9 Ways That Studying Abroad Helps You Grow

You will expand your knowledge and gain empathy for other people and cultures.

Nov 14, 2019

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Studying abroad is an exciting way to learn more in your field while discovering the world, meeting new people, exploring new cultures and helping you grow.  

Some programs are more culturally immersive meaning the people surrounding you will be locals or nationals from that country and courses, or projects may be in the native language. Other programs are more internationally oriented with students from around the world who speak a common language, such as English or French. Whether you prefer to explore the world in your comfort zone or jump into a foreign adventure, study abroad programs can offer many benefits.

Explore a New Culture

People often perceive the world through the very specific lens they grew up with. Studying abroad will enable you to try on other people’s glasses, so to speak, and understand the world from their perspective. Being abroad you’ll see new holiday rituals, religions, types of foods, ways of life, and even philosophies that you may not have been exposed to before. You will take these new perspectives with you when you leave, which will enable you to analyze current affairs (external or internal) in a deeper or more holistic way.

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See the World

You live on a rich and diverse planet both in a societal and ecological sense. Every country, city, and town you visit can offer you infinite wisdom on life and the pursuit of happiness. Often times, the more you explore the differences between town to town and meet people face-to-face, you become more tolerant to those who differ from you. You see them for who they are – people who have lived a different life and experienced a distinct reality from yours – and perceive them less in binary terms such as good or bad, smart or stupid. This gives you more empathy.

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Experience Different Education Styles

Academic institutions throughout the world sometimes operate very differently. While studying abroad and immersing yourself in a different education system than what you are used to will broaden your education according to International Student. You may be exposed to professors, homework, a campus, and an overall system that varies from your home institute. For many abroad, the most significant learning happens outside of the classroom at a bar with friends, out in nature with your classmates, or while exploring a new city.

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Become Your Own Person

When you leave your homes, you often have the opportunity to redefine yourselves. By mingling with a foreign experience, you are given an opportunity not only to leave your preconceived notions of the world, but also to detach from preconceived notions about who you are, what you want from life, and what motivates you. In a new country, you also connect to new types of friends who reflect elements of yourselves that you weren't in touch with before.

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Expand Your Boundaries

While studying abroad, many students are shocked by their ability to expand their own boundaries. Introverts may be surprised by their ability to socialize, while extroverts  may be thoroughly enjoying time alone for the first time in years. Urban dwellers may find themselves enjoying camping for the first time in their lives, while rural folks may find new cities that pique their curiosity. According to International Student you can try new activities and develop interests that you might never have discovered at home.

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Become More Responsible

If you are studying abroad you will force yourself to overcome insecurities and doubts, especially if you find yourself in situations you never knew you could handle. Overtime this will help you develop more confidence, responsibility, and independence.

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Sharpen Your Brain

Research shows that being exposed to a new language and a new way of thinking can increase brain function. Learning a new language is associated with improved thinking skills, concentration, and memory. Furthermore, because some languages have words and concepts that others do not, so you can suddenly grasp and perceive new things that you couldn't before because you didn't have the vocabulary to.

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Helps You Get Into Grad school

Graduate schools look very highly at study abroad programs according to International Student. Studying Abroad shows that you are an accomplished versatile person who isn't afraid to experience new challenges. It shows you are deeply committed to your education and would be a successful candidate for higher education.

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Boost Your Career

Studying abroad can have a strong mark on both your resume and your skills, preparing you for your dream job. Many jobs are looking for someone well-rounded and who can offer something new. While studying abroad, you may get inspired by developments in your field such as the local fashion, innovative technologies, ethnic foods, or new business strategies, which can be applied in the workplace and give you a leg-up.

These are only some of the many benefits of studying abroad. Each person gains something new while abroad. Whether you’re looking for an animal conservation program in the forests of Ecuador, an interior design internship in Japan, or credits for your psychology degree in England, there’s a study abroad program for you. Some university partnerships will even apply your financial aid package to the foreign institution, so talk to your study abroad office to explore what’s the best option for your needs.

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HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.