The decision to spend a semester or summer abroad is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly; however, if you decide to do it, it helps to know what to expect. Many colleges have special resources that can help you decide what kind of program to choose, and will help you prepare for living abroad. Don’t be afraid to utilize these resources if you are thinking of studying abroad.
Studying abroad is a great way to learn about other cultures and to master a new language. Learning French or Spanish in the classroom is one thing, but it is quite another to be completely immersed in a non-English speaking country. You will also have the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their culture first-hand.
One aspect of traveling abroad that many people are concerned about is homesickness. It’s understandable. Being away from home is hard, but in this day and age, living abroad for a semester is a bit easier, due to new technology that allows us to communicate with our friends and loved ones back home. Emailing, IM, and software like Skype can help to ease the transition. Besides, being away from home is a part of growing up. Think of the new-found independence you have to gain, and all the things that you will learn—about the world and about yourself. You may find that you never really knew certain aspects of yourself until you are thrust into the world, surrounded not by the familiar, but by new and challenging situations.
Traveling abroad is also a good career move, and will look impressive on your resume when it comes time to apply for a job, or even for grad school. A semester or summer abroad illustrates how adaptable and mature you are—two qualities that employers put great value on. You may find that traveling abroad better prepares you for the job world, because you will build interpersonal skills take courses that may not be offered at your college.
That being said, there are aspects of traveling abroad that are hard on some people. You should realize before you leave that you will probably experience some culture shock. You should also make sure that you won’t face any academic credit transfer issues if you plan on graduating in four years. By speaking to a counselor at your college, you can get a better idea of where you stand, and whether or not a semester abroad is the right choice for you.
About the author: Jenni Sunde is a freelance fashion writer and pop culture junkie. Jenni specializes in all things lifestyle-related. From home and design to health and beauty. With her love of art and all things beautiful, she delights in sharing her sense of style from her life to your computer monitor. Her title pegs her as an editor at a website that specializes in providing people with car insurance quotes, but her passion leads her into writing with a little more substance and a lot more heart.
Please quote and link to Scholarships, Grants and Events Abroad if you are republishing this article!