Studying Abroad: Is it worth it?

Studying abroad is one of the most exciting opportunities offered to college students. The option to explore a new country, try new foods, immerse yourself in culture, all while working towards your degree, entices many students but comes with many apprehensions. Let’s start with a few of these fears.

Cost

Cost is the largest factor students worry about when decided whether to study abroad. Often, the financial burden sways them to opt for normal four-year coursework to avoid any complications. While traveling abroad can drain a student’s financial resources, there are many opportunities for scholarships and grants to help students pay for it. For more information students can visit the Office of International Affairs on campus to learn if there are scholarships that work for them.

Homesickness

If students come from out of state, the feeling of missing home, friends, and family may already be a familiar struggle, but for those who didn’t leave their home state for college, traveling abroad can be a scary thing. Regardless of if they are out-of-state on in-state, students often fear that in foreign country they will not have the comforts of home and the support of family and friends; however, technological innovations such as Skype and Facetime make it easier to stay connected during your time abroad.

Degree Applicability

Many students worry that taking time to travel abroad will hinder their ability to graduate on time. Some majors make it easier to travel abroad due to the credits needed while others make the time away seem like a stressful set back. It is important to consider what classes you could take to continue your major while abroad. If it’s too much of a commitment to study, there are also summer options available which do not interfere with the academic year. This allows students concerned with their studies to still have the experience of studying abroad.

While there are many concerns to consider before choosing to study abroad, there are a lot of benefits included that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Travel

What college student doesn’t want to travel? Studying abroad allows students to step out of the comfort zone to experience new things in addition to continuing their studies. There are so many choices meaning students can choose the location they wish to go or is the more interesting to them. Students can opt to stay with a host family or with other study abroad students, both options which allow the student to acclimate to their new environment. Outside of just school, travel, new foods, sightseeing, and making connections are just a few of the options open to students.

New language

There is no better way to learn or master a new language than to immerse yourself in it. Of course, most countries speak English in addition to their official language, so you will never be without someone who understands what you are saying. Being around those who speak a different language greatly decreases the time it takes to learn it. For students interested in cultural or international degrees as well as language degrees, study abroad options can be the perfect way to get some hands-on experience.

Resume booster

While boosting your resume should not be your only reason for wanting to study abroad, it certainly is a plus. Only two percent of college students travel abroad for a semester meaning it sets students who do participate in this experience far above those who don’t. Graduate schools, professional schools and future employers love to see study abroad on a resume because it speaks to the worldly attributes of the applicant. Also, studying abroad is sure to give you some great stories to share with in an interview or include in a personal statement.

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