Studying abroad is an AMAZING experience that I believe everyone should have. Not only are you working toward academic credit(s) towards your degree, you are literally on vacation in a foreign country (with a bit of studying, of course.) It is definitely a life-changing opportunity, and if you are considering it, or maybe have doubts about it, my only advice is: just do it!
1. You get to learn about a different culture (which means eating their food, too!)Giphy
Have a pasta obsession and want to take it to the next level? Study abroad in Italy! You will quickly learn that real Italian spaghetti is not what we have come to love here in the states, (but it is still delicious.)
Culture is not all about the food, however; it is the way of life of a group of people. It's how they communicate, eat their meals, worship, and get around. You will find that the culture you are immersed in is very very different than those you are used to here in the United States.
2. Practice your foreign language skills.Giphy
Took Spanish in high school? You'll be surprised at how much you remember when you actually put it to use in a Spanish speaking country. Plus, the locals will be appreciative that you at least gave it a try!
3. Your Instagram will be on point, to say the least.
How many of your friends are riding camels in India? Holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Drinking champagne in front of the Eiffel Tower? Climbing the 460 something steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence? Like I said, your Insta will be on. point.
Plus, it will look appealing to organizations and/or employers recruiting people that have had these specific experiences!
4. Traveling through your school is wayyyyy cheaper (and safer) than traveling by yourself.Giphy
When you study abroad with your academic institution, the cost of the trip includes everything (minus the airfare, usually.) Schools get crazy good deals and discounts for admission to places like museums, gardens, and other historic sites that travelers alone are unable to have access to.
Not only that, but the cost of tuition abroad for the classes that you take is generally a comparable price to what you would pay at your school already for those same classes; AND you can apply for scholarships, financial aid and other grants to help offset the cost of the trip!
5. Learn a lot about the US by visiting another country.Giphy
You would be surprised at the amount of things that we Americans take for granted. Ice in drinks, excessive air conditioning, and driving everywhere instead of walking or taking public transportation. These are just a few of the things that non-Americans find to be a bit... odd.
You can also develop your own ideas and opinions about your home culture from a different perspective. Non-Americans have opinions about our country that you may have never even thought of.
6. Studying abroad looks AMAZING on your resume.Giphy
Having the experience means that not only are you well-versed on another country's culture - you were also successfully able to complete academic credits at a foreign institution. This will definitely stand out to future employers!
7. The people you study abroad with become your best friends.
You know what, on second thought, scratch that. The people you study abroad with become your family. Nothing will bring a group of strangers closer than throwing them into a foreign country together. It is a bit intimidating at first, but the people you embark on this journey with seriously become your family in a matter of weeks.
Studying abroad will definitely change your life forever. I've had so many amazing experiences in my life, but I can safely say that studying abroad has been the best (so far.) In completing my program, I added 14 people to my family, lived with an amazing host family that went out of their way to make my trip memorable, learned about the French culture, and studied the French language while traveling all over France!
I could not have been more lucky to experience studying abroad, and I hope that you are able to do the same one day!