5 Reasons to Study Abroad

Although the world is more connected than ever before, the experience of living in another country is difficult to replicate. A study abroad program gives you the chance to see the world in a completely different way. These programs are about more than just new adventures; participating in a study abroad program can help you learn a new language, polish your resume, gain a broader understanding of the world, and forge relationships that will last your lifetime. Take a look at the top five reasons to study abroad and then get ready to pack your bags.

1. Experience a New Culture

Watching movies and reading books about a foreign land is a good way to get a taste of a new culture, but each movie or book only gives you a small slice of the country’s true culture. One reason to study abroad is that while you are studying you are granted the opportunity to actively engage in unfamiliar traditions, try new foods and learn history beyond a textbook. When you’re not busy working on your classes, you can take trips to see natural wonders, historical sites and interact with the locals. Depending on where you choose to study abroad, you may also have the chance to take weekend trips to experience even more countries.

2. Learn a New Language

If you choose to study abroad in a country that doesn’t speak your language, you’ll have the chance to learn the language through complete immersion. Although learning a language is rarely easy, you’ll probably feel motivated to work hard at learning the local language to make the most of your study abroad experience. Successfully becoming fluent in a language can help you check off the language requirement at your school and can help you in future endeavors, including future job searches. After graduation, you’ll find that many domestic companies that want to extend their reach into foreign markets welcome workers who have language skills for their targeted international region.

3. Form Lifelong Connections with New Friends

Another reason to study abroad is that you’ll forge new friendships that may last a lifetime. While you are studying, you will have plenty of chances to meet other students from different countries. Living on your own in an unfamiliar place will probably help you grow closer to those around you, leading to friendships that can extend far beyond the duration of the program. While studying abroad, you may have the opportunity to stay with a host family, giving you a second surrogate family.

4. Expand Your View of the World

Leaving your home country to experience life in a foreign country is an excellent way to expand your knowledge of the world. While you live in another country, you’ll discover a wealth of knowledge about the country’s politics, economics and social policies, among many other topics. You’ll also grow your understanding of your own country; as you interact with the people of your temporary home, you’ll learn how other cultures view your own. You’ll also gain a greater appreciation for little things in your home country that you may have taken for granted, such as the taste of your tap water.

5. Boost Your Academic and Career Potential

A final reason to study abroad is that it can improve both your academic and career outlook. Earning a spot in a graduate program may be a little easier with study abroad experience under your belt. Many types of businesses rely on an international presence to succeed on the global stage, and your experience outside of your home country can be invaluable for these businesses. Other potential employers, including government agencies and nonprofit organizations, can also benefit from your experience. If you picked up a foreign language during your program, your resume will look even more impressive.

A study abroad program may seem intimidating and take you out of your usual comfort zone. However, living in another country can dramatically change your academic, professional and personal life. If you keep these reasons to study abroad in your mind and focus on enjoying yourself, you may end up having the experience of a lifetime.