Studying abroad is kind of a big deal: you have to say goodbye to your tiny campus bubble, your best friends, and your dog to embark on an educational adventure overseas. But if you're going for the reasons below, getting on that plane is totally worth it.

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  • Discover other cultures: Different foods, religions, traditions, and more: you know you're about to encounter some new ways of living life! But you might have more in common than you think, and those commonalities may be the ultimate way to make yourself more aware of the world around you.
  • Gain independence: Even when you're at school, mom and dad can still visit for a weekend and do your laundry. Going to another country forces you to do everything--yes, everything--on your own. Even the cultural and language barriers will force you to fend for yourself, but it'll totally help prepare you for that even more daunting "real world."
  • Learn about your own country: Maybe you grew up in New York City and think it's the biggest city in the world. Then you study abroad in Beijing, China. Your opinion will quickly change. Trust us.
  • Learn about yourself: There's no better way to discover who you are as a person than by taking yourself out of your comfort zone. You'll discover new food, hobbies, places, and people that pique your interest in a way that never could happen in your hometown.
  • Make friends: More than likely, you'll bond with fellow Americans when you're trying to figure out how to say "I need to go to the bathroom" in a new language. Additionally, you'll meet some people from around the world, so keep them close to forge new friendships--and become more fluent in the language!
  • Save some money: That's right. Colleges overseas often have much lower tuition, allowing you to save up for weekend travel. Not only that, but some colleges allow you to apply your scholarships and grants towards study abroad and/or travel expenses. If you do the appropriate research, you might end up saving some dough.
  • Visit exotic places: Walking the streets of Rome on Google street view does not count as exploring the world. Studying abroad enables you to see the wonders of the world and the sites that have defined civilizations. And earn class credit. Not too shabby, huh?
  • Work experience: Employers overseas are more than willing to hire industrious American student interns, and they know you didn't travel 2,000 miles just to file papers and make coffee. Expect to gain relevant work experience and skills (perhaps even more so than in a domestic job) while also getting to know a foreign work culture.
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