5 Reasons to Consider Studying Abroad In College

College is a time for students to have new experiences, to step out of their comfort zones, to find their passions, and to prepare for their next journey in life. Studying abroad offers students a chance to try something completely new, spreading their wings and broadening their perspectives. Becoming immersed in diverse global communities, interacting with new people, helps students become more self-aware, more independent, and improves their critical thinking skills. 

Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, over 14,000 U.S. students studied abroad, with over 40 percent of these students studying in Italy, Spain, and the U.K. The number of students decreased by almost 90 percent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students choose to stay on their college campus over concerns regarding finances, fear of missing out on campus events, fear of being unable to complete all of their on campus requirements in seven semesters rather than eight, and health concerns. In 2022, approximately 44 percent of graduating seniors at Elon University studied abroad, 40 percent of graduating seniors at Bucknell University studied abroad,12 percent of graduating seniors at Swarthmore College studied abroad, and 11 percent of graduating seniors at University of Rochester studied abroad

Here are 5 reasons why students should consider studying abroad as a college student:

  1. Enhance Students’ Personal Growth. Studying abroad helps students become more independent. While studying abroad, students take advantage of opportunities to live with local families, in small communities, and at international universities. In these foreign environments, students are encouraged to find their own way, maneuver new forms of currency, varied food options, and unfamiliar transportation. Overcoming challenges while traveling abroad helps students become more confident and prepares them for other challenges and obstacles they might encounter throughout their lives. These new responsibilities, on their own, provide significant opportunities to grow and to become more independent. 
  2. Expand Students’ Cultural Awareness. Studying abroad is a life-changing experience that opens students’ eyes to different cultures, offering an impactful way to acquire a global perspective. Students will meet and interact with people with whom they probably would not connect on their college campuses. They will learn to make local connections and to pay close attention to non-verbal cues, which will help students to develop a higher social-emotional IQ. They will be able to listen and tell stories to people with different lived experiences, receiving first person testimonies about life in other parts of the world, making them more compassionate adults. Additionally, learning to relate to diverse groups of people, experiencing their ways of life on a daily basis, provides students with a greater global perspective on the world. They will become global citizens. 
  3. Explore the World. Traveling away from the comfort of friends, family, and familiar surroundings demonstrates that students are interested and confident enough to venture out and explore our global community. Establishing a “home base” on another continent gives students the opportunity to jump on a train or take a short flight to other countries. Students can climb mountains in Lucerne, Switzerland, explore Madrid, Munich, Rome, or Amsterdam, wander through unique food markets in London, Barcelona, and Tel Aviv, and explore historical sites like the Vatican, the Colosseum in Rome, the gardens of Versailles in France, and Robben Island in South Africa
  4. Diversify Students’ Academic Experiences. Students who study abroad tend to have better grades in school. By studying abroad, students are exposing themselves to another level of experiential learning, immersing themselves in different cultures, often exposing students to foreign languages and varied dialects. Discovering unique courses that are not offered at American universities, diving into fields of study that are not readily offered in the United States, can provide students with greater intellectual depth and varied insights. Moreover, different countries have different educational frameworks which can help students become more flexible learners and force students out of their comfort zones as they have to work with culturally unfamiliar personalities.
  5. Build Students’ Resumes. As the world becomes more interconnected, it is vital for students to have cross-cultural experiences and a global understanding of the world. Students can build international connections and networks and gain insights into varied industries and career paths. Study abroad experiences provide “color” to students’ resumes, as their experiences make them more interesting to potential employers. By stepping out of familiar environments and immersing themselves in diverse cultures, students studying abroad show future employers that they are creative, confident, thoughtful, globally aware, and willing to challenge themselves. 

For more information, check out this video. The Student World – Why Study Abroad?

As you consider your path to, in, throughout, and after college, GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection is always here to connect you to the resources you need to be confident and successful. 


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