>  Study Abroad   >  Should I Study Abroad in College? | 7 Reasons Why the Answer is an Emphatic “Yes”

Living in a foreign country is such a unique, and possibly life-changing experience that most people may never get to have. Fortunately, most colleges and universities offer a wide variety of study abroad programs that can take you to any corner of the globe. Even if your college or university doesn’t offer many study abroad opportunities, there are plenty of individual study abroad programs that will take students from any college. There will be an option that suits you, no matter what your interests or preferences are. In case you need any more convincing, here are 7 irresistible reasons to study abroad in college:

1.) Experience a new culture.

No matter where you choose to study abroad, it will be different than the US. The first difference you may notice is the food. It’s likely that the food in this new country will be very different from what you are used to at home, and this is okay. Trying new foods can be fun, and you might surprise yourself with some of the things you like. Food is an important aspect of culture, and is a great way to immerse yourself in your new environment.

Also, take some time to observe the people and the way they interact with each other. Are people on the street smiling and sociable, or are they keeping to themselves? Are they dressed nicely, or very casual? It may take some time to get your bearings, but remember- this country will be your new home for a couple months, so try to do as the locals do!

2.) Learn a new language.

Going to a country where they don’t speak much English is the best possible way to learn a new language. For example, let’s say you are studying abroad in Spain and you only know some simple phrases that you learned in high school. This is totally okay! While abroad, you might have some classes taught completely in Spanish, you will have to order at restaurants in Spanish, and you will talk to your host family (if you have one) in Spanish. This can seem scary and a little daunting, but I promise you that it gets easier very quickly. By fully immersing yourself in the language you will not only improve your vocabulary, but you will vastly improve your accent as well.

If you are studying abroad in a very large city, however, you are likely to find locals who speak some, if not fluent, English. This can be a real comfort especially on the days where you are struggling with the local language, so keep that in mind when selecting where you want to study abroad.

3.) Make new friends.

The friends that you make while studying abroad will be connected to you for the rest of your life. You will make so many amazing memories with them and share so many cool experiences that they will become your “family” for the duration of your study abroad. The people in your program will be able to relate to everything that you are going through, too. If you are missing your friends and family back home or are having trouble adjusting to your life in a new country, the odds are high that they are feeling the same. Talk with them and be each other’s “comfort blanket!”

You also will have the opportunity to make friends with local students that are the same age as you. Becoming friends with a local will be another way for you to immerse yourself in a new culture and hone your language skills. They will be able to show you the coolest spots around the city and can make you feel a little more comfortable in your new environment.

4.) Freedom to explore.

One of the benefits of studying abroad is that you will have a lot of time to explore. It’s fun to be spontaneous, and when you’re in a new country, it’s easy, because everything is new to you! After class, take a walk to a new section of the city and see what you find. On the weekend, take a bus or a train to another city in the country and see how it compares.

Depending on which country you are studying abroad in, it also may be very easy to explore neighboring countries as well. For example, if you are studying abroad in a large European city, it is very cheap to fly to neighboring countries. I’m talking about a $50 roundtrip to London for the weekend! That’s a pretty sweet deal, and it’s best to take advantage of this cheap traveling while you can!

5.) Gain a new perspective.

Living in a foreign country will give you a new perspective of the world, and you’ll see how people in other countries view the United States. You’ll learn that there is no single correct way to live your life, and that there are beautiful aspects of every culture. There could be aspects of your new country’s culture that you really enjoy and want to bring with you when you return home. At the same time, viewing the United States from a distance could make you feel grateful for the life and opportunities you were given as a child (or not!). Either way, it is likely that studying abroad will help you gain a new perspective and allow you to see things that you would not have seen otherwise.

6.) Future career opportunities.

The world is becoming more connected than ever before. With the internet and social media, globalization is transforming the way people all over the world interact with each other. Having a global mindset and an understanding of other cultures is greatly valued by employers, and will give you a leg up from the competition. Even better if you polish your language skills while abroad, too!

7.) Personal Growth.

While studying abroad you might be 4,000 miles away from home, with a 6 hour time difference, you don’t know anyone around you, and you barely speak the native language…

This can be extremely overwhelming at first. This will be hard! And it’s completely valid to feel that way. You are not expected to perfectly acclimate to this new and unfamiliar environment right away. However, the only way you’ll grow is if you face some adversity along the way.

While studying abroad may feel overwhelming at first, you will soon surprise yourself with how strong, brave, and capable you are. Within weeks you will have done things that you never knew you could do. You will have had experiences that you never dreamed of. At times, you may have to remind yourself why you are studying abroad in the first place. You chose to do this for a reason, now make the most of it. Don’t be afraid to romanticize your life. Wake up each morning as if you are the main character in a movie, because the experiences you are having while studying abroad are priceless.

Ready to take the next step? Look up “[your college name] study abroad” and check out the programs they offer. Alternatively, check out the different study abroad programs offered by IES Abroad or CIEE.

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