There are dozens of benefits of studying abroad – travel, new friends, and unforgettable life experiences, to name a few. There are just as many study abroad programs available for students looking to take advantage of these benefits.
Some universities partner with schools in other countries to make study abroad trips possible. If you’re looking for a program related to your field of study, check with your academic department or the study abroad office on your campus. There are also a number of organizations outside of the university that facilitate study abroad trips.
However you choose to go abroad, you’re sure to have a memorable journey. To get even more excited for your trip, check out the 25 biggest benefits of studying abroad below!
Top 25 Benefits of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad allows you to broaden your horizons, be a tourist, and go sightseeing around your host country. You won’t have your nose in the books the entire time! You’ll be experiencing a whole new culture, and you’ll come home a more well-rounded person.
#2 New Cuisine
You’ll get to try the local food and drink wherever you go – whether it’s the empanadas in Spain or the bouillabaisse in Southern France. If you’re a foodie, then this will be one of the most memorable experiences of studying abroad. You’ll definitely gain some new favorites to add to your recipe book (and maybe a few extra pounds)!
#3 Language Acquisition
Immersion in another country is the quickest way to become fluent in another language! And if you get a head start before taking off for your trip, it will be even easier. Remember that communication is a vital component of traveling abroad – both in your coursework and in social gatherings. Check out TakeLessons to start working on your language skills today.
#4 New Cultures
Whether you’re studying in a fast-paced or more relaxed culture, you’ll come to appreciate a new way of life. Life moves at different paces in different places. For those used to the rapid-fire daily routine of western countries, studying abroad may introduce you to a new, slower way of life. (Of course, this depends on where you travel!)
#5 Lasting Friendships
You’ll form lifelong bonds with fellow students when sharing an experience as intimate as studying abroad. Studying abroad offers the opportunity to become friends with people from all over the world, including your home country. Oftentimes, connections are made during study abroad trips that lead to future opportunities to travel more.
#6 New Hobbies
Whether you catch the “travel bug” or bring home a new favorite sport, studying abroad is the perfect time to explore new interests. Perhaps you’ll get to travel to other cities within your host country, or maybe you’ll learn to play cricket. Since you’re already stepping outside of your comfort zone, it’ll be even easier to try new things that you normally wouldn’t.
One of the many career benefits of studying abroad is that if you find a local job or internship, you’ll get the chance to form authentic business relationships with people on the other side of the world. Career advancement often rides on a person’s ability to network, and making connections abroad could provide serious advantages down the line.
#8 Spiritual Growth
Certain countries have unique religious perspectives you may not have considered before. Moving abroad, even if only for a short time, allows you to become more open-minded, disconnect from your everyday routine, and reflect on a new way of life.
#9 New Laws
Some destinations will have a different system of government, and laws that you’re not used to. For example, in the UK the legal drinking age is 18. Certain restrictions may work in your favor, while others may seem strict. For example, heading to Singapore? Don’t get caught spitting out chewing gum or you’ll face a hefty fee!
#10 Lower Tuition
Countries such as Norway, Finland, and Germany offer more affordable tuition. Imagine how much you could save in just one year abroad! Higher education is expensive in the US, so take advantage of the lower tuition fees in other countries. Even one semester or year of studying abroad can save you a lot of money.
#11 New Career Paths
During your time abroad, you may have the chance to take new classes in a different field of study. This can open your eyes to an opportunity you hadn’t discovered back home. 34% of students said studying abroad helped them choose their future career. Who knows – the entire course of your life could be drastically altered.
#12 Improved Academics
After returning home, students saw an increase in their overall GPAs, according to a study by the University System of Georgia. Those term papers at home will seem like a breeze after the experience of studying abroad. You’ll find new ways to manage your time and your study methods will be put to the test in new settings!
#13 Timely Graduation
There are many academic benefits of studying abroad. UC San Diego research showed that studying abroad can increase your likelihood of graduating in four years. Feeling unmotivated? Perhaps a change of scenery, lifestyle, and pace is in order. Changing it up might give you the final push you need to finish college on a high note.
#14 Higher Education
The statistics show that studying abroad is worth it! For example, 90% of students who have studied abroad get into their first or second choice of grad schools. This is one of the most compelling, academic benefits of studying abroad. It not only enhances your undergrad experience, but it prepares you for the future!
#15 Resume Boost
Studying abroad looks great on a resume, and is the perfect way to get a leg up on the competition when applying for your first job. The studies prove it: 64% of employers value international experience when recruiting, while 90% of study abroad alumni landed a job within six months of graduation!
#16 Higher Salaries
Another one of the career benefits of studying abroad is that it could help you earn more money in the long run. Employers value global competency. According to a study by UC Merced, students who studied abroad ended up making 25% more than their peers who did not.
#17 Self Awareness
Studying abroad inevitably leads to more self awareness and confidence. Even stepping onto that plane takes a big leap of faith that whatever awaits you on the other end will be rewarding! This is probably why 96% of study abroad alumni felt they gained increased self confidence as a result of their experience.
#18 Problem-Solving Skills
International travel often requires split second decision making, and it develops stronger critical thinking skills. Whether you’re trying to navigate your way around a busy city or communicate with the locals, these seemingly small experiences are very beneficial over time.
#19 Money Management
From booking travel plans to budgeting for social outings, living abroad will help you gain a new understanding of finances and how to manage them. You’ll get better at budgeting through finding housing, going grocery shopping, and more. Running out of money on the other side of the world is a scary experience, and a mistake you’ll certainly want to avoid!
#20 Tolerance and Respect
There are cultural benefits of studying abroad, too. Experiencing unfamiliar places while studying abroad leads to a greater appreciation for nationalities other than your own. In fact, 98% of students said it helped them better understand their own cultural biases.
#21 Leadership Skills
Personal development happens at an accelerated rate while studying abroad. Students often develop a keen sense of leadership and maturity after making due on their own in a foreign country for a while. If you hope to be in a leadership role someday, you should definitely consider studying abroad!
This is another one of the personal benefits of studying abroad. If you struggle with change, studying abroad will help you adapt to new surroundings more easily when you get home. You’ll become more flexible and able to “go with the flow.”
International travel is a true test of your organizational and time management skills, from packing to planning out your class schedule. But don’t worry! You’ll have lots of opportunities to hone these skills abroad. Get ready to come home a more organized and prepared person.
#24 Social Skills
It’ll be much easier to make new friends after returning from your study abroad trip. Why? After stepping outside of your comfort zone in a foreign country, you’ll come home much bolder. A study from Friedrich Schiller University found that students often return more extroverted!
#25 It’s Just Plain Fun!
The ultimate reward of studying abroad lies in the irreplaceable experiences and memories you’ll come home with. If you need a change from the routine of life, this is an excellent way to add some more fun into the mix.
Now that you know all the benefits of studying abroad, what are you waiting for? Keep in mind that whether your sights are set on France, Argentina, or Japan, learning a bit of the language of your host country prior to studying abroad will greatly enhance your overall experience.
Start learning basic to intermediate conversational skills with the free online French classes or Spanish classes offered at TakeLessons Live. Looking for another language? Try taking a few private language lessons before you go. Good luck and bon voyage!
Guest Post Author: Tim Wenger is the Content Manager at Teacher Indie. His wanderlust keeps him on the road frequently, and he’s now visited 17 countries across Asia, Europe, and North America with plans to visit many more.