Though I had a wonderful college experience, looking back, there are a few things I would have changed. For one, I would have been more social and gotten involved with clubs and activities more than I did. I would have "seized the day" more and spent more time experiencing things rather than studying and finally, I would have studied abroad. Now that I’m married with kids, traveling overseas for three months simply isn’t feasible. My little sister — who’s currently in college — does plan on studying abroad in the next few years, and I couldn’t be more supportive. Here are five reasons you may want to consider studying abroad.
Most college students aren’t tied down and have very few bills. Take advantage of this! Once you’re out of college, you’re an adult and will become fully responsible for your living expenses, career, budget and life. College is the one time where you can take advantage of student loans (although ideally you can save up before traveling abroad instead of relying on loans) and work part time as a server or in some other fun environment when overseas.
Think back on the past year of your life — what do you remember most? Chances are it was a vacation, an event, a concert or even an incredible date. Chances are it was not a fancy new dress, a big test or even the day you bought a new car. Experiences are what we remember most. They affect us in ways we can’t imagine and shape who we are today. A good experience won’t be forgotten—and you’ll most likely learn valuable life lessons you wouldn’t otherwise have learned by staying in the U.S.
The more you have on your resume, the better. Studying abroad shows you’re well-rounded and not afraid to take a chance. Unfortunately, only 1 percent of U.S. citizens enrolled in college actually study abroad. If you’re in that 1 percent, though, your resume is certain to stand out from the pack. You’ll have a better understanding of global issues, you’ll develop excellent people skills and you’ll have a significantly larger number of people in your network.
There’s no better way to pick up a new language than by being surrounded by it every day. For example, even though most of us go through elementary and high school taking a foreign language, very few of us can actually speak it. Unless you’re actually in the environment and it’s the only means of communicating, you likely won’t remember anything. Use your language skills to your advantage — it also will make you a better candidate for future jobs!
In college, most students are still attached to their parents in some way or another, whether it’s financially, emotionally or just relying on them to wash your clothes. Studying abroad forces you to experience the world on your own and develop the skills necessary to live an independent life. You’ll learn skills that you’ll use for the rest of your life and become increasingly comfortable in your own skin.
The biggest challenge of studying abroad is the expense, so make sure to look into scholarship opportunities if this is something you’re seriously considering.
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