an ideal opportunity to seek adventure with the support network of an established program. Students who wish to learn a foreign language – or develop existing foreign language skills – and immerse themselves in a new culture will also find it beneficial. Furthermore, students considering a career in international relations should definitely study abroad, as it can increase job prospects upon graduation.
Studying abroad offers a unique opportunity to grow academically, professionally, and personally while going on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. There are a number of other benefits to studying abroad and they are summarized below.
Ø Pursue an Activity You Wouldn’t at Home
Studying abroad is a chance for you to be adventurous, explore the unknown, and try your hand at activities that may not be offered in your home state. For example, if you’re studying abroad in Argentina, you can try numerous adventure sports, from zip-lining, to rafting, to mountain biking. If you enjoy heights, you can try paragliding. No matter what you choose, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Ø Improve Your Second Language Skills
You may already be fluent in a second language, or you might study abroad in one of the many countries where English is spoken as a first language. However, studying abroad can provide you with a perfect opportunity to learn a new foreign language.
Being surrounded by native speakers affords you the chance to immerse yourself in the language, which can expedite your retention and fluency. Furthermore, if you travel to a country in which the primary language is one you’ve studied in school, you can add to your vocabulary colloquial words and phrases that may not appear in the textbooks.
Explore Your Own Heritage
Students whose familial heritage stems from abroad will often choose to explore their ethnicity and ancestry. In fact, reports show that minority students benefit both personally and academically when they have studied abroad in the country of their family’s origin.
Ø Learn How to Communicate Across Cultures
In today’s increasingly global society, it’s important to possess the skills to communicate across cultures – and this means understanding more than just a different language. Studying abroad helps you become familiar with the customs and traditions of the country in which you are studying, in addition to the language. By interacting with locals, you can develop an appreciation for the culture and its differences from your own.
Ø Become More Independent
Studying abroad removes you from the normal support network that you are accustomed to back home. While on the one hand, being away from friends and family can seem daunting, it is also a chance for you to hone your own skills and gain some independence.
Whether it’s washing your laundry or buying groceries, you will learn to take responsibility for your actions. When you return home, your increased independence will be very useful – it can help you in your job search, at home, or in your day-to-day routines.
Ø Manage Your Own Finances
One major aspect of being an independent adult is having the ability to manage your own finances. Regardless of whether your study abroad program is financed by a scholarship, grant, or another source of income, chances are that it will be your responsibility to pay the bills.
Furthermore, living in a new country also forces you to learn to understand a new form of currency, and familiarize yourself with the various living expenses. Understanding how to manage your expenses will especially be beneficial when you no longer rely on the support of your family.
Ø Form New and Rewarding Relationships
Without your regular support group of friends and family, you will be confronted with new situations on a daily basis. However, studying abroad offers you the chance to meet new people and form friendships that may last a lifetime.
Whether you’re living with a host family or in a student residence, make an effort to form relationships with those around you. Not only will you have someone around to console you when you are feeling homesick, but you will also get to know people that you can have fun with. Recreation is an important part of the studying abroad experience, and you will likely enjoy sharing your experiences much more than spending your time alone.
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