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Study abroad is one of the most exciting and rewarding things that you can experience in college. Did you know that only 1.7% of college students study abroad? Despite the low number, the number is increasing, particularly with minority students. Traveling has become this generations’ biggest aspirations because of travel bloggers and vloggers promoting their vagabond lives.
I’m very passionate about traveling. I honestly regret not studying abroad during my freshman year, but I had not much knowledge of it and no money. In my sophomore year, I traveled to the beautiful, amazing country of Greece for a month. I was also going to travel go to France this year, but everything got canceled due to the pandemic. (Yes, I cried).
Without studying abroad, I would have not gained the confidence to do a lot of things. I recommend each and every person to travel even if it in the US, but especially outside of the country.
College students have a greater advantage to travel because of study abroad programs and even internships. You should travel and explore this huge world. Imagine studying in Italy, Japan, or near the beach in Hawaii! You probably went to college to leave your hometown. And guess what? Study abroad allows you to escape your typical routine at your university.
Are you still curious? Doubtful?
Fine, I’ll convince you. Below are nine reasons to study abroad.
1. You get to travel.
Obviously. Everyone should travel. Whether you dream of being in the mountains in Colorado or in a quaint England town, you can do that while studying abroad. If you couldn’t imagine planning a whole two-week trip, someone else is doing that for you at your university. You’ll still get an education but in a different part of the world.
Programs range from spring and winter breaks, semesters, a few weeks, and a whole year. Miss your family and friends, there’s a trip short enough for you. Want to never step back on your college campus again? Spend each semester in a different country.
2. You will never have another experience like it
On my study abroad trip, we went to several places that we’ll most likely never see again. We had lectures in front of the Parathion. Learned some Greek. Saw where they shot an episode of Game of Thrones. I tried many foods (I love gyros and tzatziki). Experienced jet lag several times. Visited beautiful museums.
Okay, you get it. Overall, it was an experience I’d never had if I didn’t go. As a sheltered student who went to a university only a half-hour from my hometown, I never imagined doing any of those things.
If you want an experience like no other, go abroad. Save up all the money you can and go.
3. You will gain so many skills that you put on your resume or CV
Employers like seeing that you traveled. It shows that you can interact with a diverse group of people, communicate in a different language, adapt to new environments easily, and gives employers a memorable fact about you. Trust me, I’ve been asked about my trip to Greece a few times looking for a job (Yes, even in digital marketing).
Think about it in the future, an employer might want to send a few employees to a foreign office. They’ll remember that you went to *insert amazing country* and send you.
4. You’ll have fun and appreciate more
Clearly from reason #2, you’d probably realized that I had tons of fun. This is the main reason people choose to study abroad. We’ll have fun and forget about who we are back home. No doubt you’ll have some kind of fun.
Meanwhile, we also appreciate the simple things. I remember missing my single day alone during my one month across Greece trip. The trip packed so many activities and cities that I barely had time to myself. I also missed sugar. A lot of drinks in Europe don’t have the saccharine taste back in States. I also missed fast Wi-Fi.
5. You’ll gain confidence
I’ve been chasing confidence since college. This was one of my main reasons to study abroad. I attended talks on-campus from other students and watched countless YouTube. Everyone ended up saying something about gaining confidence. There are even studies about it.
I gained some confidence. I got random compliments and learned how to accept standing out. (Mind you, I’m a light-skinned skinny black girl with brown curly hair. I was going to stand out either way.)
Basically, you realize that you are now truly independent. No one to call to take you somewhere. You have to make friends on your own. Learn how to speak in a new language and sound weird af. Accept your mistake and improve it.
6. You’ll learn about a different culture and country
Regardless of your major or reason to go to college, you are there to learn something. I’m a little aspiring globetrotter. I’ll take any chance to go to work abroad or travel. Learning about different cultures helps you have sensitivity and understanding of cultures. You’ll have a refreshed look on life.
7. You’ll make new friends
You’re bound to make one friend on the trip. I know from my trip, I made a few. We were all living together for thirty days, so it was inevitable to not make at least one acquaintance. (I even made a few friends on the airplane and airport lines.)
Even students who live in another country on their own are bound to make some friends. International students tend to be more interesting and stand out. A lot of people are willing to learn about your country and why you left.
8. You might actually save money
Studying abroad has a reputation for being expensive. It can be. I’m not going to lie. It was pricey but it was worth it. I believe that if I went on a fall or spring semester, it’d be cheaper and my scholarships would have helped.
Despite the costs, you are your money’s worth. Most trips use student discounts to get you into some price places. Tuition in other countries is cheaper (or even free!) than here in the US. I know that a lot of out-of-state students told me that studying abroad was cheaper for them. You could save a couple of thousand dollars or have less debt after graduating.
If you travel abroad without student discounts, it’ll be much more expensive. I’m planning a trip in a year after I graduate back to Europe for a month and the prices are not pretty. This is one of my top reasons to study abroad. Cure your wanderlust at a lower price.
9. You’ll learn more about yourself
Finally, I realized that I love traveling and was fully capable of traveling. I saved up enough money to travel to a whole different country, booked my first international flight, and got my first scholarship. Most doubt I had washed away. Simply traveling made me become more aware of who I truly am.
Whatever your reason is to study abroad will be met. You’ll be throw in a completely new environment. You will become more self sufficient, question your life goals, and who are you.
I hope that you are now ready to start researching your university’s study abroad programs. Stop waiting and start planning. Start saving now and looking at flight prices. Spend a lot of time looking at websites like SkyScanner, TripAdvisor, Google Flights, and Expedia. I’ll write a whole post about how to plan your study abroad trip soon and how to save money.
Travel the world.
This post gave you some reasons to study abroad. Hopefully you are ready to start planning your study abroad trip!