Have you ever considered studying abroad for a semester in college? To some, the thought of heading over to Europe for five or six months is terrifying, while to others it sounds right up their ally. Regardless as to what side of the fence you fall on, or even if you are on the fence itself, here are five benefits to studying abroad.
Learn a New Language
Regardless where you choose to study abroad, one of the benefits is that you get to learn a new language. You could argue that if you study abroad in an English speaking country you aren’t learning a new language. While technically this is true, you will learn a new dialect and idiosyncrasies that you are not accustomed to.
Gain a New Perspective
When you go overseas, you see the world in a whole new light, both from the reporting of news as well as through talking to people and gaining their perspective. Doing this helps you to grow as a person and hopefully to become more tolerant and empathetic.
While overseas, you will meet new people who have the potential of becoming life-long friends. My girlfriend studied in Ireland in college and became friends with a handful of girls that she is still friends with today. In fact, we flew over to Ireland last year for one of their weddings and met up with everyone. It was great seeing everyone and catching up.
While studying abroad, you are going to have to go without your usual support network. For most things, you are going to have to learn as you go, relying on yourself to make it through. Yes you will make friends there and have the support of the college, but you support network that you are accustomed to – your friends and family back home – are thousands of miles away. This will force you to grow and mature.
Land a Better Job
Studies have shown that people that study abroad are more likely to land a job quicker than those that choose against studying abroad and that they earn a higher salary. The studies do not pinpoint to one specific reason why, but it is believed that many factors, including the ones I mentioned above are reasons why. Companies value independence, people willing to take on new challenges and go into the unknown. All of these are qualities of people that study abroad.
Studying abroad is not for everyone. But if you are on the fence about doing so or are looking to do so, there are many of benefits that come with it. One added benefit not mentioned above is the simple fact that you get to live in a foreign country for five months. Once you graduate, land a job and have bills to pay, it becomes much harder, if not impossible, to simply decide to live overseas for a few months. I have not met someone that studied abroad and later regretted it.