The Benefits of Studying Abroad Twice
Get more out of your study abroad experience by immersing yourself in a new culture twice!
I came home from my first study abroad experience wishing I could do it all over again. Then I realized my wish could become reality. With some research and preparation and I was able to fulfill my hopes of studying abroad…again. Deciding to expand your cultural experience starts with an inner passion for travel, but if that’s not enough to convince your parents, (or yourself) that there are benefits to using tuition dollars overseas for a second time, then you’ll need to be prepared. Here is some positive reinforcement.
You’ll Expand Your Comfort Zone
You’ve already made the rookie mistakes. Studying abroad a second time will give you the opportunity to improve on the cross cultural skills you started to build on your first trip. Missing your train or getting on the wrong bus won’t terrify you. You’ll scan your surroundings with good judgment knowing you’ll find your way. No more breakdowns about being lost. In fact, you want to get lost! With every new mistake, you’ll think “it could have been worse.”
You’ll Improve Your Language Skills
Whether you’re already fluent in a second language, or considering studying in a country where English is the primary language, studying abroad provides opportunities to increase language skills. Direct exposure and immersion are extremely effective methods in learning another language and connecting with a new culture.When I planned on studying in London, I assumed there would be no language barrier. I was wrong. Language is everywhere; from conversations, to public transportation, to entertainment. I had to learn new phrases and replace words I was accustomed to using in order to be able to successfully communicate. It took some trial and error, but at the end of the day I have a more extensive vocabulary then your average person.
You’ll See Twice As Many Places!
My first study abroad trip was filled with meticulous planning and cautious budgeting. By the time I was ready for my next adventure abroad I knew how to cut corners on dining expenses and have leftovers for additional traveling. Which reminds me, take advantage of your free time! Don’t waste away afternoons in your bed when you could be out exploring. You won’t regret skipping that nap when you’re scanning the view from the top of Primrose Hill or learning cooking tips from the best in Italy. When else will you be able to hop on a two train ride to Paris? Or book a weekend in Spain? Going abroad twice gives you another opportunity to see a place you might not have the first time because you were afraid you didn’t have enough time, money, or confidence.
You’ll Stand Out To Employers
Every major can and should study abroad. A resume with international experience, foreign language skills, or the ability to communicate across cultures is sure to be considered. Acquiring the ability to adapt to different environments brings a sense of flexibility and resourcefulness; two skills highly valued by employers. Independent thinkers and problem solvers who can interact well with a variety of people are the individuals companies want to employ. Studying abroad twice gave me a chance to develop these qualities through first hand experience. If you plan on having a internationally based career, then living abroad multiple times is a bonus. Studying abroad should be an enjoyable experience, but who says you can’t use it to your advantage? Use this background in a professional setting to expand your set of strengths and create determining factors that will separate you from other applicants in the business world.
You’ll Become More Independent
Living abroad, even if it’s only temporarily allows you to lose yourself while discovering who you are. After my first experience, I felt I just scratched the surface of being comfortable on my own. By the end of my second trip, I had broken the iceberg. I knew how to quickly adapt to different situations, better manage my finances, and trust my judgment. Being away from the daily support you’re accustomed to back home seems scary, but it is the ideal chance for you to gain independence. Something as simple as doing your laundry or buying groceries will teach you to take responsibility for your actions. Organizing my lifestyle and learning time management that best suited my schedule is a skill that will stay with me beyond my travels. Studying abroad didn’t change me. It helped me better understand myself and who I am as an individual.