Study Abroad

10 Reasons Why Every Student Should Study Abroad

From career growth to language skills, there are many reasons to study abroad. Read on to find out why every student should study abroad!

Two travelers walking together

You’re probably wondering whether study abroad is as life changing as people make it out to be, but the hype is real! From gaining skills to aiding professional development, enabling self-reliance and independence, and forming connections with lifelong friends or future colleagues, the benefits of studying abroad are immense.

Read on to find out 10 impactful benefits of studying abroad!

1. Cultural immersion expands your perspective

Reasons to Study Abroad - Gabriella, Ecuador Study Abroad Semester

Rather than merely scratching the surface of a location, cultural immersion means that you’re actually integrating with the local community, building empathy, and gaining an appreciation for connection through long-term travel. Many programs also offer the option of living with a host family for the duration, which is another fantastic way to authentically experience your host country.

Exposure to another culture’s traditions, stories, and customs will diversify your worldview. We can learn a lot from other cultures’ ways of living and even find ways to grow and challenge our own views. You may learn to adopt some cultural traits to become a better person or see what aspects you can incorporate into your life back at home.

"I’ve made so many new friends through this experience and it has completely transformed the way I travel." - Olivia, Seoul Internships with Beyond Academy

2. You can take unique classes you wouldn’t be able to take back home

Another reason to study abroad is that it will allow you to take modules and classes which you otherwise would not be able to at home. Every university has a few classes that are unique to the school.

Whether you want to study indigenous cultures in New Zealand, Spanish in Spain, or wildlife management in Australia, specific countries will allow you a more educational experience both inside and outside the classroom.

Read more: 10 Best English-Speaking Universities for International Students

"Costa Rica is one of the best places to study sustainability and the environment, which is what my program was focused on. I was able to learn about current environmental problems on a global and local scale and spend time on field trips learning from Costa Ricans who run local sustainable farms, wastewater treatment facilities, and more." - Madison, CIEE Monteverde Summer Study Abroad

3. You can learn history and better understand your field through immersive experiences

Whether you’re going to Europe, Asia, South America, or anywhere else in the world for your studies, another benefit of going overseas is being able to learn about the history of the location while being there. Immersive experiences can allow you to see firsthand the cultural significance and impact of historical events in a particular country.

Another reason to study abroad from an academic perspective is that you’ll gain practical knowledge in your field of study and go beyond the textbook. For example, If you’re studying art or art history in Italy, you can visit Michelangelo’s David, the Last Supper, and other notable works in-person.

Or if you're studying fashion in Paris, you may get the opportunity to attend prestigious fashion events such as Paris Fashion Week.

“For my core class, I took the History of Paris Through Architecture. This was by far my favorite course as most of the classes are out exploring the city. We would have walking lectures going from sight to sight and learning about the why and how each building was constructed.” - Jasper, CEA CAPA Education Abroad in Paris, France

4. Could potentially save money on tuition

Tuition fees can be expensive, but they vary from one country to another and studying abroad offers you the potential to save money on tuition. Germany, Norway, and France in particular are known for their low tuition fees when compared to other countries. Germany, for example, is rife with public universities which offer lower tuition fees (sometimes zero tuition fees!) than in the US, for example.

Furthermore, even if tuition fees are similar to universities or programs back home, the cost of living may be lower, allowing you greater saving potential. Additionally, you have the opportunity to win study abroad scholarships and grants! Applying for a scholarship and grant offers you the chance to greatly reduce your expenditure when studying abroad.

Read more: 11 Secrets to Winning Study Abroad Scholarships

5. Your independence grows as you leave your comfort zone

Traveling and living abroad is no easy feat; It puts you in entirely new situations and environments, forcing you to rely on yourself and be quick on your feet. In that sense, studying abroad forces you to leave your comfort zone and learn to start a new life on your own in a place far from your safety net.

During your time abroad, expect to learn more about yourself, discover new interests, and gain a greater appreciation for all the support your family has given you up until now. You’ll develop cross-cultural communication skills, gain cultural awareness, become a stronger critical thinker, and learn to quickly problem-solve. You’ll learn much more about yourself than you would studying at home.

Read more: How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Study Abroad

"I cannot even explain how thankful I am that I chose to study abroad with AIFS in Barcelona, Spain during the Spring 2020. This program changed my life and I felt that I grew so much as a person." - Hayley, AIFS Abroad in Barcelona

6. You’ll gain international experience and a global network

International experience never goes amiss on a job or college application. Very few people have international experience, this will give you the edge in competitive industries and fields. International experience at a young age signifies independence, confidence, social skills, organizational skills, and so on, which are highly desirable qualities for an employer who wants to hire someone who is intuitive.

Studying abroad also gives you the opportunity to meet others from around the globe and grow your network, both personal and professional. Depending on what your host institution’s policies are on research and internships, going overseas may also help you get your foot in the door for future work opportunities in your field.

“Adelante offered support that allowed me to thrive in my internship while encouraging autonomy for an authentic abroad experience.” - Matt, Medical Internship Seville

7. Learning a new language can open doors

If you already know the basics of another language or have always wanted to learn, this is your opportunity! There truly is no better way to master a language than to move to a country where it’s the predominant and official language. By immersing yourself in the country, language, and culture, you’ll learn to gain fluency significantly faster than any other language learning approach.

It’s best if you have a basic understanding of the language before jumping into a fully immersive language experience; however, many programs are designed for novices and many universities around the globe even offer classes in English.

"Since moving to Alicante, my Spanish knowledge and conversational skills have improved more than I could have ever imagined." - Kamryn, USAC: Spain, Alicante program

8. It’s a unique way to travel the world

An obvious benefit of studying abroad is that you’ll visit places you’ve never been to. Not only do you get to travel the world, you get to live abroad, rather than skip through countries without gaining meaningful insight into cultural life.

You’ll also find that it’s easier and eco-friendlier visit nearby countries while you’re studying abroad. For example, if you study abroad in Europe, you can take a train to nearby countries without needing to increase your carbon footprint or spending thousands on flights! In the age of climate anxiety, this is the most ethical way to travel.

“Some of the amazing excursions that I have been able to do through TEAN and ISA were going to Cairns in Queensland and seeing the Great Barrier Reef. I have been able to go surfing, and also watch a professional AFL game. This is just a few of the many extra excursions and activities TEAN provides for their students abroad” - Libby, TEAN Study Abroad in Perth, Australia

9. You'll develop life-long friendships

One of the benefits of going to university is that you’ll meet new people. When you study abroad, you’ll meet other like minded globetrotters who share interests in cultural immersion, learning languages, and more. This also creates connections that can lead to travel opportunities all over the globe!

However, not only will you meet other international students, you’ll make friends with members of the local community. In addition to wholesome friendships, these people can introduce you to hidden gems, cultural insights, and language development.

“I still keep in touch with the friends I made during my year abroad and have visited a few of them in their home countries in addition to reuniting with my host siblings as adults in various European countries.” - Marina, AFS Year and Semester High School Abroad in Italy

10. Become a global citizen

The world won’t seem so small after you’ve studied abroad. However, the more you travel, the more you’ll realize just how complex the world is, and how your home culture is just a sheer microcosm.

Living and studying abroad will challenge your perspective. You’ll come to understand that cultures are highly complex and ponder questions which you hadn’t ever considered. You’ll understand more about how the world works, for better or for worse, and you’ll come to terms with cultural beliefs and etiquette which you at first didn’t understand or agree with, making you more spiritual, understanding, and self aware.


Reap the benefits of studying abroad!

As you now know, the benefits of study abroad are multivarious! Whether you hope that your study abroad facilitates personal, professional, or educational growth, or a combination of each, you’ll find many reasons as to why you should study abroad.

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