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    Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad 

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    and Savannah Dawson

    Prior to coming to Scholarships360 for her first internship in 2022, Savannah utilized her campus publications by joining various fashion publications that are offered at Ohio University. One of those publications is Thread Magazine, where Savannah has had the opportunity to work on articles related to world-wide related fashion news and events, as well as articles closer to home, such as a fashion piece on Athens hometown-hero Joe Burrow. This year, Savannah also had the opportunity to be a content writing intern for Aiken House, as well as a section editor for Southeast Ohio Magazine. In 2023, Savannah served as the Chapter President of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. These collective experiences, as well as her experience currently working for Ohio University’s Undergraduate Admissions, has led her to Scholarships360 and aided in her passion for helping students better understand the college admissions process and financial aid. In her free time, Savannah enjoys horseback riding, watching Formula One races, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. Savannah will graduate from Ohio University in May 2024 with a degree in Journalism News and Information and a certificate in Italian Studies.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: February 12th, 2024
    Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad 

    Why do so many students choose to study abroad? The benefits of studying abroad are innumerable, and for many, the attraction of living in a new place is enough to sell them on the idea. But in case you still have hesitations, we’ve put together a list of the top reasons for studying abroad. Let’s get into it:

    Also see: All about studying abroad

    1. Meet new people

    Most study abroad students show up with a few people from their school, at most. They typically don’t know many people, and as a result, they end up making lots of new friends. Most study abroad programs plan events to introduce students to one another and form friendships. Being with a stranger in a place that is new to both of you is a great way to form a long-lasting bond.

    Because most study abroad programs attract students from all around the world, you’ll also have the chance to make friends who come from a dramatically different upbringing. This can lead to new types of friendships you haven’t experienced before. Whether your new friend is from the place you are studying in, or from somewhere else, you’ll gain insight into how people live in another part of the world.

    2. See the world without the responsibilities of adulthood

    As a student in college, your primary objective is learning. Colleges and study abroad programs typically take steps to alleviate other burdens from students’ lives. The pressures of various bills to pay and paperwork to file are typically confined to the period before your semester begins, leaving you to devote yourself to your studies throughout the year.

    This is a unique mindset that you may not maintain after graduation. By taking the opportunity to see the world as a student, you’re taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You can focus on your education and your exploration and little else. It is likely going to be very difficult to take a three-month trip to another country once you’ve graduated – take the opportunity while you can!

    Student author perspective

    I chose to study abroad in my second semester of my senior year; this was a scary feat for me knowing that I would be missing out on my final semester in my college town. However, knowing that this was my last chance to travel to Italy as a student without real-life responsibilities, I took the plunge and used this time to apply for a study and intern abroad program. I am so glad that I chose this program because it allowed me to see what it was like to have the responsibilities of adulthood abroad, while still having people there to help me along the way.

    Savannah Dawson | Study abroad student, Ohio University

    3. Learn from new cultures

    Different cultures around the world have entirely different ways of seeing the world and going about their daily lives. As you meet people from new places, you’ll find yourself investigating things that you’ve never questioned before. You will learn more about the world and your place in it. Seeing different lifestyles may encourage you to adjust your own lifestyle. Perhaps you will pick and choose aspects of cultures around the world and create a better life for yourself.

    You’ll also be able to better contextualize your own upbringing and see how your worldview fits into the scheme of people around the world. This helps you figure out who you are and the ideologies and cultures you’ve come from.

    Related: Top scholarships for college sophomores

    4. Become a more resilient person

    Living in a new place and finding your way there is a skill that takes a lot of resiliency and open-mindedness. As you learn to navigate through a new place full of different people, you’ll learn a lot of problem solving skills and become a more observant person. As long as you keep an open mind throughout the semester, you’ll constantly be learning – even just by walking down the street.

    During most semesters abroad, some things are bound to not go as planned. But mistakes are great opportunities for growth, and as unexpected things happen to a student, they will learn to roll with the punches. This skill will come in handy for the rest of their life.

    5. Gain a greater understanding for humanity as a whole

    By seeing how other parts of the world live, you’ll gain a greater compassion for people everywhere. When you see the many different ways that people live and the different beliefs they hold, you’ll be seeing a bigger portrait of what it means to be human. 

    This trait will come in handy anywhere you go. You will undoubtedly find it easier to get along with people, to see where they’re coming from, and why they act the way they do. These are all skills that carry over into family life, the workplace, traveling, and pretty much anything you do.

    Also see: Top scholarships for college freshmen

    6. See new and exciting places

    Getting to see new places is a great benefit of studying abroad. From the different architectural styles, different climates, and different topographical features, you’ll find yourself engrossed in all of the new things out there to see. You might even find your future home during your study abroad. Some students fall in love with the place where they study and end up finding a job there after graduation.

    7. Experience an enriching out-of-classroom experience

    Studying abroad is full of experiences that can never take place in a classroom. Walking through the streets of a foreign city and watching the locals, figuring out how to ask when the bus will arrive in another language, or being invited for dinner at the house of a local family, are all incredibly educational experiences that can only be obtained out in the world.

    Studying abroad is a great way to invite these scenarios into your life, and to have the time to process them and learn from them. Many study abroad programs have relatively light course loads compared to your home university. More freedom allows for time to find yourself in more real-world educational scenarios.

    Also see: Top scholarships for foreign languages

    8. Learn more about what you want to do as a career

    Studying abroad can help you to understand more about what you want to do for work in the future, as well. Seeing the world can give you a better understanding of what different career paths do. For example, if you are interested in fashion, you may want to study abroad in Milan, Italy, or Paris, France. If you are interested in the sciences, many of the universities in England are known for their programs in that field, so that might be something that interests you. Your study abroad experience could be the deciding factor of whether that is the career path you want to pursue or not. 

    9. Get out of your comfort zone

    Sometimes, college students can start to experience burnout or start to feel as though they are stuck in one place. This is especially so as a second or third year student. Studying abroad can help a student get out of this mental rut by pushing them out of their comfort zone, and allowing them to learn in a new and exciting environment. This can be motivating and inspiring, and help to bring the love for learning back. Also, stepping out of your comfort zone can help you to grow as a person, not just as a student. It forces you to learn about yourself and the kind of person you want to be.

    10. Learn a new language

    Although it isn’t required to learn the language of a country before visiting it, it can always be helpful to you as someone who is traveling there to have a general understanding of the language. It can also be a sign of respect to the locals of that country, showing them that you care about them and their culture enough to learn a bit of their language before arrival. More often than not, if you know a bit about the language before you go, your language skills will only improve by being immersed in that culture, because you will hear the language often. 

    Studying abroad major takeaways

    Studying abroad is an amazing experience that most students remember fondly for the rest of their lives. That is not to say it is without its challenges; living in a new place and navigating the difficulties that come from being among a new culture and far from home can present a lot of difficulty. But a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor! With those challenges will come great growth and a lot of fun experiences. Most students who take the plunge don’t regret it.

    Resources for studying abroad

    If finances are holding you back from studying abroad, don’t let the dream die just yet. Many study abroad programs offer significant scholarships, including free flights to and from your destination. We can also help out with our list of study abroad scholarships. You can also make a plan to save up for your semester abroad. Try our tips for making money in college and our guide to saving money. You can also try our guide to making a college budget. A few semesters of shrewd saving might just make your study abroad dreams come true. 

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    Frequently asked questions about studying abroad

    Is studying abroad expensive?

    Depending on how long your program is, some study abroad programs can be up to the same amount as college tuition for one semester, or more. More often than not, most study abroad companies offer merit and need-based scholarships, and many colleges offer global opportunity scholarships to their students. There are also many outside scholarships that you can look into and apply for.

    What if I only speak English?

    There are so many students who only speak English that choose to study abroad in countries where English is not the native language. However, studying abroad can be beneficial if you are trying to learn a new language. Remember, many people around the world speak English. They usually will try their best to at least meet you halfway and understand what you are saying. If you choose to travel to a place where you do not know the language, purchase a common phrase book before you leave. This way you will be prepared to have some phrases in your back pocket for when you need them.

    What if I don’t want to be that far from home for an extended period of time?

    Luckily, if home-sickness is something that worries you, there are many study abroad companies that offer short term programs. Some companies offer programs as short as one or two weeks, and as long as six months. It depends on which program you pick, which countries you are interested in, and what company you choose to go through.

    If I study abroad for a semester, how do I make money?

    If you are studying abroad for the semester, it is likely that you will be in that country on a study visa. You therefore will not be eligible to have a job in another country without a work visa. It is important that you start saving your money in advance. There are also many opportunities for online jobs that you can work remotely from while you are away– your school might even have some available positions for remote work. Additionally, some schools provide scholarships or stipends for students so, so do your homework!

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