Last year, almost 300,000 students from the United States studied abroad. Does that number surprise you? These students already know the benefits of study abroad. You may be wondering why YOU should study abroad. Here are some answers for you. Also check out Setting your Goals.
This is the absolute best time in your life to study abroad! You'll never get a better opportunity than right now. If you've ever thought about studying overseas, do it while you're in college. If you miss this window of opportunity, it's almost impossible to do later in life. Traveling overseas is just not the same.
To broaden your horizons and gain a new perspective
Open your eyes! Life in the USA is pretty much the same day in, day out. Life overseas makes you see your everyday world in a whole new light. You don't even realize it, but our culture shapes the way we view the world and affects us every minute of the day. Differences in culture are more than just differences in language, food, clothing, and art. Cultural differences reflect deeply ingrained perceptions about the world and about one's way of life, and these perceptions are radically different from one culture to the next. Americans don't tend to venture outside the confines of their day-to-day lives. Students who study abroad return home with a broadened and less biased perspective toward other cultures. You'll be more sensitive to what is happening in the news from places around the world.
To gain a better perspective about yourself
Studying abroad encourages you to question who you are. What are you passionate about? What are your limits? How do you overcome obstacles you've never before encountered? How far can you push yourself? How independent are you? These questions are hard to answer until you are removed from your usual surroundings. By leaving your "comfort zone" of life in the U.S., you'll get to know strengths you never before knew you had. After solving difficult problems on your own overseas, you'll find that almost nothing fazes you at home. Students who study abroad commonly report that their study abroad experience actually changed their life.
To gain a competitive edge after graduation
We live in a global world and potential employers are impressed when students have an international experience. It shows that you're motivated, inquisitive, assertive, flexible, independent, and willing to try new things - all very appealing qualities in an employee. People who study abroad tend to be willing to take risks, willing to put themselves in unusual situations, and able to overcome the fear of the unknown.
To learn things first-hand, for yourself
Let the world be your classroom! It's one thing to read about the culture of another country, but another entirely to experience it yourself. Things you had previously only read about in a book or learned about in a classroom will become your own personal experiences.
What Are Your Reasons? What Are Your Goals?
After considering these potential benefits, you must still ask yourself why you want to study abroad. Take some time to think about your reasons, for they will become your goals and your personal measures of success. You might want to learn about another culture, diversify your studies, or prepare for graduate school. Perhaps you want to learn a second language, or perfect one you already know. Maybe you want to travel and meet new people.