For any student considering international studies, evaluating study abroad programs or thinking about an overseas internship, deciding to study abroad is such a valuable life-changing opportunity and one which can offer so many wonderful benefits.
Find a study abroad program, become a foreign exchange student and learn so much about yourself and the world.
There is much more to life beyond the confines of our states and borders, our countries and our universities and educational systems. Studying abroad helps everyone. Students gain new friends, new skills and new cultural perspectives along with an expanded knowledge base for life. The study abroad experience also yields so many other positive personal and professional benefits, too.
Students who only study in their domestic country might not appreciate or realize these same benefits if they remain solely exposed to their own university, country or their own familiar academic surroundings.
Studying abroad may not interest all students but for those students that are interested in international studies and enrolling in a study abroad program, don't hesitate to at least explore the possibility of completing a foreign student exchange program. Know that there are study abroad scholarships and student financing options and many study abroad resources available to students and their families.
Learn About Yourself and Become More Informed About the World
I lived and studied abroad in London, England through Boston University’s study abroad program several years ago. I completed media and journalism courses with the consent of my California State University and graduated with a BA degree after I studied abroad and completed an overseas PR internship. My internship consisted of public relations writing assignments and PR work for a Canadian entrepreneur who ran a PR firm specializing in representation for art gallery clients and fine artist painters across the U.K. It was an amazing and invaluable learning experience.
Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad
1. Immersion into another language and daily use of your new language is the best way to learn a foreign language. When you have no choice but to use the language you learn how to speak it simply to manage life in a foreign country.
2. To live like a resident in a foreign locale instead of simply visiting as a tourist is a joy.
3. Earn academic credits towards your degree overseas and then transfer them back to your university stateside. Be sure to get approval from your university first before you embark on any study abroad program or become a foreign exchange student.
4. Learn about other cultures, customs and other ways of doing things by living, working and studying abroad.
5. Expand your own perspective on how to do things and how others enjoy life by getting a very different and unique overview of possible new-to-you viewpoints, customs and pastimes.
6. Try new foods or entirely new cuisines and add to your travels by taking day trips to nearby points of interest or neighboring countries.
7. Practice more self-reliance and improve your ability to live independently. As a foreign exchange student and as a young adult possibly living without the immediate and nearby help of family or friends, automatically, become more self-reliant. Students studying abroad do have the support of their peers, the study abroad program administrators and the ready assistance of their new host university.
8. Distinguish yourself among your peers with more skills and international work experience if you are able to complete an internship with your study abroad program. Add to this, fluency in a second language and you will further enhance your résumé, increase your employment options and you may even earn a bigger salary for being able to speak two (or more) languages.
9. Dispel a prejudice or a pre-conceived idea that your friends or colleagues might have about citizens in the country in which you are residing. This is also true in regard to that country’s customs. With your first-hand knowledge and experience of living in the country being spoken of poorly and your experiences of having lived abroad there, you can accurately correct a stereotype that is untrue or offer a broader viewpoint.
10. Make new friends and new business contacts. My mom celebrated a 50-year reunion in England with her nursing school friends from the U.K. where they all began their nursing school classes and careers in their late teens. My mom was born in South America and was a foreign student studying abroad in the U.K.
My Study Abroad Experience
My study abroad experience and living overseas also opened my eyes to new ways of doing things, new work styles and new job paths and opportunities that I had not yet considered. I also gained new appreciations for the simple and ordinary things I had been accustomed to doing and new gratitude for some conveniences I had recently and up until then been taking for granted. I will never forget experiences overseas or ever regret learning what I learned while I was abroad. While I was studying abroad, I also had a great time meeting others and squeezing in some day trips and other travels to nearby countries. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
Every day there was always something new and different to learn or experience and new people to meet. I got quite good at my internship job, earned good grades and thoroughly enjoyed my studies and my internship. I would repeat this opportunity again in a heartbeat.
For my internship, I wrote press releases for the first time, helped event plan art gallery showings and my boss and I even pitched the idea of creating an art gallery display for a Harrods’s Department store window featuring clients. This did not happen, but it was an indelible and remarkable on-the-job learning experience. I would never experienced these particular events had I stayed in the U.S. and completed all of my studies strictly in California.
A study abroad program can add so many personal and professional benefits in the years ahead. Venture outside of your own country, expand your life and career options and enhance your life in ways you cannot presently fathom by studying abroad. I can confidently state that most everyone enjoys this experience and the benefits that study abroad programs offer.
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