8 Reasons Every College Student Should Study Abroad
Senior year of college I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Greece with Queens College, CUNY for the winter semester. The college partnered with Hellenic American University in Athens to teach on Immigration, Nationalism and Citizenship in Greece.
If there is one thing I would have done differently in college, it would be to take advantage of studying abroad. I had an unforgettable time and learned a few things that I’d like to share with you.
Studying Abroad Will Give You A Competitive Edge
Nowadays, more and more employers are looking to hire people with some international experience/exposure to meet their cross-cultural business needs. A study abroad experience at the top of your resume will increase your employment prospects and may be the very reason your resume will not get pushed to the bottom of the pile. This experience will get you in the doors for an interview.
It’s The Easiest Time To Travel
It’s probably the only time you’ll spend 3weeks - 3 months exploring another country through the lens of a local, unless you plan on moving overseas. Studying abroad is also easier because there are lots of opportunities to avoid financial cost. In recent years I noticed that many colleges and external organizations are making a conscious effort to provide scholarship funding to students who are willing to tell compelling stories about their travel interest. If you really seek out these opportunities you could end up paying nothing for your trip.
Take A Break From Academic Routine
If you’re tired from academic routine and textbook learning, a study abroad is exactly what you need. Ninety percent of learning will happen outside of the classroom and you’ll still get your well earned credits. Also, if your school does not provide study abroad opportunities for a particular class, advocate for yourself and pitch your story to your professors on why you should be credited for studying abroad.
Cultivate New Friendships
What does your friendship circle look like? This is an opportunity to build your global friendship network. Diversity in friendships will teach you how to interact with people globally, learn their culture and dismiss bias stereotypes and the single story we hold about people and places.
Global Awareness Through Global Education
Don’t limit your worldview by the spaces you inhabit. What if the media only told you a single story of other countries? What if you could see the other side for yourself and though the eyes of the local citizens? Nothing beats personal experience. There is only so much one can learn from the media and textbooks. Studying abroad will allow you to understand first hand the social issues these countries face and how they are handled in comparison to your home country.
Independence and Managing Finances
If you are oceans away from home, chances are you will have to do a lot by yourself. Some exchange programs will allow you to live with locals while other programs will allow you stay in a hotel. You will learn to plan, budget and you will learn everything about exchange rates and currencies. Also, going to the grocery, doing laundry and learning to cook is no longer a chore.
You Will Discover Things About Yourself
Having to deal with new people and multiple personalities everyday will teach you a thing or two about yourself. Things you’re good at and things you'll need to work on. It will help you with your personal development. In addition, you will most likely discover new interests, you may even find your passion and change your major. You will most likely be inspired to travel the world.
It’s An Unforgettable Experience
Two years and six other countries later i’m still talking about my study abroad experience. Still posting pictures as feelings of nostalgia lingers. Still replaying in my head some of my very best moments like trespassing into a castle at 5:30am in the morning. When I visit restaurants or meet someone from the country I get super excited and I take that opportunity to practice the few basic words I remember, words like – Yasas, Kalimera and Kotoupolo
Would love to hear if you’re planning to study abroad, or somethings you learned from studying abroad. Please share in the comments below.