College is the perfect time to broaden your horizons. If you want to take your college experience to the next level, you should consider studying abroad. Although studying abroad might seem like it’s all fun and games, the reality is that students often return home with better self-awareness, critical thinking skills, and more flexibility. And these skills pay off in the long run!
Research has shown that 64% of employers value international experience. In addition, former study abroad students earn 25% more than their peers who did not study abroad. In case you need more convincing, check out this infographic with dozens of interesting facts about the benefits of studying abroad and exploring the world.
Still not convinced? Keep reading on to find out the top 5 reasons to study abroad...
1. It will be your greatest adventure
It goes without saying that studying abroad will be one of the greatest adventures of your life. You’ll get to experience the freedom of moving away from everything you know and starting afresh in an entirely new environment. Of course, it’s scary. The day I went to the airport with my bags packed all alone made me sick with fear. But that all disappeared once I arrived in my flat and got settled, I just couldn’t wait to explore and the excitement for the coming months quickly took the place of the fear. Simply living abroad is an amazing adventure, but this will be the easiest time in your life to travel. Most courses in UK universities offer study abroad options, specifically the Erasmus + programme. This programme gives you a grant so that you can afford to live abroad for a semester or two, you’re essentially paid to go and travel! No excuses, send that application and get ready to pack your bags!
2. You’ll meet amazing people from all over the world
Lots of students don’t want to study abroad because they are worried about missing their friends and family from home. Of course, you’ll miss them, but that’s why they invented Skype and group chats! Studying abroad is the chance to go and make even more friends from all around the globe. You’ll meet people from all walks of life, from places you’ve never heard of and they’ll tell you stories you’ll never forget. Understandably, one of the most daunting aspects of studying abroad is the idea that you won’t know anyone once you arrive. Therefore, it’s a great idea to find flatmates, join study abroad groups from your host university and get to know the people you’ll be surrounded by for the coming months. Who knows, you may meet some of the best friends you’ll ever have!
3. Boost your CV
Whilst it’s not the strongest reason for you to study abroad, the experience of doing so will certainly boost your CV greatly. Studying abroad will give you a competitive advantage over your peers who decided not to. It shows skills in communication, problem-solving, adaptability, independence, global awareness etc. Also, it’s just a great excuse to give to any family members who are apprehensive about your decision to study abroad!
4. Learn more about yourself and grow
Going abroad for a few months is a fantastic way to challenge yourself and gain new perspectives. Meeting people from all around the world, visiting places you’ve never been before and doing things you’ve never dreamed of doing, all allow you to grow as a person and change you forever. There’s no better way to challenge yourself by abandoning your comfort zone completely and throwing yourself into a new life. As you adapt to your new surroundings and have new experiences, you will notice that you are changing and growing as a person as you gain new life skills and different perspectives. Of course, there will be low points, nobody said it was going to be easy. But those are all a part of the experience, and you’ll find that it is the lows and the highs that make the whole experience so worth it.
5. Gain Independence
I remember before I went abroad I was so insanely shy and quite intimidated by the independence and challenges of university. It probably seemed mad that I decided to up and leave for Hungary for half a year when I was too anxious to even speak up in seminars. But I did it, and it changed me. I gained more communications skills and confidence and I’m a better and happier person for having done it. That’s not to say it was easy, it took a lot of time and effort to get away from my comfort zone and challenge myself each day. Be flexible and take care of yourself, schedule classes that you know you can make (I scheduled all of mine to finish by 10am, don’t do that if you aren’t a morning person!), choose classes you will enjoy, go to events you want to go to even if you have nobody to bring, schedule trips whenever you can. Do whatever you need to for you to enjoy and thrive in your time abroad, and I promise it will be one of the best experiences of your life.
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