1. You get to see the world
The biggest reason to study abroad is that it gives you the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and experience new customs and activities. Studying abroad gives you the chance to see brand-new places that are completely different than those in your home country. You get to experience new languages and food that you would have never tried at home. In addition, studying abroad in a new country won’t limit you to traveling in the same spot, you can travel to neighboring nations as well. For example, if you study in Europe, you can visit a new country every weekend!
2. Now is the perfect time
When else will you be able to take off a month to live in Australia? For most, probably not until retirement. And even then you will no longer be young and enthusiastic to travel to another country. College is the perfect time to study abroad because you are able to take classes during the week then explore on the weekends. When you graduate college and start your career the odds of you being able to take off six weeks to travel to the country you have always wanted to go to will not be possible. It is best to see the world now before you get tied down, since who knows what the future may bring!
3. You will make lifelong friends
Do you remember the nerves you had the first day of high school? The same nerves everyone else was experiencing too since you were starting from scratch? Well, when you study abroad everyone is in the same boat and nervous too, but the only difference is when you study abroad you will always have your friends from home waiting for you with open arms. It is easy to make friends because everyone else is going through the same emotions you are. You find common interests with these people and then soon find yourself wondering how you ever survived without them. Studying abroad will allow you to expand your horizons and meet lifelong friends that you would have never gotten the chance to meet had you stayed home.
4. You will gain new perspectives
It was not until I studied abroad in Florence, Italy that I understood why Americans developed the stereotype that we are always in a rush. I found myself playing right into this stereotype my first night out at dinner when I was annoyed that my food took so long to get to the table, and my friends and I rushed the waiter to get the check. Finally, it occurred to us that we were in much more of a hurry than those around us, and we did not even have anywhere to go. I then learned that Italians truly appreciate their food and dining experience which is why they are never in a rush to leave a restaurant or finish their meals. This allowed me to take a step back and try things from another perspective. I learned to cherish the time out with friends and to appreciate the amazing meals that were served to me.
5. You get to call this new place your home
There is a big difference between visiting a foreign country and living in it. When you visit another country you are purely just a tourist. You come to sightsee and that is all. You do not leave a lasting impression on the country and you barely learn their culture or their customs. But when you are cooking, cleaning and sleeping among locals and riding public transportation, you are immersed in the culture. The experiences you gain from living in another country rather than just visiting it are life-changing. You realize that you can adapt to other cultures and that you are capable of traveling and living in other places on your own. Living in another country taught me to be independent and self-sufficient as well.
Overall, even if you are only 25% sure you want to study abroad, GO FOR IT! I promise it will be well worth it, and you will always wonder what-if if you choose to stay home. There is only so much knowledge you can gain from staying in your home country your whole life. Traveling and getting to see the world is more impactful than you know and will provide you with memories and lessons to last you a lifetime.
Written By: Jordin Tedesco