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There are countless reasons all over the internet that will show you all the reasons to study abroad in college, and even some showing studying abroad disadvantages.
While all of those tips are valuable, in today’s post, I want to share my two cents on why I personally think not only are reasons to study abroad in college, but truly, why these reasons matter in your life, and what it could mean for you going forward post-study abroad.
We’re looking at the future benefits that studying abroad will bring you if you take advantage of this truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
What is study abroad?
To study abroad is to essentially study away from your home campus, in a different school, most commonly in a different country.
It is taking the same classes you would back at your home campus, just abroad in a different school.
Schools and universities all over the world have connections and partnerships for students of those schools to take classes at those other schools, in different parts of the world. These are specific partnerships and student exchange programs.
It is an amazing opportunity – as we will discuss in a little bit in this post – but aside from that, it’s one that has a few myths that I think steer students from even looking into the opportunity to study abroad.
Some of them being finances – how much is it? how much can it cost to study abroad? Others are if studying abroad will fit into their degree programs/ graduation timeline, and so many more reasons.
Many times its fear – which is fair – but not something that alone should stop anyone because as we know, fears are just stories we have decided to repeat in our minds continuously to the point of making them beliefs.
Is there a best country to study abroad in?
The truth is that there is no one “perfect” place to study abroad, and this will solely depend on what you are looking for in a country, city, and program.
Are you looking for a city in Europe, where you can walk everywhere, study architecture, art, and history? Maybe you’re looking to study ancient philosophers, and ancient ruins that were once major empires? Perhaps it’s wanting to study endangered animals and study wildlife and their habitats in a tropical setting?
Whatever it is, your study abroad city and program should be something you’re wildly interested in, because you’re leaving home, your family/friends, and all that is familiar – it might as well be for a city/country/course that you’re lit up from the inside to explore.
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8 Inspiring Reasons To Study Abroad in College
Getting a passport for the first time
According to statistics, it’s estimated that 38% of Americans have never had a passport.
While the number of passport holders in the U.S. has been growing, it’s still a pretty small number when you think about the population of the U.S. as a whole.
Right off the bat, one of the benefits of studying abroad is that for many, it may be the first reason in their life to get a passport.
Depending on where you are in the world, I have heard that European people tend to get these items sorted out almost as soon as possible in childhood, but for Americans – it’s not as big on the priority list for various reasons.
Though there’s nothing predominantly wrong with that, and not every single American gets a passport until adulthood – the truth of the matter here is that for many American students, studying abroad will force you to have a reason to get a passport sooner rather than later.
In a world so culturally rich, with amazing foods to try, people to meet, and lessons to learn, a passport is the first thing to get in order to have access to it all.
Traveling as a student is a unique experience
One of the many specific reasons to study abroad during college is that after years and years of academic studying, theoretical learning, and taking tests on memorized subjects – it’s time to apply it all to the real world!
Your critical thinking skills will come into play after years of studying at home, in the real world. Legit.
Additionally, while studying abroad in college, you’re naturally in a state of learning and receiving/deciphering information, meaning you’ll learn and absorb your surroundings in a new city in curious and thought-provoking ways.
Studying abroad complements your studies and what you’re learning in school. Why? Because you’re not only learning the academics lessons you’d be learning in school, but also the social and cultural lessons unique to your city.
To study abroad is to apply your studies, and to heighten your chances of learning and understanding concepts better than reading about them in school.
Also, when it comes to figuring out how to finance your study abroad trip, it’s much easier to find scholarships and free money to put towards your study abroad program – something that after college is just not much of a reality.
Imagine getting free money to travel the world, and study what you would in books at home, at the actual places? You don’t because that’s studying abroad for you.
Read More: How To Save Money To Study Abroad
Visualizing life after college
There is a future beyond college, and sometimes (I was here too) we forget about it because we are unsure of what life post-graduation will look like.
Whether it’s countless school assignments, club involvement, resume building, professional networking, and thinking about the question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” – it can be easy to lose touch with reality and life outside the student box.
However, studying abroad can lead to many breakthroughs, personal growth in big ways, and getting to know yourself to see yourself outside of campus, and out in the real world. This is important.
When studying abroad and having international experiences, and being inspired by the world and travel, you can reframe the question from “what do I want to be when I grow up?” to “what kind of lifestyle do I want to live?” and trust me, this can change everything.
Sometimes, when you study abroad, you meet very interesting new people that will shine a light on a different way of life that can offer you different life possibilities and outcomes than what you’ve always known back home, or what school has taught you.
These opportunities can offer you different possibilities after college, and considering the world other than just your country or state when it comes to what your plans post-college will be.
You’ll see that the saying – “the world is your oyster” finally makes sense because studying abroad can open your eyes to see opportunities for a fulfilling life anywhere in the world.
Getting to know yourself and being proud of yourself
Another inspiring reason to study abroad is for the immense amount of growth you will experience while studying abroad.
There will be many occasions where you will surprise yourself.
You’ll learn about yourself, and you’ll appreciate yourself.
Accomplishment after accomplishment, traveling forces you out of your comfort zone.
There will be many occasions where you will have to step out of old stories and limiting beliefs you’ve had about yourself whether it’s asking a stranger for directions, ordering a coffee in a foreign language, or getting around a new city in a foreign country on your own.
The more you put yourself out there, the more proud of yourself you’ll become.
And with getting to know yourself, learning more about what you like and don’t like in your new surroundings, different ideas and possibilities start forming in your mind about your future.
You’ll start to see yourself differently, and realize just what you’re capable of to go for it. Whatever that is for you.
This is huge, life-changing, and empowering AF.
Gain professional skills and real world experience
You know, that real-world experience that jobs are asking for…this is it!
Another one of the many reasons to study abroad is the fact that studying abroad is quite literally that real-world experience that jobs are seeking out.
You don’t even know how good it looks on resumes, and how every single part of studying abroad is a lesson and a transferable skill that you can offer in a position of a job you want.
Not to mention the confidence that you’ll come back home with after navigating a new city, making new connections, having conversations with those new connections, and learning more about yourself, and then some! Employers want to see that self-assurance, and studying abroad is a way to work on that and own it!
Studying abroad is the sweet taste of independence and freedom beyond what you could get at home, in the comfort of the familiar.
It will show when you start going in for interviews.
Meeting amazing new people
You never know who you may meet while studying abroad.
Whether it’s students within your same program that you’ll get to learn more about, share experiences with, and bond with, or it’s city locals that will give you amazing cultural insight and possibly serve as professional connections down the line, or it may be that you meet the love of your life while studying abroad.
It’s all possible!
The point is that connecting with, making friends, and having conversations with people from different backgrounds, life experiences, and points of view, is one of the best experiences and gifts that comes from a study abroad experience.
For instance, you may meet someone who may talk to you about their job, their gap year, or their plans for post studies, which may inspire you to think outside the box.
You’ll get to ask questions, and likewise, you’ll get to share your experiences, and plans with people.
And at the end of the day and after the study abroad program has ended, it’ll be amazing to look back and remember those conversations, those ideas that came about from those conversations, and even still keep in touch with a few of those new people that are now friends.
Studying abroad is the perfect stepping stone to traveling internationally if you’ve never done it before
This one goes hand in hand with getting your passport for the first time when applying to study abroad, but it’s a good one!
Many times, just like with getting a passport, and with other things in life, it’s good to take that first step with others so you can learn from it and do it yourself afterward.
Studying abroad with a group of students, or taking classes and being based in one city for the duration of your trip, will give you the “training wheels” to feel comfortable with all that travel brings.
Possible culture shock, adjustments, making foreign friends, learning a new language, trying new foods and experiences, learning about a new culture, how to pay with foreign money, reverse culture shock, etc.
If your study abroad program is the first time you’re going to be traveling internationally, then congratulations because you’re about the enter an endless love affair with travel and the love of exploring the world.
It really takes one international trip to start building confidence in yourself as a traveler, increasing your love of travel and beating out any kind of travel fears or doubts.
Your study abroad journey will further launch you into more travel – with friends or by yourself in the future.
The start of your love affair with travel, freedom, and independence like never before
Take this as a warning because 10/10 times you’ll come back from your study abroad experience with a different perspective of yourself, your home country, and where you see yourself in the future.
Having experienced the world once, you cannot simply go home to go home and get on with your original plans.
Travel always changes something within, and it gets reflected in your life in one way or another.
Whether it’s getting bit by the travel bug and wanting to travel more, it may be wanting to change your career or job outlook, or simply deciding to continue school, but looking at programs abroad.
Whatever it is, travel inspires in some way, and eventually, you’ll see how it does in your life post-study abroad.
Read More: You Studied Abroad – Now What??
Concluding thoughts on 8 inspiring reasons to study abroad in college
I hope this post inspired you to think/consider/reconsider/figure out how to make study abroad part of your college and life experience.
I have many more reasons with personal examples of just how much my study abroad experience changed my life, for the better, and how it has influenced me to this day.
These reasons just scratch the surface of what is available to you when you decide to study abroad, so I hope that it has inspired you.
Please let me know down below what your dream city to study abroad in is! If you have any questions on study abroad, please leave them down below and I will also answer them.
To more travel moments like these,