Studying abroad expands your opportunities both professionally and personally. If you’re questioning why study abroad, here are some of the most notable benefits of doing so.
No matter where you decide to study for college, you’re sure to have an experience of a lifetime. However, if you have the opportunity and resources to study abroad, you should take the chance! Why study abroad?
Well, there are countless reasons, but we will outline some of the most impactful and life-changing aspects of choosing to study abroad for whatever length of time you can do so.
What Does it Mean to Study Abroad?
Before we get going on the list of reasons, let’s be sure we understand what it means to study abroad. Studying abroad is generally a program provided by your university that allows for you to travel to a foreign country and take classes at a foreign university which will count towards your degree. Some programs may even arrange for an internship and/or work-study opportunity, as studying abroad can broaden career benefits in the future. While programs do vary, typical programs allow for students to learn abroad for at least a semester, whereas others could be a year long.
As far as living is concerned, some programs will provide dorms or apartments and others may place you with a host family. If a program matches two students from different locations, perhaps they will trade housing situations.
Why Study Abroad?
The advantages of studying abroad will definitely broaden your horizons. Regardless of the program available to you, all of them share the same benefits, namely:
1. Increase International Job Prospects:
Naturally, when you live and study abroad, you will develop professional and personal relationships. Through the university, your network of friends, and a potential internship and/or work-study program, you will expand your reach to employers in the new country. This means that upon graduation, if you have the desire to return to said country, you have already laid the groundwork foundation to be in touch with prospective employers.
2. Learn a New Culture:
Arriving in a foreign country comes with its challenges. Not only may there be a new language to conquer, but there are also different customs and ways of life. However, this offers an opportunity to learn a new culture and expand your perspective. When living and studying in a new country, you realize that there are other ways to do things than what you are used to, and being exposed to different ways of life can open up the doors for self improvement.
3. Learn a New Language:
It’s highly likely that wherever you go, there will be another language spoken than what you are used to. Although English is likely to be spoken anywhere you do study, you will be able to immerse yourself in the community and pick up a new language faster than solely studying it in a classroom. This is because you’ll be exposed to the language wherever you go and it may even be necessary to learn phrases and words to communicate what you need.
4. Become Self-Reliant:
Moving abroad relies on a sense of independence. You’ll be away from your family, friends, comfort zone and all that you’ve grown up knowing. This may seem daunting, but the truth is, when you go somewhere new, you have yourself to rely on. Of course, there is support from the study abroad program, new friends and the ability to stay connected to everyone back home, but your day-to-day activities will require that you take care of yourself. It’s a big step forward in terms of personal growth and maturity. You’ll take with you these lessons that you learn during the experience that will last you a lifetime.
5. Gain New Learning Methods:
Since schools operate differently in different countries, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up new learning methods. Some schools operate on a pedagogical model, prioritizing peer-to-peer relationships, while others may use hands-on learning. Depending on the country and institution you attend, you’ll become exposed to learning methods you may have never tried which may actually suit your learning style better than what you’ve previously known.
6. Make Lifelong Friends:
No matter where you attend college, you’re going to make new friends. When it comes to studying abroad, you become a citizen of the world! This means that even when you return back to your home country, you’ll have friends from around the world since study abroad programs host students from all over.
7. Adventure and Travel:
It basically goes without saying that when you’re in a new country, you are adventuring and exploring just by arriving. When you study abroad, you become like a temporary resident of a new locale, so you can take time to explore the local areas and even take trips to surrounding countries. For example, if you study in Europe, you can hop on the train between countries on weekends to see more of the world!
8. Beneficial for Employers and CV:
Studying abroad offers benefits beyond your current situation. In fact, research shows that about 90% of those who study abroad were able to secure a job within 6 months post-graduation. Why does studying abroad matter to employers? Well, it signals that you are up for a challenge, you are independent, can manage your finances, have international knowledge, have foreign language skills, and are likely to be flexible and equipped with above-average problem-solving skills.
9. Improve Grad School Application:
In the same way that studying abroad signals to employers insight into your personality and adaptability, the same can be said about grad school admissions. When you apply to graduate schools after having studying abroad, you may enter the program with additional insight which you can share with your peers and you also bring with you skills from studying abroad that benefit your graduate studies, like: perseverance, problem-solving, communication, and overall life skills like organization, time management and an adaptable mindset.
10. See the World:
Studying abroad is a great way to see the world while remaining productive and working towards your goals. Additionally, when you study abroad, you can use scholarships and financial aid in your favor, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because once you graduate and want to travel independently, the cost is yours to manage.
Top Study Abroad Destinations
The world is a large place, so how do you decide where to study abroad?
In 2019, here are some of the most popular destinations to study abroad:
1. New Zealand:
53,000 international students
New Zealand’s outstanding landscape guarantees adventure for study abroad students. Not only will you have the opportunity to do everything from skydive to scuba dive, but New Zealand also boasts quality education. In fact, all 8 of its universities reside in the top 3% of universities worldwide.
60,000 international students
Fancy some sangria? Spain has relatively low living costs for a European country, as well as a large selection of universities. The country has a unique and palpable culture filled with adventure, nightlife, good food and amazing art and architecture.
20,000 international students
Thailand is more than a paradise beach enclave. The country also has a low cost of living, tasty street food and a conducive environment for exploration. Thailand is known as the “land of smiles” so if you want a warm welcome, it’s the place to go!
200,000 international students
Canada is the world’s most educated country, so it’s no wonder why it’s such a top destination for those who choose to study abroad. The quality of life is high and the natural destinations to explore are widespread.
12,000 international students
Mexico has a low cost of living combined with a wonderful climate and welcoming culture. It’s listed as the #1 place to make friends, so if you have any reservations about being alone when you travel abroad, you have nothing to worry about in Mexico. Mexico also has 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, mountains, beaches, rainforests, and a wide array of cultural experiences.
Study Online Anywhere
Perhaps a traditional study abroad program is not for you. If you don’t attend a traditional university, but you still want to move abroad to study, you can always do so by enrolling in an online university.
For example, at University of the People, you can earn your degree from an accredited American institution from anywhere in the world! In fact, students from over 200 countries and territories have enrolled at UoPeople to earn their degrees in Health Science, Computer Science, Education and Business Administration.
Whether you choose to study from your home country or in a foreign country, you will receive the same benefits as you do when you study abroad. Because of the pedagogical model, you’ll interact with students from around the world and make lifelong friends globally. Additionally, the online nature of the program requires self-reliance, independence and responsibility when it comes to setting your own schedule to study. The increased flexibility is met with a quality education that you can access with nothing more than an internet connection!
An Experience to Remember
College is a unique experience for every student, no matter where or how you study. It helps you grow personally, as well as sets you up for better professional prospects when you earn your degree.
When choosing to study abroad, you are opening the door to new opportunities and adventure as you immerse yourself in a new culture and heighten your chances to learn a new language and see parts of the world you may otherwise miss. Studying abroad not only looks good on resumes and grad school applications, but it also looks good in your memories!