Traveling abroad for the purpose of expanding one’s education is an opportunity seldom taken advantage of by students. Instead, many opt for the traditional route of academic progress. While staying on the beaten path still remains very much effective at preparing you for a future career, there are many advantages to choosing the less-traveled path of studying abroad. Here are some advantages to name a few:
Travel the Globe
Although it might not directly further one’s academic education, being able to travel the world as a student can widen one’s mind to real-world knowledge. Many study-abroad programs, such as education opportunities in Canada, come with field trips and excursions built into the curriculum. Even if your particular college does not have one, you still have the freedom to explore new cities on your own. In addition to being able to explore the country you’re living and studying in, you also get to travel to neighboring countries. This is especially useful when you’re living and studying in Europe, where countries are a few hours from each other.
Bulk Up Your Resume
Contrary to the widespread notion that going abroad throws a wrench in your career plans, it actually is quite the opposite. If done correctly, international travel can enrich your skills and knowledge further than any class or course can. And this is a desirable trait that employers look for in today’s globalized job market. Learning other people’s cultures, languages, and mannerisms can make you a more desirable candidate when everything else is equal. In fact, a report by IES Abroad shows that 90% of students who did a study-abroad program were able to find employment six months post-graduation as opposed to the 49% rate that non-traveling students had.
Master a Foreign Language
Traveling and studying abroad can further your education through multilingual experiences. Being exposed to a new language is perhaps the best way to actually learn and use the language quickly and proficiently. Not only is it a nifty personal skill to have in your toolbox, but it’s also a good learning experience that feeds the mind. There are many cognitive advantages to learning a new language, such as improved memory, problem-solving, and critical thinking abilities. And according to a report by the New American Economy, it can’t hurt your career prospects either as the demand for bilingual professionals increase twofold in the last five years.
Improve Communication Skills
Immersing yourself in a completely foreign environment where language and culture are different than what you are used to can be your proverbial baptism by fire. Travel throws different types of people in front of you, and you learn their different customs, gestures, body languages, etcetera. And oftentimes, you don’t even need to leave campus to get exposed to people of varied backgrounds. Most study-abroad programs mix students from various parts of the globe.
Save Up on Tuition
This doesn’t have a direct benefit to your education either, but avoiding those hefty student loans that U.S. education is infamous for can certainly give study-abroad students more freedom to choose their career paths after graduating unencumbered by immediate financial obligations. With many public colleges costing an average of $20,000 per semester and $50,000 for private institutions, it’s easy to find a school abroad that costs substantially less abroad. In addition to lower tuition fees, you can also save more by choosing a country or city that has a relatively lower cost of living than the United States.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Into a Graduate School
Graduate schools have admissions boards that assiduously vet every applicant. Having study-abroad experiences on your resume can increase your chances of getting in. It tells the board members that you are brave enough to seek out new challenges and have a more diverse knowledge base from which to draw your inspirations and ideas from. Most importantly, study-abroad experiences under your belt show that you are committed to furthering your education and personal growth.
The decision to study abroad can be difficult to make, especially for a young and inexperienced person. If done correctly, however, it can be a powerful experience that forever changes your life for the better. It can be the single most impactful decision that affects your personal and professional growth.
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