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10 Reasons Why Every Student Should Study Abroad

Colleges and universities around the world have been rapidly expanding their study
abroad programs, which means its only a matter of time before youre inundated
with study abroad posters and information sessions on your campus. While studying
abroad has become a virtual rite of passage in the university system, its natural to
feel some hesitation.

However, the sooner you start thinking about studying abroad, the more prepared
youll be when application deadlines come around. If youre not quite sure whether
study abroad is right for you -- or you need to convince your family -- check out
these top 10 reasons why you should study abroad.

1. To Add Some Spice to Your Life

If youre getting sick of the same old same old, study abroad is the perfect way to
get out of the doldrums. When you start to get bored with typical college life, this is
a great way to inject some energy and excitement into your life. See new things,
meet new people, and settle into a new routine. Studying abroad could be just the
change you need!

Study abroad organizations such as The School for Field Studies and SIT Study
Abroad specialize in study abroad programs off the beaten path. If you're looking for
an experience beyond the traditional summer in Europe, these types of programs
are worth looking into!

2. Because It Will Never Be Easier to Travel than Now

Study abroad will probably be the only time in your life that youll get to travel, take
courses in another country, and meet other international students your age. Plus, if
you study abroad with a provider, most of your itinerary will be planned for!

Study abroad is the perfect way to inject some energy and excitement into your life.
See new things, meet new people, and settle into a new routine. Studying abroad
could be just the change you need!

In most other travels, youll have a lot more logistics to figure out and pay for:
accommodations, meals, the language barrier, navigation, and sight-seeing. While
solo travel is its own kind of awesome, youll always have the future to do that (like
a post-graduation gap year?).

Study abroad is also one of the few to only times youll be able to an extended
period abroad -- at least three months, and maybe even a year! Once youre out in
the real world and have a job, it can be tough to cobble together more than one or
two weeks of vacation time, so take advantage of a study abroad program to catch
the travel bug now, while you still can.
3. To Meet New People and Make New Friends

Many students hesitate to study abroad because theyre worried about missing their
friends or family at home. Between Skype, Instagram, Facebook, and FaceTime,
there are more than enough ways to stay in touch overseas. Your friends will still be
there when you return home, but you only have this one chance to make new
friends abroad.

Study abroad is an incredible opportunity to meet other like-minded students in


your program, as well as local people -- from host families, to fellow students, to
new friends you meet in the streets. If youre worried about missing friends or
overcoming homesickness, just think of all the incredible stories youll be able to tell
them when you get home.

One of the best benefits of studying abroad with an organization instead of


independently is the group of friends you will meet off the bat. Having that initial
community in an unfamiliar location will help you combat feelings of frustration or
culture shock. Popular study abroad programs like API Study Abroad and AIFS
welcome large numbers of Americans on their programs. Who knows, you may find
your new best friend!

4. To Travel Someplace New


If youve always dreamed of traveling somewhere, be it Paris or a rural area in
Ghana, why not study abroad there? Sure, youll be focused on your studies, but
most programs give you the weekend off and even schedule longer trips for the
group.

Study abroad allows you to see a lot of new places and also spend a lot of time
immersing yourself in one place. It will be hard to come by an opportunity like this
again, so take advantage of it and travel the world as a student!

5. To Gain a New Perspective

Studying abroad provides you with the opportunity to gain a different perspective,
not only on academic subjects but also the way of life. Whether you adjust to
afternoon siestas in Spain or learn about holistic medicine in India, study abroad lets
you look at yourself, your world, and your studies from a different perspective.

Take advantage of this opportunity while you can and travel the world as a student.

Challenging your boundaries and your worldview are a natural extension of


longterm traveling and living abroad. Be sure to make time to visit as many
neighboring cities and countries as possible while studying abroad; this will help you
round out your perspectives and dive deeper into regional cultures.
Programs like IES Abroad and ISA Study Abroad even include excursions in their
programs to ensure you are seeing as much of the country and its neighbors as
possible.

6. To Further Your Studies

It is called study abroad, after all. One of the best reasons to study abroad is to
further your academic studies in an incredible, immersive way. If youre an African
Studies major, go to Kenya and put the theories you learned in the classroom into
practice. Or if youre writing your art history thesis on the Renaissance, get some
hands-on research experience studying in Italy.

Of course, study abroad is an incredible time to pursue academic interests


completely outside of your major. Whether you want to focus on your major, or try
something new, study abroad is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Did you know you can even search for a program specifically based upon the course
offerings or academic focus? Popular majors like psychology, business, art, or
journalism will find opportunities a-plenty for study abroad. Those interested in
economics, politics, and development will feel particularly drawn to SIT Study
Abroad programs, and those interested in architecture will find John Cabot has an
awesome program.

7. To Give You a Competitive Edge

This should never, ever be the only reason you study abroad, but if you (or your
family) are on the fence, it is an important consideration. Studying abroad sets you
ahead of your peers in the eyes of graduate schools and employers. It highlights
your sense of adventure, independence, cultural sensitivity, and worldliness. When
you return, make sure to update your resume to highlight your study abroad
experience.

Studying abroad provides you with the opportunity to gain a different perspective,
not only on academic subjects, but also in real world experience.

Plus, did you know study abroad students are more likely to get a job? Statistics
show that "97% of study abroad students found employment within 12 months of
graduation when only 49% of college graduates found employment in the same
period." And, 90% of them got the job in 6 months! This isn't just US-centric, either;
a study done in the UK supports these same findings.

They're not just getting jobs faster, though; students that have studied abroad have
also been found to earn 25% higher starting salaries compared to their peers. That's
around an extra $7,000 earned annually for students in the US! Salary aside,
students who have studied abroad report that they're better at adapting to a variety
of work environments and that they're happier with their jobs.
8. To Learn Another Language

Whether youve been studying a foreign language for years or are starting from
scratch, studying abroad provides a convenient, immersive environment for
language learning. As awesome as your Spanish class may be, its nothing like
negotiating in Peruvian markets, hailing a cab in Argentina, or flirting in a Spanish
caf.

You just cant beat the immersion of a study abroad program for learning a new
language. If youre studying abroad primarily to learn a foreign language, you can
always attend a language school to get the most out of studying a language abroad.

Other popular languages for studying abroad include Italian, German, French, and
Chinese. Try your luck at one (or all of the above!). Organizations like LSF
Montpellier are great to look into for serious language students.

9. Because Everyone Should Experience Another Culture at Least Once

In an increasingly globalized society, its important to understand and experience


other cultures. Learn new recipes, new ways of learning, new ways of getting
around, new customs, traditions, and ways of relating to people. Theres no better
way to learn about how people around the world are similar and different than to
immerse yourself in another culture, and study abroad is a great place to start.

10. To Challenge Yourself and Grow as a Person

One of the best things about studying abroad -- even if its also one of the most
daunting components -- is pushing your boundaries and challenging yourself. Its
ultimately a good thing to push your comfort zone, because as you adapt, youll
gain invaluable life skills and change and grow as a person in ways you couldnt if
you stayed at home.

This is really what studying abroad is all about: doing something exciting but a little
bit scary, experiencing the downs with the ups, and coming through a stronger,
more confident, and more culturally-aware person.

Theres no better way to learn about how people around the world are similar and
different than to immerse yourself in another culture, and study abroad is a great
place to start.

When it comes down to it, study abroad isnt right for everyone; however, it's
invaluable for students who do go, as well as one of the number one regrets of
college graduates who forgo the experience. Even if you still feel nervous, if even a
few of these reasons speak to you then chances are youll do great studying abroad.
With so many reasons to study abroad, the easier question might be, why not?

There are many ways to work it out so you can study and intern abroad at the same
time. (Or alternatively, take part in a volunteer initiative!) The important thing to
remember is that it can be done: sometimes all you need to do is ask for what you
want.

Be flexible, and dont be afraid to ask for a little flexibility in return, whether that
means changes to your class schedule, looking for a country with more flexible
student working visas, or accepting slightly-odd internship hours. As long as you do
your best at both efforts, you're guaranteed to have a rewarding and productive
time abroad.