When considering international education, you’ll more than likely hear recruiters say things like, “Studying abroad will change your life.” I’ll tell you one thing… they’re not wrong. Studying abroad is an incredibly enriching and unforgettable experience. It’s also the perfect opportunity (and in some cases, the only opportunity) you’ll get to travel for a lengthy period of time and truly embrace new cultures.
Below are five ways students gain a global outlook through international education. If you’re still wondering whether or not to study abroad, we say GO!
- Intercultural Development
Immerse yourself in another culture, gain insight on their beliefs and values, and embrace their native language. Studying abroad is recognized as the best way to learn a new language. If you happen to be travelling to North America, you will develop the universal language, English! Being bilingual will take you a long way. Many employers see this as a highly reputable skill. It is dependent on the length of your stay, however you will at least build a foundation of the language.
You’ll be exposed to new and exciting foods, and may even fall in love with certain dishes you didn’t know existed. Amongst many things, you’ll listen to unique music and experience local traditions. This will also be a great opportunity to teach others about your own culture. In a world that is becoming increasingly globalized, it’s important to understand different cultures around the world.
- Personal Growth
Studying abroad provides you with significant personal growth. Placing yourself in a new environment will encourage you to learn more about yourself. It can be difficult at times, but it’ll present you with life lessons which will teach you independence, confidence and maturity.
As an international student, you’re forced to step outside of your comfort zone, perhaps something you don’t tend to do at home. As defined by Lifehacker, “your comfort zone is a natural behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk.” While many students view stress and risk as negative terms, it’s important to push outside of your mental security. Not to say your comfort zone holds you back, but you do benefit from leaving it. This is ultimately the perfect way to add more excitement to your life and to change up your routine.
- Improve Your Resume
To live in a country outside of your own means to face a different language, a foreign culture and customs. This also means you must learn how to budget in a different currency, build relationships with others, explore the city with a new transit system, while being a student. Studying abroad says a lot about you on your resume. It highlights the fact you can adapt to new environments, are culture-sensitive, may be bilingual, are ambitious, and determined. This opens doors for different career opportunities. Employers like an individual who can offer a unique perspective in the workplace and who is open minded. By studying abroad, you develop a number of skills you wouldn’t otherwise have such as problem-solving, independence and global awareness. Not to mention you have incredible stories to share during interviews. All of these are invaluable assets that distinguish you from others and set you ahead.
- Build Your Network
Your personal network is a critical part of your success, not to mention the lifelong friendships you will create. These days, it’s simple to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world thanks to programs like Skype, Instagram, Facebook and of course our smartphones. It may seem like a challenge to meet other students and connect with them, but it really isn’t. Keep in mind everyone is in the same situation as you, nervous and excited but open to making friends. Whether you choose to join extra-curricular activities or attend events at school, you will build these friendships no problem. Many of the friendships you make will encourage you to continue your travels later in life. Having friends who lives at your travel destination grants you access to a local tour guide and perhaps free accommodations.
- New Perspectives
Beyond your comfort zone, you develop a positive and different way of looking at the world, your studies and yourself. The experience impacts your values and choices. Years may go by, but you will always think back to your studies abroad when it comes down to making a decision or perhaps just reflecting on memories. You will also gain an appreciation for the smaller things in life, such as your mother’s home-cooked meals. By studying abroad, you have everything to gain.
Interested in pursuing your international studies in North America? Click here to explore your options with ApplyBoard.
Adrianna Dyczkowsky, Public Relations Specialist at ApplyBoard