Has it been a dream of yours to study abroad? Don’t let your dream turn into a regret. Take action to make it a reality. I was lucky to be able to study abroad three times. I did an exchange year abroad, a master’s degree abroad, and a summer studying a foreign language abroad. I would highly recommend studying in another country. It changed me for the better and made me a stronger more confident person.
10 Reasons to Study Abroad
Whether for one month, half a year, or an entire degree there are many benefits to studying in a foreign country.
1. Save Money
Don’t assume that you can’t afford to study abroad. Before you start piling up student debt, do some research and explore all your options – at home and abroad!
Surprise! Many people think that they cannot afford to study abroad. Money is always one of the first things people ask me about when I mention having spent over three years studying in foreign countries. You might be surprised to hear that studying abroad can be no more expensive than studying near home. It can even be cheaper.
If you come from a country where the price of going to university is high, you can save money by studying in a country where the cost of going to university is much lower. There are many countries in Europe were university is free, even if you are a foreign student.
You shouldn’t have to take out huge loans and go into debt to study.
Research university costs
The university where I did my master’s degree in Austria cost around 1,000 EUR a year. Even if I had gone to the cheapest university in Canada I still would have had to pay at least double what I paid in tuition in Austria. I was lucky to receive a 1,500 EUR scholarship during my second year of studies so over half my total tuition was covered.
Research living costs
If I had stayed in a dorm (at the university where I did my B.B.A in Canada) to do my masters, I would have paid almost $11,000 a year on rent. Instead, living at the student dorms in Austria I paid only $3,500 a year in rent. Over two years that’s $15,000 I saved just in rent!
2. Experience a New Culture
It’s one thing to travel to a country and it’s another to live there. It’s not possible to fully immerse yourself in, or experience, another culture during a vacation. Living in a country will give you the unique experience to explore and learn about a country’s culture, traditions, and people.
“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” ‒Sarah Caldwell
3. Travel Travel Travel!
Being an international student is a great chance to see another part of the world!
Living in a new part of the world will allow you to travel within the country and surrounding locations. As a student, you often have many holidays such as summer break, winter break, and spring break. Take advantage of this time off to travel!
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” ― C. JoyBell C.
4. Become More Independent
No more relying on your mom to make your dinner or your dad to fix your computer! Living in another country will come with some challenges, but at the same time you will learn a lot. When you’re on the other side of the world you’ll need to figure out a lot of things on your own and learn to rely on yourself.
You probably won’t have any family of friends (initially) when you move so you will need to rely on yourself to get things done and figure things out. This might sound scary but if you can move to a foreign country alone then you will feel like you can do anything!
“Adventure is allowing the unexpected to happen to you. Exploration is experiencing what you have not experienced before. How can there be any adventure, any exploration, if you let somebody else – above all, a travel bureau – arrange everything before-hand?” – Richard Aldington
5. Push yourself out of your comfort zone
If you always stay in your comfort zone, you will miss out on a lot in life and never fully realize your potential.
When I first left home at 19 to study abroad I had never lived away from home before or traveled alone before. I was shy and quiet and hated going anywhere alone. By the end of my exchange year I had much more confidence, was a lot more outgoing, and was more independent than I had ever been before.
Just because something is scary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Trust in yourself, you would be surprised what you can do.
Many universities offer help programs to foreign or exchange students to help with the transition. When I went on exchange I had been assigned a buddy who picked me up from the airport and helped me get settled. When researching schools, check to see which ones offer assistance for foreign students. It can make things easier and less stressful if they do.
“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.” ― Roman Payne
6. Stand out from the crowd
When you apply for a job, it can be hard to stand out. Having some international experience can help to set you apart from others. Employers, and people in general, will always want to hear about your adventures. Study abroad does not only enable you to meet new people but also allows you to get to know yourself.
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ― Nelson Mandela
7. Meet people from all over the world
Many universities offer international programs which are taught in English. These programs attract people from all over the world giving you the chance to meet a very international group of people.
It was common that I would find myself out with a group of people and everyone would be from a different country. You get to learn about the countries of your internationals friends. It also makes for some interesting conversations as you have opinions from people with many different backgrounds and experiences.
You learn about new parts of the world and your friends will probably be enthusiastic to you make you foods from their home country. I always thought it was interesting to hear about how people on other sides of the world grew up.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain
8. Learn a new language
Passionate about about learning a language and experiencing a new culture at the same time? The best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it. And the best way to do that is to surround yourself with native speakers.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ‒Nelson Mandela
9. Gain a new perspective
Living in a foreign country will change the way you look at the world. It will change you more than you can imagine in many great ways. You will come back home a different person. You will see your problems from a new perspective. Gain new insights into your life and how you see the world.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. ” ― Terry Pratchett
10. Have a great experience you will remember for the rest of your life
Lastly, you should study abroad because it’s a great life changing experience. It sounds cliché but it’s true – you will make great memories that will last the rest of your life. Some of my favorite memories, trips, and people I met while studying abroad.
So what are you waiting for!?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu