One of the most unique opportunities offered by colleges these days are the various study abroad programs. There are so many different options when choosing to study abroad. If your school doesn’t offer it directly, there are tons of organizations that offer abroad education. If you’re looking to get school credit, you could always just ask your college for approval if it is not associated with them. However, studying abroad is a valuable experience even if you don’t receive college credit.
Here are the top 5 reasons I believe you should study abroad before you graduate:
1. Learn More About Other Cultures
I’m going to Spain next month to study abroad, and for the past six months I’ve been doing research about the country and I have learned so many things I never knew. I already feel more educated not only about Spain, but of Europe. When I go, I’ll be able to experience their way of life, their culture, and the way that their public relations firms are ran. Whatever field you’re studying, studying abroad can expand your knowledge and allow you to gain valuable skills that will impress future job interviewers.
2. Get A Leg Up On The Competition
Even though there are various programs throughout the world, less than 10% of undergraduate students study abroad. No matter what field you are in, going abroad will definitely set you apart from the rest.
3. It’s Cheaper Than To Travel On Your Own
One of the main reasons students don’t opt to do a semester or a year overseas is because they fear the cost of the program will be too high. With most schools, mine included, there are a ton of scholarships offered specifically for abroad education. You can also apply for financial aid to help bring down the cost. Most programs will have package deals that the school sets up, so your overall trip is dramatically cheaper than if you were to travel on your own time. If traveling is an interest of yours, definitely do it this way as a student while you can.
4. You Create Strong Bonds With The Other Students
You’re normally with a group of about 15 to 30 people, depending on your program. I’ll be travelling with 25. The experiences you’ll create with these people will turn into great memories that’ll last forever because you will be learning and exploring together. I haven’t even left yet and I’ve already become so close with the girl I’ll be rooming with while we’re there. This has helped me a lot since this is my first year at a new school too!
5. It Makes Summer School Seem Not So Bad
I feel like I am so lucky because not only am I getting to take two classes that I need to graduate, but I also get to go to Europe for my first time. I’ve always taken summer school, but it is honestly difficult to get through. My friends that take trips, and make plans for all summer, definitely leave me jealous, but now, I’m able to have a great vacation and get the credits I need this summer!
Whether you’re at a school that has study abroad programs or not, there are hundreds of programs throughout the world that allow students to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can broaden your perspective on culture, lifestyles, and field of study. I encourage you to at least look into a few programs and start daydreaming about where you’d want to go. Remember, don’t get discouraged about cost because sometimes your school can help!