If you’ve ever wanted experience a new culture, learn a language, make connections overseas, or simply sight-see, then studying abroad is an excellent option for college students looking to travel with other people with similar age and interests. Not only will your school help you make safe living and travel arrangements, but your semester studying abroad is often the same cost as attendance back home.
Studying abroad has some advantages over simply traveling, in that you get to live for an extended period of time in another country, just as the natives of that country do. This opens-up many more doors than you would have as a “tourist,” because you have the time to really explore your new surroundings, and meet native people. The extended length of time abroad also gives you the chance to take a foreign language class and practice that language outside of the classroom with native speakers. According to the New York Times “EVERY” student should experience studying abroad.
In some cases, your college with set you up with a host family with whom you will live. Often, your host family will consist of students your own age, who can show you the local activities, events, and nightlife. When you live with a host family, you’re immersed in the local culture- you get to eat local food, converse with native people on a daily basis, and get a first-hand view of typical family life in that country. Many times, students form close relationships with their host families, and stay in contact with them for years to come. Living with a host family provides you with a rich and eye-opening experience abroad.
Of course, the idea of living overseas for months can be overwhelming. But students who have studied abroad claim to have increased self-confidence, a greater awareness of their own cultural values and biases, and a lasting impact on their view of the world. Whether your study-abroad experience is wonderful, or terrible, it’s always unforgettable, educational, and almost always certainly worth it.
Now that you’ve thoroughly analyzed the question of whether or not you should study abroad it’s time to get the ball rolling. Visit your study abroad office to collect information on study abroad destinations, packages, and requirements. After doing some research, contact a study-abroad advisor to discuss the options available to you. Don’t forget to speak to other students who have studied abroad to get helpful tips and advice on the process, and what to do once you arrive at your destination.