There are many incredible reasons to study abroad, and weighing these up could help you to decide if going away to learn is the right decision for you. I studied abroad for a semester during my time at Cardiff University and it was one of the best things I did whilst at uni. I’ve drawn together 16 brilliant reasons you should study abroad, so let’s dive right in!
What Does it Mean to Study Abroad?
Studying abroad means learning at an institution that isn’t in your home country. This could mean spending the entirety of your university career at a school in a completely different country. However, for most of us, it means taking time away from our home university to spend a specific period of time studying in a different country. Personally, I spent the first semester of my third year at Cardiff University, studying in Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. My peers studied in a vast range of countries, from Norway to Canada, to Ireland. The possibilities of where to study abroad are truly endless.
Can I Study Abroad?
Most universities around the world offer some form of study abroad opportunities. At Cardiff, the department that deals with this is called Global Opportunities. You should be able to find what’s on offer at your uni by searching their website or Google. Once you see the places you can go to, you’ll be left with the simple (not) choice of choosing where to study abroad. For myself, America was always the place I wanted to go.
If you’re looking to study abroad for the entirety of your degree, resources such as Fulbright have plenty of information and support for getting to different countries. It’s worth researching this pathway well before you intend to apply as the application process can be very different – I applied for American Universities at the same time as doing UCAS so I know how tricky they can be! You may even have to take extra exams so it should be considered carefully.
16 Incredible Benefits of Studying Abroad
There are many benefits of studying abroad, and I’m going to break down 16 of the best ones for you now. Hopefully, at the end of digesting these benefits of studying abroad, you’ll be super excited to start your own educational journey!
1: Experience a New Country in a Completely Different Way
The obvious benefit of studying abroad is that you get the opportunity to discover a new country in a completely different way. Unlike when you go on holiday, you become a local for a set amount of time – getting to know people who have grown up in this country and know it inside out. Just like when you move to a new city for university, you’ll grow to know and love it like a second home.
2. Learn in a New Way
Every country on the planet has a slightly different education system and way of teaching its students. Experiencing a different way of learning can be so valuable for your academic development – you may even find that this new way of learning is more suited to you and you achieve your highest scores ever whilst studying abroad. I found the teaching and learning side of studying abroad in the USA far more intense, but also more structured than studying at home in the UK. Just as there are differences between studying in the USA and studying in the UK, you’ll find this in whatever country you choose.
3. Appreciate Another Culture
There’s no better way to appreciate another culture than to really dive deep into it. Whilst living in another country, it’s almost impossible to avoid experiencing their culture! You’ll be in class and living with natives and you should take advantage of any opportunity they give to share in their culture!
4. It Looks Incredible on a CV
One of the most practical reasons to study abroad is that it looks great on your CV. The skills you develop whilst abroad are very attractive to employers. It shows independence, courage, and willingness to adapt to change! Studying abroad really does give you a step up on your job applications – ideal for after graduation!
5. Grow in Independence
When we move to university, often our parents will come and drop us off. And, if you’re studying in your own country you’re likely to know other people from your school who have also attended. One of the benefits of studying abroad is that you can’t take this support system with you. For most people, you’ll travel to your new country alone and have to work out where you need to be and when all alone. Whilst this can be a challenge, it can help you to grow in independence.
6. Develop Your Sense of Adventure
In addition to growing your independence, another benefit of studying abroad is that it can help to develop your sense of adventure. It’s fair to say that if you’re thinking about studying abroad that you have an interest in travel, but taking the leap and living in a foreign country will really hone your sense of adventure.
7. Discover a Wonderful New City
One of the best reasons to study abroad is the chance to discover a new city or town. Often, you’ll be given a set number of institutions that you can study abroad at whilst at university, and many of these may be places you’d never have thought to go on holiday! This means that you’ll get the chance to explore a new city in depth that you may never have got the chance to visit otherwise! Although I’d been to LA before, I truly uncovered the best things to do in Los Angeles whilst I was living there.
8. Make New Friends
Studying abroad is not all about academia, it’s also about creating new friendships and relationships. Just like when you start at university or a new school, you’re forced into situations with new people, giving you the chance to make new friends! These new friends are so important whilst studying abroad as they’ll be the ones who really make your experience what it is.
9. Taste New Foods
Each country has their own delicacies and this is certainly a reason to study abroad if you’re a foodie! Tasting new foods at local restaurants, and even on campus could open new dining doors for you! You may even find like I did, that brands you’re familiar with at home have different recipes in your new home – e.g. British vs American cheerios (who would’ve thought they tasted different)!
10. Improve Your Language Skills
For those who choose to study abroad in a country with a different language, you’ll get the chance to learn whilst immersed in the language itself. For language students, you may find your lectures are in the language you’re learning. Whilst other students may find that their lectures are in English, but the local language is different and you’ll have to learn how to read menus and say please & thank you in this!
11. Take on a Challenge
Moving to another country is most certainly a challenge and this is a great reason to study abroad! Taking on new challenges can help to develop many skills as a person, making you more independent and even brave! You’ll certainly be glad that this is a challenge you accepted!
12. Gain an International Mindset
Our modern world is undeniably international. Social media means we have the whole planet at our fingertips to interact with but this doesn’t always mean that we appreciate this aspect of contemporary life. A reason to study abroad is that it can open your mind to how new cultures live and approach different aspects of life. For those who end up in an internationally focused job, this can be a true advantage you’ll be thankful for!
13. Improve Your Career Opportunities
As I said, a reason to study abroad is that it looks great on a CV. In turn, this could also improve your career opportunities. With a fabulous CV, many employers are more likely to give you opportunities. On the other hand, once you’ve moved abroad once, the thought of doing it again isn’t quite so scary. This could mean that you even end up applying for work abroad once you’ve graduated from university.
14. Gain Life Experience
Life experience – it’s a phrase we hear all the time. All it boils down to is how many different things you’ve been able to experience in your life. Taking time to live and study abroad will give you new life experiences that you’ll never have had the opportunity to partake in had you not studied away from home.
15. Learn Different Topics
Each university around the world has different modules on offer. You’re very likely to find that your new university has very different modules and topics than your home institution. Take advantage of these! Personally, with my English Literature module whilst studying abroad, I chose an American Literature module as I thought it would help my understanding to study these texts alongside Americans.
16. Gain a Better Appreciation for Home
“Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” and for certain aspects of home, you’ll definitely find this. Being away from home will make you miss it, whether it’s your friends and family, or your favourite city. I even came to miss the food at home – at LMU I was catered so didn’t have the chance to cook for myself and this is definitely something I missed (despite not being that keen on cooking myself)!
How to Choose Where to Study Abroad
Now you’ve learnt all the reasons to study abroad I bet you’re just dying to go! But how do you choose where to study abroad? That’s a tough question and it’s completely up to each individual person. I never had an issue choosing where I wanted to go – I knew it would always be American, and once I saw that LA (one of my favourite cities) was an option I knew that’s where I belonged! Your decision is entirely your own and will be based on a number of factors!
If you’re thinking about going away after learning these reasons to study abroad, I’d love to know where you’re heading in the comments down below!
About Katie May Online
I’m a digital marketer and love writing on my blog in my spare time. Here you’ll find lots of posts about the things I’m passionate about, from beauty to travel. Discover articles on whether Urban Decay products are worth it, the best things to do in Cardiff, and the best things to do in London. I hope you enjoy your time on my site!