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10 Reasons to Study Abroad

OSAU Angel

If you are the kind of student who seeks for an adventure, then maybe studying abroad is the perfect way to fuel your need for adventure.  

Studying abroad is a dream for most of the students yet it is one of the most eye-opening, mind-bending and life-changing yet may be the most nerve-wracking experience ever. But at the same time, it may be one of the best experiences you will have as a college student. 

You will become a more wordlier person and also become more marketable to employers because of the skills you're going to have along the way. You are not just there to study, but you are there to experience something that you would not get in your own country.  

If you are thinking about it, here are a few reasons that might convince you: 

1. You will get to see the world and travel to other countries.

Studying abroad means you’ll be living in a new country. Although it may sound terrifying, this experience will let you see the world. You will get to explore what that country has to offer, from their traditions to their natural wonders.

In addition, you can also explore and visit the neighboring countries. For instance, if you plan to study at Thailand, you can also explore Myanmar, Vietnam, or Cambodia.  

Travelling is not alien to university students. Although studying abroad is not just an extended holiday, it is a great opportunity to travel. Also, the new friends you make at your host university will give you more people and places to visit in the future. 

However, remember that travelling can be expensive so perhaps look at getting a part time job before you go abroad so you can put aside some money.

2. Experience a new education system.

The educational system in other parts of the world may be very different from what you are used to. It is difficult to generalize but there may be less assigned work, fewer classes, and different expectations from and relationships with professors. Students are generally expected to take much more responsibility for shaping their academic program, and instructors provide relatively little guidance. 

Even in an American study abroad program, your professors will generally be local professors and their teaching styles may vary. Treat learning another academic culture like learning a new language. Ask, “What are the rules? Can I translate what I am experiencing into something I can understand?” Observe. Ask questions!

In many countries, students complete 13 years of education (instead of 12) before entering university, and a broad-based liberal-arts type of program exists only at the high school level. Students often begin their major in their first year at university, and they may be more advanced in their studies than a typical first-year student here; in addition, they generally study only one subject (or two, if they are doing a “joint degree” or interdisciplinary program).

Students are  often expected to take much more responsibility for shaping their academic program, and instructors provide relatively little guidance (for example, students may be expected to read widely from a long list of resources, with no specific assignments, and faculty may not be readily accessible outside of the classroom).

3. It can be more affordable.

Traveling overseas for school does not have to expensive as you think. Studying abroad can be cheaper than living and studying in the United States. Usually, tuition fees may be the same, depending on the school. Expenses outside the US such as food and transportation may be cheaper. 

But if you still think it is way out of your budget, there are a lot of scholarships that you can apply for. Tuition fees are now prohibitively high in the United Kingdom, so it is unsurprising that there has been a massive rise in students heading further afield to find cheaper fees and better experiences. The Netherlands was a popular place to study abroad in 2012 thanks to the €1,771 yearly tuition fee and the huge range of courses available. It also helps that virtually everyone speaks English so you can be gently introduced to the new language.

4. Embrace and immerse yourself in a new culture.

What better way to learn about a new culture than by living it? When you’re completely immersed in a culture, you see so much more in comparison to visiting a new place on holiday. We all grow up in our own culture and traditions so one of the best reasons to study abroad is to experience a different culture. 

Experiencing a different culture means eating their food and trying out what the locals do. This way, you’ll get a deep sense of understanding and appreciation of the people, traditions, and history of the country. Learning all about a new culture can also teach us so much more about our own culture when you have the experience to compare the two.

5. Learn and hone your foreign language skills.

One of the best ways to practice learning a new language is by talking to the locals, and there is no better way to do this than to go out there. Aside from the locals, your host university will also offer language classes. This way, you’ll get the best of both worlds when learning a new language. It’s best to learn languages while you are still young and your mind is flexible.

You also have the benefit of taking courses taught by skilled native teachers. You can also join a language exchange club or make an effort to converse with local acquaintances and friends in their language, which will speed up your language learning and open you up to more international opportunities.

6. Personal development 

Studying abroad will show a new side of you. You will start to appreciate even the little things that you have, you will become an explorer, and you will want to try out new things. Aside from that, living abroad will test you on how you adapt to different situations, but also, how you will able to solve your problems.  

Break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself with uncommon experiences that make you reconsider or strengthen your values. Get a better sense of who you are and what’s important. Discover what you want out of life. Become a more independent person. International travel shows you what you’re really made of.

7. Career opportunities

Throughout your study program, you will be able to gain a new perspective and understanding on culture, learn a new language, and appreciate the value of education. Having a degree is not the golden ticket to your dream job that it used to be. More people now have degrees making the graduate jobs market more competitive. Therefore, it is important for graduates to stand out from the crowd, and studying abroad is one of the factors that grabs employers' attention. 

According to Universities UK, students who go abroad are 9% more likely to gain a 2:1 or 1st and 24% less likely to be unemployed. There is good reason for this as studying abroad shows that you are willing to go out of your comfort zone, and that you can work in different environments alongside different types of people. It also gives you something different and interesting to talk about at interviews. Having a year abroad could give you the edge.

In some cases, a lot of students will decide to stay and seek job opportunities in their host country. Nevertheless, the possibilities are endless.

8. Build network of friends around the world.

Studying and living abroad will mean that you may have to start all over - even with looking for a friend. The great thing about this program, however, is that you are put in a similar position with five or more international students. Meaning, you instantly have friends from different parts of the world who joined the study abroad program for probably the same reasons that you did.

Oftentimes, universities also host special events for their international students in order to grant everyone the opportunity to make a new group of friends in their country.

The other advantage is that when you have a friend living at your travel destination, you get the added benefit of having a personal tour guide and maybe even free accommodation. 

9. Discover new interests.

When you immerse yourself in the culture, you will most likely discover a new interest, whether it’s in local music or the city’s biggest soccer team. If you are still questioning why to study abroad, you should know that studying in a different country offers many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home. You might find that you have an as-yet undiscovered talent for hiking, water sports, snow skiing, golf, or various other new sports you may never have tried back home.

You’ll also have the chance to discover other new and exciting forms of entertainment. Plays, movies, dancing, nightclubs, and concerts are just a few activities that you can enjoy.

It is in your best interest to keep an open mind and try new things. Maybe you will come to appreciate art or the architecture around you. Maybe your new interest will simply be to travel and keep learning. No matter what comes your way, do your best to at least give it a try before you move on to the next thing. And who knows? That new interest may influence the rest of your life.

10. You will gain independence.

Although university experience offers to grow professionally and personally, sometimes students miss out on recognizing their full potential by choosing the closest university to their home. The additional challenge of studying abroad is that you will pick up crucial "adulting" skills. 

When you move back home, you will be grateful because you learned how to pay bills, communicate with people from all walks of life and to take care of yourself. 

The mundane things that you walk past everyday at home might start to hold more value for you, and the elements of your culture that you longed for when you studied abroad can become very meaningful to you upon your return

You will be ready to put yourself in the driver's seat to face life's challenges making you more confident and assured.


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