Traveling abroad is an opportunity that not all college students come upon. Depending on your major and what’s required for you to graduate, you may not have the time or money to pack up your things and fly somewhere new.
If you do come across the opportunity to travel abroad, you’re part of a select and blessed bunch of students! Traveling abroad can open your eyes to a variety of different things, and it’s most definitely an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should travel abroad while you’re in school, consider the following aspects and see if they help make your decision a little bit easier!
1. Traveling abroad could advance your career
There’s something about the candidate who lists internship experience, extracurricular activities, and…the fact that he or she studied abroad for a semester. Traveling abroad shows that you’ve had some experiences in life, and you’re a well-rounded individual. Knowing about another culture—especially if you know the language—can increase your career opportunities by quite a bit.
Many cities in the U.S. have grown into multicultural centers that are in great need of people who have experience integrating into other cultures. The need for bilingual employees has also grown, so if you’re able to show that you have experience spending time in another country, you’ll definitely have a competitive edge over others applying for the same job.
2. You could learn a new language
Depending on the country that you choose to study abroad in, you might be able to learn a whole new language. Being immersed in the culture itself is one of the best ways you can learn to become fluent—or at least pretty adept at understanding what people are saying and getting your point across. Different cities and different regions have different dialects and wording that you won’t learn about in class. If you stay with a host family while you’re studying abroad, you’ll have a safe place to ask all your questions and grow in understanding the language over a long period of time.
Having the ability to list that you’re bilingual on your resume will put you leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. Even if the job you’re hoping to work doesn’t require that you speak another language, the fact that you can do so shows that you have the perseverance to learn a new and challenging skill, and you’re willing to try and do something tough.
Whether you already have a good grasp on another language or you’ve hardly spoken three words of it before, studying abroad will equip you with the right tools to learn a new language in a really unique and wonderful way.
3. You’ll learn about a new culture and different types of people
It’s really fascinating to grow up in one culture your whole life and then suddenly be transported to a completely different type of environment. Living in another country will expose you not just to a different language, but also the different ways people live: the food they eat, the transportation they take, the values they have, and the cultural norms that are expected.
While American culture might value certain things, other countries have vastly different values, and this may change how you decide to approach life as you continue to grow and learn about the differences people have. You’ll gain perspectives you couldn’t have planned for, and you’ll probably make a lot of new friends.
4. Traveling abroad will help you learn more about yourself
Studying abroad will give you a sense of independence unlike anything you’ve experienced before. You won’t be within driving distance of your friends and family anymore, but this might actually be a really good thing for a season. Traveling overseas for a whole semester will give you the opportunity to make a whole host of decisions and try a lot of different and adventurous things without the immediate input of your family.
Spending that time in another country may help you discover what you truly enjoy and what unique skills you have that you may not have noticed if you stayed in your familiar, comfortable environment. Studying abroad can help shape you into an independent, adventurous adult who has the skills to succeed in your future career.