10 Benefits of Study Abroad
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience and one of the most rewarding things that university and college students and young professionals can do for themselves and their future careers. By studying abroad, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in other cultures and to develop skills that you can never hone in a classroom in your home university. Here is a list of the 10 excellent reasons why you too should study abroad!
1. Exploring the World
Perhaps the single biggest reason why you should consider a study abroad is the opportunity to venture out of, so to say, your ‘comfort zone’ and see the world. Study abroad lets you explore the world for a summer, semester, or even a year – you will benefit by having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study in a foreign country while taking in the allure of a new land, including its many natural wonders, vibrant cities and historical and cultural landmarks.
Since studying abroad often puts you on a different continent, you will visit places you might otherwise not have had the opportunity to visit. Therefore, it goes without saying that all of our study abroad programs have field trips planned in or around the curriculum. Not to mention that rather than limiting yourself to traveling just the nation in which you are studying, you should explore neighboring countries as well! For example, as a student based in Bangkok, you’ll have the option to travel through various parts of South East Asia, including Cambodia, Malaysia or Myanmar.
2. Broadening Horizons Through Education
Another reason you may consider studying abroad is for the chance to experience different styles of education, break out of your academic routine, and, last but not the least, acquire certain skills and have experiences a classroom setting will never provide. As education is naturally the crux of any study abroad trip, choosing the right university is a very important factor – this is why we offer only study abroad programs with leading universities in the respective host countries.
Study abroad is likely to be much unlike what you are used to doing as a student on your home campus. By enrolling in a study abroad program, you may become familiar with an entirely new academic system and you will likely have the chance to take new courses not offered by your home institution. Not to mention that it’s also a great opportunity to break the monotony of the routine you follow semester after semester. And remember that travel outside your homeland is an education in itself.
3. Immersing Yourself in a New Culture
By enrolling in a study abroad program, you’ll have the unique opportunity to know other cultures first-hand. Cultural differences are not only differences in appearances, language, food or personal habits. A person’s culture is a depository of values, beliefs and very deep-rooted perceptions. People who venture out to explore distant lands and experience cultural differences personally can both better understand the roots of other cultures and also truly appreciate their own culture.
Being completely immersed in the education system of your host country and, by that, also in an entirely new cultural setting, may be scary at first, but it’s also exciting. You will find that it is a great way to understand its people, their mode of behavior and social interactions, the nation’s traditions and its culture. And while encountering various challenges or simply situations that are not unfamiliar with, you will learn to adapt and respond in effective ways while also discovering your new strengths and abilities.
4. Expanding Your Worldview
Study abroad is one of the best and most effective ways to learn a foreign language. The learning of a new language happens most quickly when you see and hear it in the proper cultural context. Being surrounded by the culture and language on a daily basis gives you the unique opportunity to completely immerse yourself in the new language, whether Thai, Indonesian or Khmer. In addition to your daily interaction with the culture and people who actually speak the language you are learning, you may also consider enrolling in language courses that are often offered by the host university. Don’t forget that by learning a new language you will gain an intimate insight into the society and its ‘soul’ – ultimately, your study abroad will thus go well beyond a purely academic experience.
5. Enhancing Your Career Opportunities
Did you know that only 4% of undergraduates in the United States ever study abroad while, on the other hand, the top employers and world’s leading corporations are seeking graduates who have a global perspective, can think critically and operate across diverse cultures? Once back home from a study abroad program, you will be equipped with a new set of skills that are very attractive to future employers.
As the world is becoming more and more globalized, with policymakers trying to solve global problems in international fora and companies from countries around the world continuing to invest in the international market, study abroad on your resume definitely gives you a competitive edge. Your future employer will appreciate your experience living and studying in a foreign land, negotiating other culture, and acquiring another language, which will all differentiate you from the majority of other job applicants.
From an employer’s perspective, a job applicant who has a study abroad experience is independent, flexible, critical, self-motivated, independent, willing to embrace challenges, is capable of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and able to cope with diverse problems and situations. It is also worth mentioning that some students really fall in love with their newly adopted ‘homeland’ to such a degree that they decide to seek work there.
6. Honing Your Leadership Potential
Study abroad can be a vital link not only to global competence but also to leadership competence. You can develop and strengthen your leadership skills by participating in a study abroad program that will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, and learn how to interact with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. An educational opportunity outside your homeland is a valuable tool that will prepare you to participate and lead effectively in an increasingly interconnected international community that demands cross-cultural skills and knowledge. And as leadership styles differ from one culture or country to another, you will learn how to effectively manage diverse teams and operate within different leadership situations.
7. Finding New Interests
The chances are that living in another country might expose you to many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home. You might find that you have a hidden talent for surfing, kite-surfing, exotic dances, or various other new sports or activities you may never have dreamt of trying back home. While finding new ways of spending free time with your international friends, you may also discover other new and exciting forms of entertainment – concerts, movies, nightclubs, hiking are just some of the great many activities that you can enjoy.
8. Networking and Making International Friends
One of the most exciting things about living and studying in another country is the opportunity to meet new lifelong friends from different backgrounds and cultures. Gain new insights and outlooks while enjoying new relationships. Thanks to the opportunity to meet students not only from the host country but other nations as well, study abroad enables you to forge lasting international friendships, understand cultural differences, and get rid of old stereotypes. When your study abroad program is over, do your best to stay in touch with your international friends. This is also because, in addition to rewarding personal relationships, these contacts might also be important networking tools later in the ‘jungle’ of the international labor market.
9. Stimulating Personal Development
Students who study abroad return home not only with new ideas and perspectives about different cultures and societies but also about themselves and their own culture. While really unleashing your independent nature and spirit, the overseas experience may often challenge you to think about or even reconsider your own deeply entrenched beliefs and values – studying abroad effectively prompts you to discover your ‘self’ and your hidden qualities and potential. The encounter with other cultures will enable you to see your own culture through new eyes.
10. A Life-Time Opportunity!
For most students, studying abroad might be one of few unique opportunities to stay abroad for a longer period of time. Eventually, you will start to pursue a career and the opportunity to study in a foreign country may turn out to be once-in-a-lifetime experience. Take the chance to discover the world with no commitments but to study and immerse yourself in a new culture. Study abroad is an excellent opportunity to raise your self-awareness, it’s a time when you may sort out your priorities, a period of retrospection to find out what you actually want to do in life. Studying abroad is a life-changing experience unlike any other!