10 Reasons You Should Jump at the Chance to Study Abroad in College
It's hard to make one of the most fun times of your life even better, but studying abroad in college pulls it off with a flourish. Diving deep into your studies in a foreign country adds a cultural element that only enhances your college experience, in all aspects. Worldly exploits will give your résumé some pizzazz when applying for future jobs, and that travel experience will give you confidence, real-life skills and learning, and stories for days. It's a chance to challenge yourself and can be the ultimate opportunity for personal growth. (The new friends and delicious food don't hurt either.)
Whether you're observing art class for the day at the Uffizi Gallery in Italy, practicing your German skills in a local university bar, or learning about marine biology in the waters of the South Pacific, the opportunities for epic educational experiences are endless. No matter your chosen studies, there's a corner of the world for you to flourish. Here's 10 reasons you should jump at the chance to study abroad.
There's no better way to learn about another culture than to actually live in it! Studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to delve deep into an area of the world that interests you by living and learning there as a local for a period of time. Experiencing another culture first-hand is eye-opening, fulfilling, and one of the best real-world learning situations you can have.
Sure, the pizza from your college dining hall is great, but just think of the amazing culinary options that await when studying in another country. You'll have access to fresh, local foods, and quite possibly, the chance to expand your palate to a more worldly status. And push yourself to try things you wouldn't normally eat — that's part of the fun!
College is one of best times to make lifelong friendships. Bonding over late-night study sessions, the trials and triumphs of college life, and being in close dorm quarters helps to create those relationships. Studying abroad brings all of that to the next level when you're making memories with new friends in a new country as well. Who else can you laugh years later with about that time you accidentally ordered a fish (poisson) instead of a drink (boisson) at that restaurant in France?
Perhaps one of the top highlights of studying abroad is the option for amazing weekend trips. If you choose a program somewhere in Europe, it's fairly easy to country hop with just a couple of days, and it's also extremely affordably, too. In Australia, you could be snorkeling on the coast somewhere just hours after acing your midterm exam. Or in Japan, your Saturday could be spent learning how to make fresh sushi in an authentic cooking class. The cultural and adventure opportunities are all within reach during study abroad.
Being alone is something everyone needs to learn to do at some point in their lives, and before college, most of us don't necessarily have that opportunity. Spending a semester abroad is a chance to branch out on your own, channel your inner independence, and find your own way. You will, of course, make plenty of new friends during your study abroad venture, but there are also loads of occasions to be a solo grown-up without your family on standby. I guarantee that you'll learn that you can do it on your own after all.
Break Out of Your Bubble
Growing up, many of us are very comfortable in our hometown bubbles. Studying abroad offers the chance to broaden our horizons, get out of our comfort zones, and see that there's a lot more to the world than what we're used to! Seeing the way other cultures live in their everyday lives is a crucial lesson to learn.
College is a time for a lot of changes; they're the years that shape the beginning of adulthood by learning to be responsible, independent, and able to wake up for that 8 a.m. class on our own. Studying abroad naturally pushes all of that even further; learning how to navigate a foreign country yourself, exposing you to real-life situations, and making your stronger for doing it.
Learn a New Language
. . . or expand your already honed skills. You don't have to be focusing on a language in your studies to pick up on a bit of the lingo abroad. If you're a foreign language major, studying abroad will give you that boost of immersive learning by encouraging you to converse regularly in your everyday life (OK, forcing you!). It's the best way to learn, so learn you shall.
Part of travel is seeing the sights and a fun one to boot. During your downtime between classes, studying, and socializing, you'll have the opportunity to get out and take advantage of all the sights right in your own study abroad backyard.
Travel in general teaches us so much that it only makes sense to use it as our classroom and apply it to our field of study. As an environmental studies major, heading somewhere like Central America would provide that real-life learning platform. Minoring in Chinese? (Well, you see where this is going.) Wherever you can get hands-on experience within your major of choice is a top location for studying abroad. That experience will not only help you with obtaining your degree but also with job hunting after graduation.