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7 Smart Reasons to Study Abroad During College

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Photo Credit: Megan Fischer

Many colleges offer their students the opportunity to study abroad for a year — often, the junior year. Studying abroad is something the US government encourages. A trip abroad offers you a chance to enrich your understanding of the world and your role within it. If you’re not sure whether you should go for a year of study abroad, consider the following 7 reasons you’d want to try it:

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1. Become Fluent in a Foreign Language

Nothing will improve your language skills more than immersing yourself in a language other than your own. Complete immersion leaves you with no choice but to learn the language; there won’t be any way for you to slack off and avoid it. You’ll gain valuable experience with communicating across cultures. You’ll also obtain a better understanding of your own culture as a result.

2. Create an International Career Network

Having a network and connections on another continent could help you in the future when it’s time to interview for jobs and launch your career. If you’re interested in obtaining a corporate job, having international experience will help to distinguish you from the hundreds of other candidates who will be competing for the same jobs you are.

If there’s a global company you really want to work with after graduation, it’s particularly valuable to research where their corporate offices are. When you decide where to study abroad, pick a destination in a country where that corporation does business.

3. Experience a New Culture

When you study abroad, you’ll have a chance to sample a new type of cuisine and perhaps even celebrate a whole new set of holidays. You’ll experience different customs and different ways of thinking.

4. Improve Your World Geography Knowledge

Travelling in a new country is a fantastic way to brush up on your geography knowledge. Don’t worry that you’ll be too busy studying to explore; it is totally possible to study while travelling. You’ll probably learn much more from the experience than you would learn by studying at your usual university for that entire year.

5. Understand Foreign Politics Better

You’ll gain a whole new perspective on global politics by spending time outside your own country. You’ll be subject to a new set of laws, a different government and a different political system than the one you’re used to dealing with. The people you’ll meet may have different ideas about political situations than you do. Your own views might be challenged, but you’ll no doubt find value in gaining a clearer perspective on how others view the world.

6. Scholarships Are Available for Studying Abroad

The US government makes various scholarships and programs available for students who want to study abroad. You can find details about these at the US State Department website.

It’s also possible to find scholarships made available by foreign governments.

7. Studying Abroad Might Be Less Expensive Than a Year at Your University

Even if you don’t qualify for a scholarship, you might be surprised at how affordable a year of study abroad can be if you choose your destination carefully. There are numerous countries where university tuition is low, and the cost of living is also low. There are even countries such as Finland, Germany and Norway where tuition for international students is free.

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While these are not the only reasons you might want to study abroad, these are 7 of the smartest and most compelling reasons you’ll want to consider it. Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. Don’t miss out on it!

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