So you are thinking about studying abroad? But then again… maybe you are not the type? You aren’t dedicated, brave, or just plain old crazy enough? You are not that person that studied foreign languages in their spare time or took summer trips to Peru like it was nothing? You’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime sitting in front of you, but perhaps you are scared that you aren’t the right person to pack your bags and go.
SLOW DOWN BUDDY.
First of all, there is no such thing as a study abroad type. Over 10 percent of all students study abroad. And believe me, they represent an incredibly diverse set of personality types and backgrounds. Study abroad is not just for the Ellie Fredricksens out there. Here is a countdown of 10 legitimate reasons why everyone (yes, last time I checked that includes you) should study abroad no matter who they are noexcuses.
10. Everyone needs a lil perspective
One thing I learned while on my first trip abroad is that you cannot (I repeat, CANNOT) understand your own culture until you get out of it. When I went to the UK I found that many things that I did and thought were normal, even human, were actually a part of my culture and/or upbringing. Sometimes a fresh perspective can only be offered by people who are raised in an environment and culture completely different from your own.
9. You will learn more about you
Traveling to distant lands and going on crazy adventures pushes you out of your comfort zone faster than anything else. There is no way you can go on a journey like study abroad without learning a little bit more about yourself, your limits, your boundaries, your strengths, and your weaknesses.
8. You might just like the way they do it better
People do things SO differently. Studying abroad offers you the opportunity to question things you have never before thought to question and perhaps even learn that some people know how to do things better than you or your home country. Every culture/country has their own specialty.
For example, every country’s higher education system works slightly differently. You may find that you prefer the independence and focus that the UK system offers more than our general education focused US system. Go with an open mind and you can’t help learning splendid things.
7. You will be forced to grow
The more you push yourself, the more you learn. Studying abroad offers the perfect set of challenges, obstacles, and wonderment required for expedited growth.
6. It is part of a modern education
The world is shrinking. Yes, I mean it. Well… not literally. But globalization (this generation’s catch phrase) means that we are more connected than ever before. Whereas our grandparents may have lived a life blissfully unaware and unaffected by the political situation in Europe or the economic trends in India, we live in a world that is connected and interdependent. You can’t get away with being ignorant of the world around you anymore because everything that happens around the world affects the economy, politics, and culture back at home.
5. It will set you up for the future
Students who study abroad gain valuable experience and life lessons that make them extremely attractive to employers. Do you want to make yourself stand out in that dreaded job application process looming in your future? Go study abroad. Have the adventure of a lifetime and then come home and let that adventure put you ahead in the business world.
4. It has never and will never be soo easy
I know, I know, studying abroad can seem overwhelmingly complicated. You’ve got to coordinate class credit and schedules etc… But you know what? There are always some obstacles to going abroad. As a college student, you are about as unattached and free as you will ever be in your life. You can’t put traveling off. If you want to see the world, you’d better go now before job, spouse, and family tie you down. Why not go now when you have a university encouraging and even helping you to step outside?
3. It has never and will never be soo cheap
Yes, study abroad can seem like an extravagance. Particularly on a student budget. Is it really worth making my student loan grow that much more? But don’t forget to put things in perspective. Traveling will never be so cheap again. So many programs offer discounts and scholarships. Some universities will practically pay you to study abroad. Once you get abroad, many transportation tickets and tours offer huge student discounts. So do your research and take advantage of your student ID. You will never be able to travel so cheaply.
2. Friends… everyone wants cool friends
Let’s not forget that spending a few months in some random country means making new friends. By leaving all your old friends and family at home, you are forced to forget cliques, groups, and comfort and meet new people. Having connections all around the world is not only cool and impressive, it can change your life. Seriously, one of my close friends comes from a completely different culture than me and let me tell you, every time we talk I learn something new.
1. You will only regret not going
“I wish I hadn’t spent the money to study abroad.” SAID NO ONE EVER.
Seriously, I have never ever once met someone who regretted studying abroad. What have I heard?
A whole lot of,
“Man, I wish I had studied abroad.”
“I wish I had traveled more before I was so tied down”
“I wish I had spent a longer time to really get into it.
It may be hard, it may be expensive, but you will only regret not doing it.