The best way of finding out about another culture is by immersing yourself in it, and you can only do that by living in a country. Once you are working, your holiday or experiences overseas might be limited to only two to four weeks per year so studying abroad is a great opportunity to remain in a country and learn all about it over a longer period of time.
It’s likely that the Language School, College or University you choose for your international studies will have a large community of students both from the local area and all around the globe. If you take full advantage of this opportunity, you could graduate having established lasting friendships with people based in many different countries – great for future trips, and also a good basis for an international professional network.
Being part of an internationally diverse academic community can also enhance the quality of your learning, providing a wider spectrum of opinions and expertise.
The experience of university is, for most new students, a steep learning curve in gaining independence. But studying abroad takes that a whole step further, challenging students to really develop as individuals. You obviously have to cope on your own when you are studying abroad. You have to be able to look after yourself and sort out your own affairs and solve your own problems and deal with the challenges as they come.
Studying abroad may well change the way you view all kinds of things which you’d previously taken for granted. Studying abroad provides an opportunity to expand one’s field of view and helps one to understand and analyze problems and phenomena from a longer-term, worldwide perspective. Moreover, long-term experience in other cultures has a tendency to help one think objectively about oneself and one’s home country, tolerate differences, and recognize and appreciate diversity.
Students are more open to new knowledge and expertise when abroad, and that knowledge is often more easily applicable and adaptable to situations requiring international interaction; thus one can expect to be more competitive in today’s era of globalization.
Studying abroad is likely to enhance your future job prospects. Employers are looking to graduates to have international experience either by studying or working abroad. Now there are many more opportunities to study and work abroad, or stay on and work afterwards.
Anyone who is able to put on their resume that they studied abroad is at a great advantage in terms of impressing future employers. At a very basic level it will give you something to talk about in an interview. But much more importantly it will prove to your potential employer that you have the ability to stand on your own two feet, that you can fit in when placed in different environments, and that you are resourceful and have initiative.
For many international students, studying abroad is a chance to develop language skills, either through studying in a second language or by practicing the language spoken locally. A growing number of courses around the world are taught in English, particularly at graduate level, and of course proficiency in English has many applications across all kinds of careers. But indeed any additional language skills are an asset.
Language skills obtained while studying abroad will always be beneficial to the student and their home country in both the short- and long-term.
Studying abroad is also a great opportunity to spend time in a location which is known as a leading global hub in your field of interest. This could mean you may have opportunities to learn from renowned experts and guest speakers, and perhaps gain some impressive work experience. For example, those studying finance may be attracted to global hubs such as New York, London or Hong Kong, while those interested in politics may be looking at universities in major political centers such as Washington DC or Brussels.
Finally, studying abroad is a chance to travel more widely around the world region in which you’re based. “Obviously you will not just be tied to the university or city you are studying in. You will also have the time and opportunity to travel within and around that country.