7 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad
Being on the road again and enjoying these last two weeks before the semester starts up makes me miss what I would say was the best time of my life (to date). It’s been a little over 2 months since I’ve returned and each time I reflect on my semester of living in Madrid, Spain I feel compelled to go out and convince every single college student I know to study abroad. It’s a thought that crosses many college student’s minds but only very few go out and actually do it, usually because they fear it is too costly or does not exactly fit into their college plans. Well, this is me telling you that it is completely feasible and not as costly as you would think! If it even crosses your mind once, chase it! Do it! Take the plunge! If it doesn’t cross your mind, here are 7 reasons why you should consider studying abroad:
A view of Madrid from Circulo de Bellas Artes
1. You learn a new culture (and language)
It is so easy to be content with what you already know and are comfortable with but there is so much of the world you must see. There is no better way to do this than completely immersing yourself in a new culture (and language). No amount of language classes will ever compare to the experience you get from actually living and breathing the culture everyday. Your language comprehension improves exponentially because you are forced to practice on a daily basis in order to go about everyday life.
2. It empowers you
When you choose to study abroad, you are willingly opting to step far out of your comfort zone. You are suddenly placed in a whole new world and you have to learn how to make a whole new life for yourself. You are surrounded by a new culture and new people and you somehow figure out a way to thrive in this new environment. Just imagine the kind of feeling that would give you. It gives you a new and very empowering kind of confidence, the kind that makes you feel like you can do anything even after the semester.
3. It gives you an edge
Studying abroad in itself gives you an impressive edge in the educational and professional world. Why? Because not a lot of people choose to embark on such a daunting endeavor. According to NAFSA, less the 1.5% of all students enrolled at institutions of higher education in the U.S. study abroad during their undergraduate years. Having “study abroad” on your resume automatically suggests that you are a unique breed of a college student. It tells a story about the kind of person you are without you even having to say a word. Plus it is definitely a conversation starter!
4. You meet amazing new people
The people you meet studying abroad will be some of the best people you will meet in your life and will become your very best friends (shout out to my abroad friends). You are surrounded by people who have the same mentality as you do, who just like you chose to step far out of their comfort zone. The feeling of finally being around people who see life the way you do is quite encouraging! I guarantee you the friendships you make abroad are life-long and you will always have a strong support system of friends who will be there for you even after your semester is over.
5. It makes you smarter
I’m not talking about textbook smart. The world is arguably the best classroom you will ever have. Granted you can definitely learn a lot in the comforts of your own home, nothing will ever compare to moving to a new country and learning (mostly teaching yourself) how to make it and survive. You learn how to think on the spot and problem solve the many obstacles that come your way, which will undoubtedly help you even way after your time abroad. I mean where else will you learn how to navigate your way around a brand new city without a phone, in a different continent for 2 weeks (after getting it stolen, will blog about this soon) or somehow find your way to your hostel in the Croatian wilderness (sans service or any sign of life for miles) in pitch darkness?
6. Travel, travel, travel!
Studying abroad gives you a chance to travel more than you ever have in your life. (Yes, studying is actually involved while Studying Abroad, had to learn that one the hard way). Depending on where you choose to study abroad, you have the chance to hop over to neighboring countries (maybe even continents) on a long weekend. If you choose to study abroad in Europe, you can literally score roundtrip flights for as low as 30 euros! When else in your life can you say that you hopped over to Africa for 40 euros or were able to take a bus to Barcelona for 12 euros? (Yes, my flights were actually this cheap)
7. A semester you will never forget
People have always told me that studying abroad will be the best semester of your life. Even before leaving, I knew they would be right but it is a completely different story actually watching it unfold before your eyes. I don’t think that there is a day goes by that I am not glad I chose to study abroad. It is the most incredible, life-changing experience you can choose to have and will give you a lifetime’s worth of memories that I assure you will never be able to forget.