Studying abroad can be one of the greatest opportunities a student ever experiences. In fact, the number of students participating in study abroad programs is increasing each year. According to UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, the number of students studying abroad is growing by around 12% every year. What is the secret behind this rapid growth? Why study abroad?
1. Get international experience
The world’s economy is more global than ever. Companies are setting up operations in foreign countries in order to tap into new markets and to make use of resources unavailable in their home country. In order to assist with the global expansion, many companies are eyeing students with international experience because they will be able to transition into new countries more easily.
Studying internationally gives students insight into different cultures and also allows for networking opportunities. Building relationships with international companies opens the doors to new opportunities after graduation and prepares students for the global landscape companies are now working in.
2. Apply for international scholarships
There are a lot of international scholarships and grants available for students who choose to study abroad. For students who choose to pursue a long term graduate program in another country, the costs of your degree can be decreased significantly by grants.
Unlike domestic grants, there is much less competition for international grants because there aren’t as many students that opt for a long-term study abroad program. Generally students will attend for a semester or two, and then return home.
Depending on the country you’re studying in, the cost of living can also be significantly less. For instance, students traveling from the US to Israel will be pleasantly surprised by how much it costs to live there.
3. Learn about a different culture
Similar to the globalization benefits, many students choose to study internationally to learn about a different culture. Most study abroad programs give students the ability to explore the area and learn about the history and culture.
Students can participate in activities and see sights that are unavailable in their home country. For example, studying in China will give you the chance to visit the Xi’an City Wall or the Xi’an Beilin Museum. Attending a university in Australia will allow you to explore the outback and go whale watching. Every country has something special to offer and study abroad programs allow students to experience it.
4. Grow and develop personally
Putting yourself in an unfamiliar environment allows you to really learn about yourself and what you’re capable of. For many, the thought of going to a university in another state or city is overwhelming. Going to a country where people don’t even speak the same language and the customs are completely different than what you’re used to requires a lot of commitment and openness.
Many students become much more independent and establish a higher level of maturity because they are essentially on their own for the first time in their lives. Although there are other students and friends present, students have to be self-confident, have a certain level of tolerance for ambiguity, and accept views that might be contrary to their own.
5. Learn a new language
Multilingual graduates are very intriguing to employers. As you get older, picking up new languages becomes increasingly difficult. If you can learn a new language while in college, it will be a great skill that you can carry with you throughout the rest of your life.
Some of the more popular languages employers seek are Spanish, Korean and Chinese. However, the ability to speak any second language is desirable; you never know when the skill will come in handy. The more fluent you are (speaking and writing) the more attractive you’ll be to employers.
6. Get a global perspective
Without traveling to other countries, it’s impossible to get a full scope of what the emerging trends and opportunities are around the world. Restricting yourself to only looking at the opportunities available in your home country gives you a narrow perspective.
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or you plan on seeking employment within a company, the wider your perspective, the more you will be able to accomplish. Cultural immersion will show you opportunities present in other countries that you otherwise would have never known about.