This post is originally a guest blog for Klein Global Opportunities, a Temple University based study away office. I’m proud to say I’m a program alumni and peer adviser. Having studied away myself and being of assistance to others, this post is inspired from unique lessons learned abroad and how they can impact your life!
1. Become a global citizen
We are globally infused — everything around us is built upon ideas and labor constructed by people and resources around the planet. The same goes for culture: as people move and become more connected via technology, culture is shared and dare I say, changed?
Studying abroad allows you to further understand that we are a part of something greater than being a Philadelphian, or an American, or however you identify — the geographies that divide us and represent cultures far unlike our own are relevant to the our lives, nonetheless.
Becoming a global citizen is a move to make living in the 21st century. We cannot live a life not influenced by globalization, and becoming a global citizen presents you with opportunities to thrive.
2. Travel is a marketable skill
As we just discussed: globalization. Another complimentary concept: internationalization. Industry is global and being able to travel for work creates opportunity. Resources are no longer inherent to one place, but are a conglomerate of global efforts. When you study abroad, the challenges and lessons you learn are unique to the experience of travel itself and support your international marketability.
Learning to travel is a skill and can further your potential — especially if you want an international career. Leaving the country and enduring challenges abroad impact your potential to impress employers and show them the unique skills you’ve gained while away and how they can positively impact that company.
3. You represent a small percentage of students
Studying abroad is a unique college experience. In fact, in the 2015-2016 school year, 1.6 % percent of all students enrolled in the U.S. studied abroad for credit. 1.6%. What does that tell you about the experience you have to gain over the other 98.4%? International experience is represented in a small number of college graduates. Study abroad students take on unique challenges over those who don’t go away, and being a part of the small percentage of students who take advantage of the opportunity adds an edge to your professional persona.
4. Personal growth
Probably the best one reason to study abroad is personal growth. Even if you visit a different part of your own country you’re bound to experience a few aspects of culture differently — from language, dress, history, or attitudes. Traveling presents us with unique experiences that challenge our beliefs and help us understand others around the world.
In addition, flexibility and adaptability are two skills you can develop through travel. Often, things don’t go as planned, sometimes the concept of time is different, or we face aspects of another culture we may not like or understand (such as being crammed in a hot jeepnie). These challenges are about the experience of them and your endeavors abroad ship you home a new person.
5. Save money $$
Sounds unbelievable, I know, but stick with me. I saved money from studying abroad during the summer when I had no choice but to earn summer credit.
I choose the summer of 2017 to study abroad in South Africa. Unfortunately, over Summer less financial aid was available and going to South Africa would not be possible without scholarships. I applied for scholarships through my college and for the Gilman scholarship, hoping this money could make it happen.
So how was it cheaper to go abroad over taking classes on campus?
Study abroad specific scholarships!
I covered about 75% of my total costs to go abroad through scholarships, meaning the money I spent out of pocket was less than the total I would have had to pay for classes on campus.
If I decided to stay on campus, not a single scholarship would have been available to me — that’s what makes this work if you can earn the scholarship money! It’s especially important for summer programs, where less federal and grant aid is available. If you need to take summer courses, consider this possibility.
6. Build New Relationships
The relationships travelers share are stimulating. Relationships sprout among the people traveling together and those they encounter in the lands they explore. Studying abroad provides opportunities to create a global network and bond with new friends in a new environment.
Trust me, when you come back, you’ll have a new list of international friends to connect with online and keep in touch with. These relationships are so special and the opportunities to reunite with those friends are some of the most fulfilling and special times.
7. Reset your life
Need a new set of scenery? Go away! Spending years at one university is a long time. Switch up your college experience, have new experiences, and explore a new place while you get class credits out of the way.
Seriously though, besides catching a break, you’ll reap the rest of these benefits! It’s a ten in one experience.
8. Create Opportunities
Just as studying, interning, and working provides opportunities to further our talents, doing it somewhere new opens those opportunities even more so. In cases I’ve known of, internship employers offer students a job or another internship. Actually, in the case of one study abroad student I’ve met, Mira Wise, a 2018 Temple University graduate, is returning to Barcelona to live and work for the company she had an internship with while studying abroad.
By making connections and making the most out of your work abroad, you can gain opportunities and connections that contribute to your future. It’s also an opportunity opener if you put your work abroad on your resume.
9. Get out of your comfort zone
Life is not comfortable, period. If it is, you’re either lucky, rich, or not trying hard enough. Going abroad really challenges you to get outta your comfort zone, try new things, and take on unexpected experiences with confidence. Okay, maybe not full on confidence all the time, but what matters is that you fake it till’ you make it.
Studying abroad is the best way I suggest one fakes it till’ they make it. You can do it!
10. You won’t regret it
One of the main regrets people say they had in college was not studying abroad — make it happen! It may take a bit of work (especially if you need scholarship money), but a study abroad experience in college is an irreplaceable one.
For anyone interested in learning more about studying abroad, how to make it happen, or how it can benefit you, please contact me!
Had a wonderful experience abroad? Let me know where you went and what you did in the comment section!