Going off to university is often the first time that many young people find themselves away from home and their parents for an extended period of time. This is an exciting time for most of us, and provides our first real taste of freedom and independence, and the opportunity to gain the skills that will lay the foundation for the remainder of our lives.
Some students however choose not simply to go off to university, but to study abroad. For these students, this is truly a life changing experience.
There are many different reasons for choosing to study abroad, and the full list will be different for each student. However, there are some very significant benefits, which are common to all.
Experience A Different Culture
In school we read about different countries and cultures, but reading a book and looking at pictures is very different from experiencing a country and its people first hand. The sights and sounds of a floating market in Bangkok, or the music and smell of a Christmas market in Essen must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
Improve Your Language Skills
Studying abroad provides you with the opportunity to learn a second language which can open many doors for your, not least in terms of finding work when you have finished your studies. Learning a language from textbooks and tapes in a classroom can be hard work, but immerse yourself in the language and you will be surprised at how quickly you pick it up.
Discover The Art Of Communicating Across Cultures
We are living today as members of a global society and it is becoming increasingly necessary to learn how to communicate across cultural boundaries. Learning a foreign language is an excellent starting point, but we also need to familiarize ourselves with the customs and traditions of other cultures and to understand the cultural differences which exist between one country and another.
Gain Greater Independence
Studying away from home in your own country certainly goes a long way towards teaching you to stand on your own two feet and making you independent. However, when you remove the support network that you are used to in your own country, you suddenly find yourself in a whole new ball game. Even simple things like getting your laundry done and shopping for groceries can become a major challenge.
Improve Your Employment Prospects
Finding a job once you finish university is not easy in today’s financial climate and anything you can do to present yourself in the best possible light to a prospective employer is to be welcomed. What better way can there be to do this than to present yourself with experience of living abroad, the ability to speak a foreign language, and the skills necessary to work across cultural boundaries.