If you’re considering studying abroad but aren’t sure it’s worth the effort – and cost – think about how it could change your life. Even a single semester overseas could give you an edge in a competitive job market, allow you to experience a part of the world you might otherwise never visit or help you learn a foreign language.
Read on to learn about the many advantages of studying abroad.
Think about how much it would cost you to travel independently to another country and stay there for a semester. Many college study-abroad programs – while expensive – offer remarkable perks for the money. For example, your housing and transportation costs will likely be included in the fee for your course, and if you’re traveling in a group, you may have the benefit of an interpreter traveling with you.
Regardless of whether you stay with a host family or in some type of student housing, your lodging costs will be cheaper as a student that they would be if you went after graduation.
A new point of view
One student studying abroad in Spain says the experience has helped with her personal development. In a video she posted on YouTube, she explained that she’s grown up a lot in her time overseas, has met new people and traveled to nearby countries to enjoy local cultures.
It’s hard to put a price tag on those less tangible benefits, but there are few other opportunities in college that offer the same level of personal growth.
Learning a language
If you’re learning a foreign language, studying abroad can help you retain the knowledge you’ve learned in classrooms. While many students study a foreign language in college, it’s easy to forget what you’ve learned unless you practice your language skills. When you study abroad and are immersed in another culture, you’ll be able to put your language skills to good use and pick up on the finer points of the language.
Preparing in advance
Often, the fear of the unknown is what keeps students from studying abroad. But you can do plenty to prepare for your overseas studies, so you’ll feel more relaxed about leaving your home country for an extended period:
Protect yourself. Aside from getting your passport well in advance of your trip, you’ll want to arrange for short-term insurance specifically designed for international travel. HCC Medical Insurance offers several types of policies for people heading abroad.
Stay connected. It’s natural to be a little homesick, but it’s expensive to call home from overseas. You can buy a prepaid calling card, so you can call home without ruining your travel budget. Some companies will allow you to add funds to your calling card, but others may charge a fee. Your calling card works anywhere, so if you haven’t used all the funds by the end of your trip, use your card when you get back home to stay in touch with your new friends overseas.
Map it out. If you’ve grown accustomed to using your smartphone’s GPS to get around, you might want to print maps of the areas you’ll be visiting overseas; your smartphone won’t work overseas, unless you have the GSM system. And even then, you may need to register your phone number overseas, buy a new SIM card or pay additional charges for data usage.
Take the plunge
While studying abroad can be somewhat intimidating, it really can be a rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You don’t want to look back on your college years and regret that you never traveled abroad. So find a program that will help you develop personal and professional qualities, and start planning your trip.