Going to college is an incredible experience—you get to make lifelong friends, take awesome classes, and plan for an incredible future. College also opens doors for new experiences like internships or study abroad. Studying abroad is on many students’ bucket lists, and it should be on yours too! Here are seven reasons to study abroad while you’re in college.
1. New ways to learn
Your education should be the #1 reason you want to study abroad. After all, this isn’t just a vacation to a new country—you’re there to learn. Going somewhere new to explore your major can teach you things your home country can’t. The biggest benefit in learning from new people is learning things in different ways from different perspectives. If you want to study abroad, consider doing it early in your college career, especially if your desired major isn’t taught abroad; that way you can take general education classes abroad and save your major-specific classes for your school back home.
2. Personal development
Studying abroad provides many opportunities for you to learn more about yourself. Maybe you’ll learn how you react in stressful situations, take up a new hobby, or discover your independence. Being far from home can be a tough adjustment at first, whether it’s because you miss your family or the ease and familiarity of your home country. But the experience and the things you’ll learn about yourself make it worth it.
3. Travel opportunities
While studying abroad is travelling, you’ll also have more chances to travel while you’re there. For example, if you decide to study abroad in France, you can make weekend trips to Italy, Germany, or Belgium during your program. If you’re studying abroad in the states, maybe you’ll take a trip from Boston to see New York City or Washington, DC. The vast opportunities for travel is one of the most enticing reasons for students to study abroad.
4. Experiencing new cultures
Traveling to new places also means you get to experience new cultures. Wherever you go, there is bound to be a culture shock. Even if you travel somewhere that speaks your native language, you’re bound to hear new slang terms you don’t recognize. You’ll probably be disoriented by the city, the metro, the food, and the fashion. It may make you feel uneasy at first, but let yourself experience it fully! You’ll probably love it by the time you leave.
5. Learning a new language
Some students choose a specific country or city because they want to increase their knowledge and fluency of the language. If you’ve taken four years of Mandarin, for example, you may choose to study somewhere in England or Asia because you’re familiar with a language spoken there. Studying somewhere with a different language adds a new level of difficulty to your experience, but it also shows future employers and grad schools that you’re capable of accepting challenges.
6. Internship opportunities
During your time abroad, you may decide to take on an internship while there. This could make your course load seem a bit tighter, but internships can help rocket you to a career later on, especially an international internship. Before you start your study abroad program, take some time to research and apply for internships in the area you’re interested in.
7. Making friends
Studying abroad also gives you the chance to meet people and make new friends from all over the world. You’ll have the opportunity to learn and travel together during your time abroad and make lasting memories together. And thanks to the power of social media, you can stay in touch long after you head back home.
Related: The Ultimate Study Abroad Timeline
Ultimately, if you’re looking for more out of your college experience, studying abroad is one of the best options. You’ll come back cultured, well traveled, and independent.
Use our Lists and Rankings to find the best study abroad locations and programs.