Why Study Abroad?
Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad
- Learn about yourself. Students who study abroad return home with new ideas and perspectives about themselves and their own culture. The experience abroad often challenges them to reconsider their own beliefs and values. The experience may perhaps strengthen those values or it may cause students to alter or abandon them and embrace new concepts and perceptions. The encounter with other cultures enables students to see their own culture through new eyes.
- Expand your worldview. In comparison with citizens of most other countries, Americans tend to be uninformed about the world beyond the nation's boundaries. Students who study abroad return home with an informed and much less biased perspective toward other cultures and peoples.
- Understand your major in a new way. Don't limit yourself to language courses! Whether you're studying history, mathematics, architecture or biology, you can gain a new perspective--and maybe even a great thesis idea--while away from your home campus. Sit in on specialized classes, attend lectures, join a club and introduce yourself to faculty. Better yet, get an internship in your field while abroad.
- Develop skills and have experiences a classroom setting will never provide. Being immersed in an entirely new cultural setting is scary at first, but it's also exciting. It's an opportunity to discover new strengths and abilities, conquer new challenges, and solve new problems. You will encounter situations that are wholly unfamiliar to you and will learn to adapt and respond in effective ways.
- Learn another language. Nothing beats full immersion for language learning. Go beyond vocabulary, conjugations, and sentence structure. Get out of the classroom and actually practice speaking with locals and peers every day! Whether it be at the market, while using public transportation, or cooking with your host family, you're bound to not only learn another language but deepen your understanding of another people and culture.
- Enhance your career opportunities.
- Create a lifelong love affair with another country. Study abroad is not a short-term experience. It will shape you for the rest of your life. You'll know this country intimately, learn to speak its language and gain an appreciation for its people. Back home, you'll look for films from there, for restaurants that serve its dishes, for books by its authors. You'll perk up when it's mentioned on the news or when you hear a snippet of its language on the street. You'll have lived in it, and it will continue to live in you.
- Find out they're nothing like us. People in other countries don't just have a different word for every one of ours, to paraphrase Steve Martin. They really think differently than we do. The customer isn't always right. You don't have to form an orderly line. It isn't unfair to charge different people different prices. Soup is best at breakfast. It can be a little startling to have your assumptions tossed aside, but it's a good, if sometimes painful, learning experience.
- Find out they're just like us. No matter how foreign a country may seem, you're bound to have a moment when you're struck by how people everywhere are generally more alike than different. At our core, we're all driven by the same needs and wants. You may even recognize a little bit of Grandma in the shopkeeper or a touch of Uncle Joe in the hostel owner.
- Enhance the value of your degree. While abroad, you can take courses you would never have had the opportunity to take on your home campus. You also get the opportunity to experience your education. Don't just read about that famous painting in an arty history book. Go SEE it and visit the city the artist lived and created in.