Want to know why you should study abroad in college, or if you shouldn’t? Studying abroad is a dream for many wanderlust college students. It gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of another country, perhaps learn a new language, and expose yourself to another part of this big, wide world.
For most, however, the decision to study abroad is not an easy one. The thought poses many questions such as, how much will it cost? Can I receive college credit? Will this delay finishing my degree? These scary questions do not always have the simplest of answers.
Although it is a big decision, there is so much to gain by studying abroad even if it does not “make sense” for your degree plan. For me, while studying for my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, which requires very specific courses that vary from state to state, getting international college credit for my degree was out of the question. I still decided to go to Chile one summer and I gained so much from that experience. If you are considering a summer or semester in another country, here are the top reasons why one should – or shouldn’t – study abroad:
Why You Should Study Abroad in College
There are countless advantages to studying abroad that far outweigh the disadvantages. Here are my top 5 reasons to study abroad.
1. See the World
If you have wanderlust, you desire to see other parts of the globe and have new, unique experiences. Studying abroad gives one the opportunity to go on an adventure of a lifetime by seeing new places, trying new food, and meeting new people.
2. Develop a Global Network
When you are a student in another country, you will meet local citizens as well as people of other nationalities in your classes. International connections are valuable to building a global community. Not to mention you’ll always have someone to visit if you go back!
3. Learn a New Language
Are you interested in learning another language? There is no better way to pick up another tongue than to be fully immersed in speaking that language. If you get to live with a host family, that is even better. When you are in a country that speaks a foreign language, you will no doubt get a lot listening and speaking practice.
4. Improve Cross-Cultural Communication Skills
Cross-cultural communication is how people of different nationalities, backgrounds, and/or cultures interact with one another, both verbal and non-verbal. When you study abroad, you will experience this interaction everyday. This is important for all people to learn, no matter what your field of study is, as you are likely to communicate with people of all walks of life in business, healthcare, and more.
4. Grow as a Person
If you ask someone who has had the opportunity to live or study abroad, they will likely tell you it was a life-changing experience. Beyond the classroom, you will learn so much about yourself, your ability to adapt, and you will make unforgettable memories.
Why You Shouldn’t Study Abroad in College
Studying abroad is a wonderful experience, however there are real reasons why studying abroad is challenging. These are the arguments against studying abroad.
1. Language Barriers
Before you study abroad, it is important for you to know what level of fluency is expected of you. Remember to ask a lot of questions such as what language will classes be taught in? Will you live with a host family who speaks another language? Having adequate language expectations is important for your success.
2. College Credits May Not Be Applied in Your Home Country
Depending on what you study, some courses from other universities are not recognized at home. Maybe the classes you need to graduate are not offered in the country where you will be studying. This is something to be aware of before you decide to study abroad. If you are in this situation, and your heart is set on studying abroad, consider taking a semester abroad as an “elective semester” or taking summer classes.
Nowadays, college is very expensive, and traveling to another country adds another financial strain. You will need money for tuition, room and board, food, and excursions. To be successful, plan for the cost of a semester abroad in advance by applying for scholarships, loans, and saving up.
When you live in another country, there will be times when you miss your friends, family, and even your favorite food. Perhaps you’ve never lived on your own or traveled outside of your home country. It is important to be prepared for this feeling before you study abroad.
5. It is Very Challenging
Navigating a foreign destination on your own can be a very intimidating experience. This may be your first time with certain levels of independence. Some of the worst symptoms of culture shock include sadness, anxiety, and a sense of isolation. Before you go, prepare yourself for the transition of being in another country.
This article was all about why you should study abroad in college, or shouldn’t.
Hopefully, you have learned some things to consider before taking time abroad. In conclusion, studying in another country has so many benefits to you as a person, and with proper planning, you can have a successful, meaningful experience of a lifetime while studying abroad.