Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences during your college years. From gaining a new perspective and immersing yourself in another culture to making international connections and expanding career opportunities, there are so many benefits to studying overseas. However, the prospect can also seem daunting – from being far from family and friends to navigating a new educational system in another language. If you’ve dreamed of taking your education global, don’t let the challenges stop you from turning it into a reality.

Why You Should Study Abroad

There are countless reasons why you shouldn’t give up on your dreams of studying abroad. Here are some of the top benefits:

Grow academically: Study abroad programs allow you to take courses not offered at your home university and gain new subject matter expertise. You’ll bring this expanded knowledge back to the classroom when you return.

Develop global competence: Immersing yourself in another culture and navigating daily life in a foreign place will give you a greater understanding of how others worldwide live. This “global competence” is a key skill sought after by employers.

Stand out to employers: International education shows resourcefulness, independence, and other qualities desired by hiring managers. Many companies also value the ability to thrive in diverse settings.

Gain a new perspective: Stepping out of your comfort zone by living abroad pushes you to open your mind to different worldviews. You’ll return home with a broader perspective.

Improve language skills: Becoming fluent in another language takes complete immersion. Studying abroad gives you that opportunity, allowing you to achieve proficiency.

Build cultural awareness: Living in and learning about a new culture first-hand leads to greater cultural awareness and sensitivity. This allows you to collaborate across cultures.  

Expand your network: Studying overseas lets you connect with fellow international students, professors, and locals, giving you a global professional and social network.

Reasons to Study Abroad

If you’re on the fence about studying abroad, consider all the ways it can enrich your college experience and prepare you for future success:

Personal Growth: Studying abroad fosters independence, self-confidence, and other traits by pushing you outside your comfort zone. You’ll return more well-rounded.

Resume Building: International education stands out on a resume and gives you an edge over other applicants. It shows your global competence, flexibility, and other desired qualities.

See the World: What better time to travel the world than as a student? Studying abroad gives you the chance to experience other countries and cultures while earning your degree.

Career Opportunities: Many global companies look for candidates with international education and value the unique skills gained from studying abroad. It can open doors.

Language Skills: Becoming fluent in a second language takes immersion. Studying abroad gives you a huge advantage over classroom learning alone.

New Perspective: Being immersed in another culture and way of life pushes you to open your mind and understand divergent viewpoints. You’ll gain perspective.

Life Experience: At no other time will you have the opportunity to live in another country for an extended period. Make the most of this chance while you can.

Networking: Build lifelong relationships with international peers, professors and locals during your time abroad. It’s an invaluable global professional network.

Stand Out: Return home standing out from fellow graduates by gaining international competencies. Show colleges and employers you took initiative.

Scholarships Available: Many study abroad scholarships and grants are available to help fund international education. Financial aid may also transfer from your home university.

Popular Study Abroad Destinations

With hundreds of universities around the world hosting international students, where should you consider for your study abroad experience? Here are some of the most popular and promising destinations:

United Kingdom: The UK is a top choice for studying abroad thanks to prestigious universities offering programs taught in English, as well as vibrant cosmopolitan cities like London.

Spain: Studying in Spain allows you to improve foreign language skills while experiencing the culture. Spain’s affordable tuition and living costs are also big benefits.

France: France has some of the most iconic universities in the world. Getting a degree here gives you an impressive credential along with access to French culture.

Australia: Australia welcomes thousands of international students each year with its English-taught programs, warm weather and laidback lifestyle.

Italy: Studying in Italy gives you the perk of experiencing la dolce vita. Italy’s history, cuisine, art and scenery make for an unforgettable abroad experience.

Germany: Known for academic excellence, Germany has become an increasingly popular study destination with affordable or free tuition at its public universities. 

China: Studying abroad in China offers exciting opportunities to build language skills and experience massive economic growth firsthand.

South Korea: South Korea is a tech-savvy, modern nation with dynamic urban centers like Seoul and Busan, along with over a dozen prestigious universities.

Ireland: Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, castles and vibrant modern cities like Dublin make it a dream for many international students.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re considering studying abroad, you probably have some lingering questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How can I afford studying abroad?

In addition to your existing financial aid which may transfer overseas, many specific study abroad scholarships and grants are available to help fund your program costs and travel expenses.

What paperwork is required?  

It depends on the country, but typical paperwork includes passport, student visa, proof of university enrollment, financial documents and medical reports. The study abroad office can help guide you.

Can I earn academic credit?

Yes, most study abroad programs are set up where you earn credits that will transfer back to your home university and count towards your degree.

How will studying abroad impact graduation timeline?

If planned right, studying abroad should not delay your graduation. Talk with your academic advisor to make sure required courses are available overseas.

What is culture shock and how can I cope?

Culture shock is the disorientation you may feel when experiencing deep cultural differences. It’s normal. Focus on keeping an open mind, being patient with yourself, and connecting with others.

How safe is it to study abroad?

In general, studying abroad is very safe, especially through reputable programs. Be smart and aware of your surroundings like you would at home. Your program will have support services available.

Will study abroad help my career?

Yes! International education helps develop skills desired by employers like independence, problem-solving and cultural awareness. It also demonstrates your global competence on your resume.

How do I choose the right study abroad program? 

Consider your academic and career goals, preferred location and duration, budget, housing needs, and any languages you want to learn when researching programs. Meet with your academic advisor early on when deciding.

Don’t let any fears or uncertainties stop you from embarking on the rewarding adventure of studying abroad. Planning, doing thorough research, and keeping an open mind can make your global education dream come true. The benefits will last a lifetime.