If you’re at university and are contemplating a study abroad trip then my advice is to just go! Six years ago I embarked on an Erasmus exchange program to The Netherlands and I can honestly say that I’ve never been the same since. Sure, there were a few moments (both before and during my trip) when I was a little scared and wondered if this was the right decision but trust me when I say, it was one of the most beneficial experiences of my life. So if you’re contemplating that move, here are a few reasons why you should take that journey.
#1. Your personal development will improve
Studying and living abroad means that at some point you have to break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself with uncommon experiences. These not only make you reconsider your common choices but sometimes strengthen your ideas and values too. It allows you to discover what you want out of life and get a better idea of who you are or at least who you want to be. You become stronger and more importantly, independent.
#2. You can learn a new language
Living abroad means you are entirely immersed in a new culture that most often, speaks a different language. This can be the quickest and most effective way to learn a new language because you need it to survive and socialize. More importantly, mastering a foreign language opens up all kinds of new opportunities.
#3. You can learn a new skill (or two)
Studying abroad also means you have the opportunity to take courses you may not be able to take at home. In addition to university classes, you can explore new hobbies or sports that aren’t as popular (or even possible) to practice in your home country. Furthermore, traveling outside your home country is an education in itself, learning to interact with & navigate through a culture that is completely different from your own.
#4. You’ll make memories that will last forever
Many students who have studied abroad (myself included) will tell you that this time was pretty much the best years of their lives. During this time, you’ll meet new people and make many friends who will want to share their culture and ideas with you, as well as learn about yours. You’ll travel to new places and explore little towns and cities that you never knew existed.
#5. You’ll experience different cultures
By living in a new city, you’ll pretty much immerse yourself in a new culture – trying different foods, celebrating local customs, and learning the history of this new place too. You’ll have conversations with locals at the morning market, you’ll get lost and find a gorgeous park with falling autumn leaves and watch the seasons change.
#6. You’ll expand your worldview
One of the biggest things that will change after you’ve studied abroad is your personal beliefs about foreign countries and their people. Living abroad means you will learn about the locals on a personal level. You will have the chance to try and understand theirs reasons behind their perceptions, beliefs, values; all of which influence their way of life. More importantly, you’ll gain a completely new perspective on your own country too. It also means you can share the reasons behind your beliefs and values too.
#7. Travel, Travel, Travel
Living in a new country means that you’ll be able to explore and visit new surrounding places on your weekends too. Maybe you’ll wander to a little old art gallery and emerge through the back entrance, only to find a beautiful street lit with Christmas lights. Maybe you’ll catch a train to the next city and find a wall painted with characters from a Charles Dickens novel or maybe you’ll meet the love of your life! Either way, living abroad will definitely inspire you to explore and see more of the world.