A study aboard program can be largely measured by its success based on your living situation. If you choose to live with foreigners who are each from different countries there is an excellent chance of creating an atmosphere of a jungle with different species,where nobody understand the other due to multiple languages being spoken. You won’t become a polyglot that way. On the other hand, by living with a host family or local residents, you’ll be exposed to every nuance of daily life that is usually only mentioned discreetly, the elements that make us human.

students gathered in front of the Louvre in Paris
Flickr by Terry Presley / 36979785

Seven things are typically gained when studying abroad:

1. Studying abroad reveals the fine distinctions in almost every aspect of life and consequently in the years after. The student then questions if doing something a certain way is really the best or only proper way do it.

2. Strengthening our sense of humanity. Whenever an individual “connects” with someone of the local culture the new society they are put in can transform quickly from “odd sounding people” that you’re noticing from an immersion course into living, breathing, intelligent people. One’s level for empathy is dramatically boosted.

3. Raises a person’s independence and self-awareness. This happens more than ever whenever you are placed into in a foreign culture that communicates in another language. While living in a different culture, you’ll learn new customs, new lessons, traditions, foods as you learn the language which will shape your way of thinking. The feeling you obtain from successfully integrating into a new culture is one of being stronger and more confident. It is like a plain and no longer a plateau. You should now be able to grow even more.

4. The opportunity for students to learn and live what they learn. Taking a course in a foreign land may be the student’s very first chance to travel abroad. For some students, it could turn out to be their only occasion to study overseas. Their new personal exploration and new experience forces students to implement lessons away from the classroom, gain new points of views with each and every conversation, and grow into who they want to become. A one-of-a-kind opportunity becomes available to cultivate new strengths and improve new skills each day.

5. Gaining college credit in an institution out of your comfort zone. When studying at another institution, students learn to adapt to new surroundings and pick classes that supplement their degree coursework at home.

6. A study abroad experience prepares students for the long term. Students become more sensitive and globally aware to the international community on their return (unless they stay) are highly coveted by companies. Additionally, it shows the employer that you are prepared to commit your time and resources into your own personal and professional development.

7. By living and socializing with residents from other countries, students are uniquely positioned to put to rest certain stereotypes about Americans when going overseas. Daily interactions with local professors and local residents allow students to positively help diffuse negative impressions of Americans.

drew carlyle overlooking volcano

About Author

Globe trekker, aspiring to be a polyglot, and volunteering for good causes.

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