Studying abroad transformed me.
This past February, I traveled with a small group of students to Italy during my Spring Break. We explored Rome and Florence, and visited different textile museums and historical sites. It completely changed me in every way.
When I say it changed me, I'm not exaggerating. Studying abroad altered my entire perspective on the world and even how I viewed my own personal life. My trip to Italy taught me that the world is so massive, so beautiful, and that there is so much more to see than I ever imagined. I felt on top of the world. I felt... alive.
When most people think about studying abroad, they also think about the long months and how homesick they might get, or how they could never afford the cost. And, I totally get it - I felt that way too. But, I want to note that my study abroad experience was only for 10 days! So, if you are wary of the long semester away, look into smaller trips. Again, this experience changed my life in 10 days ... so take that into consideration if you worry about affording or managing a long trip.
Still need convincing? Here are five reasons why you should consider studying abroad, if you haven't already.
1. Exposure to new and different cultures
When you study abroad, you get to experience a whole new culture, or even multiple cultures, depending where you go. It's exciting to observe the people around you and to (attempt) to speak in another language. And, think of all the delicious food you get to taste! (Yes, it is true... the Italians make the best pasta you've ever tasted!)
2. A chance to see the world from a different perspective
Studying abroad can be very eye-opening because it offers the opportunity to live as part of a new culture. You can notice what is different, what you like, what you don't like. It introduces you to new ideas, politics, laws, music, knowledge, history, and subcultures. What's cool is that you ultimately reflect on your own culture's views and compare them. You may even wish there was something different about your own culture.
3. It looks great on your resume
Studying abroad looks fantastic on your resume because it shows that you can be responsible, even in a not-so-typical work environment - the experience makes you a little more well-rounded. It also tells potential employers that if they need you to travel for business, they can likely trust you to handle it.
4. You become more independent
When traveling, you have to navigate for yourself in a completely unfamiliar place. You'll need to use maps ... and unless you have international service or wifi where you are, you won't be able to use your Google Maps at all. This may sound like a drawback, but it actually is a plus! I loved not being able to really use my phone because I was fully engaged in my trip and not glued to my smartphone screen.
Also, unless you speak that country's language, studying abroad will force you to learn different phrases and words to help you in situations where you interact with others. A great example of this is when you're ordering at a restaurant or when you check into your hotel. If you spend more time in a country or learn the language ahead, you'll likely get far beyond those basics and get to engage with locals on a deeper level.
5. You're YOUNG!
DO IT NOW! Life is short, go live! Explore the world! As we get older, we tend to settle into our lives and think that we should just stay put, so college is the BEST time to get out there. There are just some things you can't do when you're older, so do them now while you're healthy and mobile.
To add onto this, since you're young and still a college student, you can likely use financial aid to cover the costs of the trip (most colleges will cover it) and there are so many scholarships that are solely for studying abroad. It's likely more affordable to go now than it will be later.
What do you think?
If you have been debating on studying abroad, I hope this has given you the boost of whatever you needed to make that decision. Or, if you haven't looked into it, I hope you do. Even if it's a short study abroad like mine, it's worth it. Now go see the world!
What did you think about this post? Have you studied abroad? Would you study abroad? Where did you go?! We want to know! Let us know in the comments!