When you’re in college, you have a buffet of choices at your fingertips at all times. What classes to take, what social activities to participate in, which of the various dining halls to get lunch in – you get the gist.
It can be a lot to weigh the pros and cons of each decision, which is why some students spend time ruminating over whether studying abroad is right for them. As a study abroad alumni, I have seen the benefits of this unique experience and am here to share a few of them with you. Hopefully, my insight will help you determine if spending some of your college years abroad makes sense for you!
What Are The Benefits Of Studying Abroad?
1. Expand Your Worldview
One of the first things I think of when reflecting on my time spent abroad during my junior year of college is how much my worldview was changed and challenged. When spending any significant amount of time in a new place you are likely to find your mind stretching and potentially even outgrowing old thought patterns and ways of viewing how you walk through the world.
It can be a lot to wrap your head around, so to sum it up I’ll say this – when you spend time out of your comfort zone, you’ll come out of it with new thoughts and a newfound sense of confidence in yourself. This leads me to my next point!
2. Personal Growth & Resilience
Studying abroad means landing in a new environment that feels completely foreign to you and your usual everyday life. New routines, new currency, unfamiliar streets, and transportation. Nothing will humble you quite like having to navigate a city when you don’t speak the language. Whereas you may have felt like a big fish in a small pond in your hometown, you’ll likely feel exactly the opposite in your study abroad.
However, this proves an amazing opportunity to build up a sense of personal resilience and growth. By the time you return home, you’ll feel more confident in yourself and your abilities – I sure did!
3. The Ability to Travel and Explore
One of the more obvious benefits of studying abroad in college is the ticket out of your college town and into a country that may or may not have been on your travel bucket list! I studied abroad in London, but found myself in the position to easily travel Europe and the surrounding areas during my stay. While studying in England, I was able to visit Ireland, Scotland, Paris and Turkey! Consider your time abroad as a chance to start checking off some of those bucket list experiences that you’ve always dreamed of.
Does this sound like a place you'd like to explore? When you book with Celebration Wishes Travel, you can rest assured that every single detail of your trip will be handled with care. Fill out our interest form to learn more today!
4. Lifelong Friendships & Bonds
The people you study abroad with will forever be bonded to you by unique shared experiences that cannot be duplicated. During my months studying abroad in London, our group shared many laughs through classes, weekend travel together, and evening socials at the local pub. We also shared tears through nearby terror attacks and clung to each other and the community when a nearby fire rattled the area. We experienced life in such a real and raw way together and I wouldn’t take back those experiences for anything.
Almost a decade later, we continue to meet for reunions and check in with one another.
5. Learn a New Language and Culture
Not every location will challenge your language skills, but I can guarantee no matter where you travel you’ll experience the very real feeling of culture shock. For us in London, we learned quickly that the currency could prove challenging, and splitting a tab for a table of 10 was nearly impossible. Choosing a location outside of your comfort zone or current realm of knowledge could provide a unique challenge to learn a new language and immerse yourself in a culture different from that which you’re familiar with.
6. Experience the Destination Like a Local
Something that isn’t often considered when deciding whether or not to study abroad, is the difference between visiting a place and living there for a long stretch of time. Whether you’re doing a summer abroad for 2 months or spending a full semester in the country you choose, you’ll start to pick up on unique nuisances of being a temporary ‘local.’ You won’t be seeking out meals in the trendiest places, but instead you’ll have to navigate the local super markets to find things to cook for yourself. Depending on the time of year you spend abroad, you may have the chance to experience holidays in a different country and notice the differences. Living in a new country is completely different than taking a week vacation and its worth the things you’ll be able to experience while there.
7. New Connections & Career Opportunities
Many people in my study abroad group took part in local internships in London and were able to build valuable career connections that helped them post-grad. I know that a few of them moved back to London and took on full-time roles at the companies they interned with. Many people may find working abroad to be a challenge without previous relationships built.
The work visa process can be long and tedious for employers, so knowing who they’re bringing on and the value they already add can aid in the hiring process.
Ready to Plan Your Trip?
The benefits of studying abroad in college are endless and I hope my experiences have convinced you of both the personal and professional value that can be gained from it. If you decide to participate in a semester abroad, check out our registry tool to use as a crowdfunding tool!
We know these trips can be expensive and with our registry and celebration site tools, you can explain the value of your trip, the excursions, and classes you’ll participate in and share it with your friends and family to help get you ready for your adventure!