New places, new foods, new faces – studying abroad appeals to our curiosity and sense of adventure. Many people say they have the time of their lives abroad – and that it transforms them in more ways than one. But what about your academic performance? Surely there must be some benefits tucked into that area as well.
Whether it’s getting better grades, finding more motivation or creating clearer goals, studying abroad can transform your academic future and set you on a path to exactly where you want to go – here’s how:
1. You rediscover your drive
Studying abroad shakes up your everyday, familiar routine. It helps you see things from new angles. Say goodbye to the mundane and hello to a fresh start. You’ll tackle whatever comes your way at your school or university with revamped curiosity and motivation. You might even find yourself appreciating a subject matter that used to bore you or signing up for an unexpected class or degree. Getting out of your comfort zone makes you appreciate it that much more when you return.
2. Your language fluency is enhanced
Although student exchanges that involve you transferring to another country and another university for a few months are rightfully popular and can enhance your language skills, an even more accessible way to experience the benefits of studying abroad is to learn a language abroad (full disclosure: it’s our specialty). You can fit a language course abroad into breaks or holidays during the school year, or do one after dropping out of university in order to figure out your next move (see point 6).
And regardless of what language you studied abroad, the difference will be clear in class. You’ve added new words to your vocabulary, ironed out some difficult pronunciation mishaps and are more comfortable engaging in conversations with your classmates. You’ll feel accomplished knowing that you’ve improved an important skill and who doesn’t love that feeling? Perhaps you even want to study another language or deepen your existing language skills with another study abroad program.
3. You can better manage your studies
Once you’ve lived abroad, you can handle anything. Think about it – everything is new when you arrive, from public transportation to the currency to cultural customs. You have to find your footing and adapt. Along the way, you develop valuable skills, such as self-confidence, time management, resourcefulness, discipline and even creativity. These skills jump into your life experience backpack and travel back with you. Be ready to organize your to-do lists with ease, take the initiative with group projects, think more creatively about tricky problems and prepare for exams with finesse.
4. You make important connections
People say it’s not what you know but who you know for a reason. New friends, host family members, mentors and teachers can become sources of inspiration for you in your future academic endeavors. Perhaps you get an internship through someone you met or study abroad in a city you would never have thought of otherwise. Network with people you meet, you never know where it could lead.
5. You’re more desirable for internships or scholarships
Studying abroad shows people you are open and curious about the world. It’s an investment in yourself and your future that sets you apart from others. When you apply for an internship or scholarship, share how the experience both challenged and benefited you. It might not be an automatic way to get a “yes,” but it does give you major plus points.
6. You find clarity about your goals
It’s okay to not know the next steps. Life isn’t meant to play out like a straight line, and this includes your academic timeline. There’s nothing quite like going abroad to get some headspace and discover who you are and what you want. Sometimes all we need is a little change to get the motivation engine running again. Take some time to write out your goals before and after your trip. Compare them and see what has changed.
7. You expand your worldview
Living in a foreign culture is exciting but also challenging. You learn to communicate across different cultures, discover creative ways to solve problems and expose yourself to new ways of thinking. There’s nothing quite like meeting people who challenge you to look outside of the box. You will return to your campus with a greater sense of appreciation for those around you. Maybe you even find yourself questioning things about your own beliefs.
8. You decide to pursue higher education
Studying abroad can expand your educational horizons and not just in the short-term. Surveys continually show that students who study abroad are much more likely to obtain a graduate degree. It makes sense. Your experience abroad is life-changing. It might inspire you to pursue additional academic endeavors. Nothing saves “I love academia” more than a postgraduate degree.