Studying Abroad and how it benefits you

In today's college market almost every public and private university presents the opportunity for students to study abroad for a certain amount of time. For some, this means going abroad for your first freshman semester (such as Northeastern's program), while others will not offer the opportunity to students until their sophomore or junior year (such as Goucher College in Maryland and Soka University of America in California, who both boast that 100% of their students study abroad for at least one semester out of their college enrollment). The question that many students ask, however, is whether or not it's worth it. Here are some benefits of studying abroad, and things to know before, during, and after.

It's Not Just For Design Majors

Many students, when offered the opportunity to study abroad, may think that the only students who actually benefit from it are students studying industries like fashion design, architecture, engineering, and other artistic, inventive, and creative fields. However, studying abroad offers more than just that. Students studying linguistics, humanistic studies, math or science, historical topics and fields, and even students who just want to be immersed in a new culture have opportunities to study abroad that will really benefit them. Some schools even offer students who leave campus the opportunity to shape their purpose and goals for their international studies.

Expanding Your Worldview Increases Your Appreciation

After travelling one country, students may find a new appreciation and knowledge for their own home. Students also gain cultural experience and perspective via time spent in a foreign country.

Enhancing Your Career Opportunities

In addition to learning while studying abroad, internship an eventual career opportunities may be offered to students either via their college or university, or directly from a business or organization in the country they studied in. Companies and organizations looking to hire students may be more interested in those who have studied abroad. 97% of students who studied abroad will have secured a job in the 12 months immediately following graduation, while 59% of employers polled said that experience with studying abroad would be valuable on an applicant's resume and eventually their career with their organization according to the University of California, Merced.

Increase Independence

For most college students, independence is a given. However, students who study abroad experience a whole new sense of independence, as they explore and learn a completely new country mostly on their own. In addition to independence, students may learn more about themselves in the process.

Gain Life Experience

Like any basic trip or vacation, studying abroad tacks on a vast amount of life experience. Students who study abroad gain maturity and knowledge while they study and gain credits toward their future majors, allowing them to return with a newfound knowledge and sense of adulthood.

Graduate School Admissions

After graduating from a 4-year bachelor program, you may decide you want to stay a few more years or go to a different school to attain a masters, or maybe even a doctorate. When applying for a graduate program, having studying abroad on your resume shows commitment to your education, that you take advantage of your available resources, and passion for extending your boundaries. According to the University of California at Merced, 67% of graduate applicants who were accepted had studied abroad at least once in their bachelors program(s). Some schools even offer studying abroad for a portion or the entirety of your graduate program years.

Make Lifelong Friends

Whether it's the people you travel with, your fellow boarding mates, or people you meet along the way, studying abroad exposes you to numerous new people that you'll form bonds with.

The Longer The Stay, The Greater the Benefits

According to IES Abroad, in the 1950s and 1960s, 72% of students studying abroad stayed for a full year, but only 20% of students did so in the 1990s. Students who remain in their studies for longer than two months are more likely to absorb and speak the country's language more fluently, meet more people, and make more connections, thus forming a better take-away from their stay. It is recommended that students study abroad for at least one semester, but a year or more is best.

International Student Discounts

Just like regular student discounts, when studying abroad some stores will still offer you a student discount, but with added perks. For the most part, these stores are the same as those who offer student discounts (Amazon, Chipotle, Toms, TopShop, Apple, Dell, Burger King, etc), but certain stores in other countries offer them as well. For a complete list of stores offering student discounts, visit Best Colleges Online.

Lifetime of Benefits

According to the Institute for International Education of Students, 95% of students who were surveyed about their experience with studying abroad admitted that studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity, 96% reported increased self-confidence, and 95% said it had a lasting impact on their worldview. They also reported feeling like they not only knew more about the country they studied in, but also their own home country, with a newfound appreciation for their homes.

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