You might be wondering: what study abroad means to me and my personal growth?
It is one of the most enriching experiences for a college student to date.
What study abroad means for your personal growth
It is something more than just an academic experience. According to a recent study, students who spend a semester abroad usually describe the experience as “life-changing”.
And it is true that as an international student you go through situations you wouldn’t live through in your home country.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind” – Seneca
Study abroad means adapting to living in a foreign country and adapting to another culture. And this fact alone will make your profile stand out in your future job hunt.
There are plenty of programs and scholarships for studying abroad that provide you and supporting during this unique experience.
If you are still hesitant about the benefits of studying abroad, here are 8 tips on why studying abroad helps you become a more capable individual.
Study abroad means:
1. Personal growth
After a year or a semester abroad, many students report that while trying to adapt to their new country and learning their customs and culture, they ended up learning more about themselves.
You can only discover what’s inside you by jumping out of your comfort zone and putting yourself in challenging situations.
In short, study abroad means becoming more mature and self-confident.
2. Globalizing yourself
As an international student, you meet a wide variety of people and make friends from different cultures and backgrounds.
This will help you to see the world with new eyes and understand it from a different point of view.
Moreover, once you are able to adapt to a different culture and leave back the initial cultural shock you will be less reluctant to move abroad in the future, because you know you can do it.
You know it’s a positive experience. And that it’s something highly appreciated by well-established companies.
Study abroad is the single most effective way of changing the way we view the world
3. Strengthen leadership skills
Because leadership styles differ from one culture or country to another, you will learn how to work with – and gain a better understanding – of different leadership and business styles.
If you manage others, you’ll gain valuable experience working with a diverse team.
4. Gain valuable life skills
The full immersion experience of living in a different country gives you the opportunity to learn or master that country’s language at social, academic and professional levels.
Moreover, studying abroad means expertise in cross-country and interpersonal communications. This may become an asset when working in any multi-cultural team in the professional world.
Studying abroad shows employers that you are able to adapt to new settings and are not afraid of change.
5. Finding a new career path
Experiences you take advantage of abroad can influence the rest of your life in regards to career goals.
You will probably discover a newly found passion which could influence your major or career path, or maybe you will decide you want to work abroad or learn a new language.
One way to maintain an edge over the competitive workforce is to continue your higher education overseas.
Maybe you will decide to study towards a master’s or doctorate degree abroad.
“Two roads diverged on a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by. And that has made the difference” Rober Frost, The Road not Taken.
As I have said before, study abroad as an international student means meeting loads of people from all over the world. These people that are now friends may be, in the future, valuable connections in the professional world.
Do not hesitate to make as many contacts as you can, you don’t know what you are going to need in the future.
Employers are often looking for students who challenge themselves and learn from their experiences.
The experiences and wisdom you acquire while abroad can give you plenty of examples and real life situations to integrate into a job interview. This way, you can better illustrate your strengths and work ethic.
Your newly acquired personal growth and worldly knowledge will strengthen your cover letter as you head into an increasingly diverse workforce.
Don’t forget to integrate your cross-cultural and international skills on your resume and cover letter, too.
8. Advancing your career
Study abroad means advancing your career.
In today’s increasingly global society, obtaining international skills and knowledge can make you more marketable in getting a job and more productive once you’re in the job.
Do you have any other ideas of what study abroad can do for your personal growth? What was your experience of studying and living abroad? Let me know by leaving a comment below.