6 benefits of studying abroad for adults over 50
Dream of heading overseas and ordering a meal in another language? Perhaps immersing yourself in foreign films or literature? Or maybe just expanding your circle of friends? Learning a new language is a great way to open your world up in new and exciting ways.
It’s never too late to start learning a new language. We know that children are like sponges with great mimicry and retention capabilities, but adults possess something even more important when it comes to language learning – motivation.
And there’s no better way to unlock your motivation than by immersing yourself in a new language and culture on a study abroad trip. If you’re picturing wild parties and hostel dorms, you couldn’t be more wrong. Study abroad trips for older students combine classroom learning with excursions to learn about the local culture, or indulge in shopping, music and gastronomy – all designed to bring the language to life and enrich your travels.
Life begins at 50. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to discover the benefits of studying abroad for over 50s.
1. Make new friends
Finding a passion, whether it’s traveling, art, food or languages, and sharing it with others can open the doors to new friendships. We also know that being social is just as important as money and health when it comes to happiness later in life. A study abroad trip gives you the best of both worlds – like-minded travelers who share your passion for language learning.
2. Enjoy cultural enrichment
Immersing yourself in a new culture is a wonderful opportunity to broaden your perspectives, networks and interests. There’s a whole world of foreign film, literature, music and art out there to be discovered, and learning a language opens up that world to you in a new way. Actor Colin Firth learned Italian as an adult and fell in love with Italian literature as a result.
Being able to converse on a basic level when you travel can break down barriers between tourists and locals and you’ll be surprised how warmly you are welcomed after using a few local phrases.
3. Boost your brain power
Forget blueberries and oily fish, learning a foreign language is a great way to boost your cognitive abilities. New research found that after just four months of learning a new language, adults aged between 59-79 saw improvements in both brain cognition (such as thinking, understanding and problem-solving) and functional connectivity.
Another study involving Alzheimer's patients found that people who spoke more than one language developed the disease up to five years later than monolinguals.
4. Really learn a language
Perhaps you’ve played around with 5-minute-a-day apps, or maybe you’ve enrolled in evening classes to revive your language skills from school days. But those tactics will only get you so far. To really learn a language, immersion is key. Studying abroad gives you the chance to undertake formal lessons in the morning, then use your new skills in the afternoon as you explore museums, markets, restaurants and concerts. You can also opt for a homestay with a local family and really maximize your conversation time. This approach will help ensure your vocabulary and grammar lessons really stick.
5. Challenge yourself
As you get older, navigating new environments and challenges may not come as naturally. Studying abroad encourages personal development and self-confidence as you push yourself out of your comfort zone. Imagine how proud you’ll feel the first time you can chat to someone in Spanish, or place your order in Italian. It’s a great way to prove to yourself that age is just a number!
6. Adventure and exploration
Studying abroad later in life offers the chance for new adventures and a different way of traveling. Not only will you discover a new city and its culture, but you’ll also discover more about yourself and foster your innate curiosity and creativity. Study abroad trips offer excursions such as city walking tours, art gallery tours, cooking classes and tapas tours to ensure you get the most out of your trip abroad.
The benefits of studying abroad are not limited to younger students, and will greatly enrich the lives of adults over 50.