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Why You Should Study Abroad (And How To Convince Your Parents)

Are you thinking about studying overseas but not sure if you want to take the plunge? Or are you ready to hop on a plane, train, or automobile but need some talking points to convince your parents that you are making a smart decision? StudentRoads is ready to help!

Personal Growth

Every moment during your experience abroad will contribute to your personal growth—you’ll be consistently pressed with challenges that wouldn’t occur in any other context. Whether you’re going abroad for six months or four years, you’ll develop the confidence that comes with independence, problem solving, and the capability to succeed in an international setting. You’ll learn how another culture faces daily life: new food, new ways of being, and different takes on society. The point is, you’ll be getting yourself into an extended situation that you have likely never been in and, in response, you’ll choose to adapt. Is it uncomfortable sometimes? Sure—but you wouldn’t be learning anything otherwise.

You’ll Learn

And the type of learning will be different. If you’re studying for a semester or two you’ll be attending a different university where teaching methods, grading styles, range of professors, and type of student are all invariably going to be distinct to that particular institution. You’ll return home with the advantage of having learned from outside the typical educational paradigm in your home country. You’ll also come back with a better chance of achieving a higher GPA—a recent 10-year study by the Georgia Learning Outcomes of Students Studying Abroad Research Initiative showed, among other stellar benefits, that students who studied abroad had improved academic performance and higher graduation rates when they returned home.

Moreover, if you’re completing your entire degree or graduate program abroad, you’ll have the chance to get an in-depth look into how another culture tackles both higher education and your specific area of study. You’ll have the opportunity to enhance your professional skills by developing a deep base of cultural understanding, a solid ability to communicate with other cultures, and a firm grasp on international politics and business.  

It’s Fun!

Ridiculously fun. Once abroad, it’s likely you’ll find out that having fun becomes of extreme importance. You know how, at home, you make decisions on the basis of silly things like “time” and “money”? It doesn’t really hold up overseas, especially when you’re there for just a semester. Living with a bunch of students from around the world whose priority is to maximize their enjoyment of life often skews the standard to the point where you find yourself more worried about the question “Do I want to go to Rome or Amsterdam for New Years Eve?” than “How am I going to pay for it?”

It’s a Rare Opportunity that Will Earn You Money in the Future

Many don’t get the chance to study abroad—or don’t even consider it an option. If you’re from the States, you’re probably well aware of this. Yet, employers, especially in business, finance, and international affairs, are increasingly seeking out candidates who have experience abroad on their resumes. Why? Because of globalization (obviously). The business environment is becoming more and more international, and understanding cultural contexts, cross-cultural communication, and knowledge of more than one language are skills that are coming under increasingly high demand. The point? If you have the opportunity to study in a foreign country, invest in your net worth and take it.

Being Unilingual is Embarrassing

There’s nothing like studying internationally to learn a foreign language—you’ll be completely immersed in the host culture, experiencing every aspect of day-to-day life. If you live with a host family, it’s likely you’ll be forced. There are also, of course, all those extra jobs—in all those extra places—for which you’ll be qualified.

Networking

If you’re lucky, you might have reason to travel internationally again after your studies abroad. Whether it’s for business or backpacking an entire continent on a budget, it’ll be a bit difficult (unless you speak something like twenty different languages and have enough cash to afford daily eating out and hostelling). But when you study overseas —think about how many people from different countries you’ll meet, and how these people could eventually be your hosts, private tour guides, and future business associates.

It Will Likely Be One of the Best Decisions That You Will Make

Take a look at the reviews here on StudentRoads. Use our forum to talk to students that have gone on exchange previously. Check out the “Stories” section to get inspired. You’ll find, in large part, whether they went abroad for a semester, for their entire degree, or for a graduate program, that most students hold the opinion that studying in a foreign country was one of the best decisions they have ever made. Yes, you’ll also be going to tutorials, attending excruciatingly long lectures, and finding yourself watching the sunrise after accidentally studying all night. But these experiences will only deepen and make more valuable the lifelong friendships formed, the incredible learning opportunities, and finding out the true extent of your capacity. There are bound to be challenges, but when’s the last time you regretted working a little for something amazing?

[Top image credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock; Second image credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock]

© 2012 StudentRoads. All rights reserved. Do not reprint without permission.

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Reviews

Reviewer: Anonymous
Overall Rating:
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Comments:

It was really nice to attend such a great university, I like the environment and faculty of the University of Health Sciences Antigua.

Reviewer: Seungbum K.
Overall Rating:
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Comments:

Golden Gate University (GGU) offers practical and affordable education for international students.

Reviewer: Rebecca R.
Overall Rating:
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Comments:

Studying at St. Andrews was one of the best choices I have ever made.

Reviewer: Andrew L.
Overall Rating:
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Comments:

I went to FSU on an athletic scholarship having finished a degree at Stirling University in Scotland.

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