5 Reasons to Study Abroad
By College Tourist Contributor of 04/02/13
Because It’s a Big World Out There, Live Like a Local Wherever You Are.
Language Skills. If you’ve been studying a language, a semester abroad is the perfect way to really hone you verbal skills. Try to pick a city that has is known for embracing its native language such as Salamanca Spain which is known as the ‘City of Spanish language’. You’re more likely to find the locals speaking to you in their native tongue than trying to practice their English on you.
Cultural diversity. Being exposed to an entirely different culture is a great way to increase your global awareness and understanding of cultural differences. There is a difference between visiting a city for a week and living there for several months or more. Be aware of and appreciate the differences that make up the new culture that you’re experiencing. Keep an open mind, a positive attitude, a level of adaptability and some common sense to minimize any culture shock that you may experience. In order to gain some perspective, before you leave on your adventure, read as much as you can about your destination. Use your study abroad office or international students as a resource.
Immerse yourself in a new family and experience life from their point of view. While every family has a unique perspective on life, a host family in a different country and culture will view life perhaps very differently from your own…or not. Staying with a host family can provide you with insights into the culture that you may not get if you choose to stay in a dorm.
Personal Growth. There is a lot of value in stepping outside of your comfort zone at a young age. The lessons you learn now will be part of who you are as you continue through your life. Be Young, wild and free, embrace the thrill of the unknown. Ride the rapids, ski the mountain, feel the fear and do it anyway. As Hunter S. Thompson says, “buy the ticket, take the ride.”
Travel. Use your study abroad city as a travel hub. If you’re staying Florence while you study, take full advantage of your time off to enjoy jaunts to Barcelona for Primavera Sound Music Festival or the Swiss Alps for Zip-lining. Try to take in as much as you can while you’re away.
You’ve been studying history for years at school and love it. Spending time in Europe provides the opportunity to see things in real life that you’ve only read about. Checking out Notre Dame in Paris or the Coliseum in Rome will bring your history lessons to life. If you’re in South America, make the time to see Iguazu Falls in Argentina or if you’re in Prague go see the Castle. For those studying in Australia head to Canberra, the nation’s capital.
Food. Let’s face it; food is a great reason to travel all on its own. Being flexible and adventurous in the foods you’re willing to try is a mark of maturity. Go out to new places, with new people. Take the chef’s recommendations and take the risk at the dinner table, you may find a whole genre of food that you couldn’t imagine living without. Let go of your preconceived ideas and embrace the national dishes.