“Studying abroad gave me an opportunity to learn in a much more hands on interactive way. It offered space to explore on my own while still providing a secure place I could catch my breath and feel the familiarity of home. The mix of site visits and class time really made the history and culture come alive” (qtd. in Student Quotes). Studying abroad in college is beneficial to a student’s life in many different ways. Studying abroad helps promote personal growth, independence, education and career growth, it helps strengthen the learning of a new language. In the 2011-2012 year only 283,332 students took advantage of studying abroad. The total amount of students that studied in the 2011-2012 year represents 1% of the combined population (Trends in U.S. Study Abroad). The percent of college students shouldn’t be a measly 1%. More students need to take advantage of studying abroad.
“Overall, I learned a lot more about myself in that one semester than I did in the three and a half years in my school because of the unique space in which I learned, experienced, and spent exploring another culture” (qtd. in IES Abroad News). Studying abroad is a great promoter of building a stronger personality and being able to step outside of one’s comfort zone.
When asked about personal growth, 97 percent said studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity, 96 percent reported increased self-confidence, 89 percent said that it enabled them to tolerate ambiguity, and 95 percent stated that it has had a lasting impact on their worldview. (IES Abroad News)
Studying abroad can bring out a whole-new personality that no one may have known existed.
Now some people beg to differ that it’s not necessary to leave the country to step outside one’s comfort zone. Some people claim that it’s possible to find the the “new culture experience” by joining a group of new cultures or making a different-cultured friend (5 Reasons College Students Should Not), but finding a group to join or making a new friend isn’t the same experience. “Cultural differences are more than just differences in language, food, appearances, and personal habits” (Why Study Abroad? 10 Reasons). There is a giant difference between learning about different cultures and actually experiencing living in a new culture.
Finding the balance of attending school, studying, and having time to do the activities a college student would like to do for fun is a hard group of tasks to manage. Now, imagine handling those tasks, but add in the factor the student is in a foreign country, and they don’t know many people so they have to do things more on their own. There are a few staff members to help them, but it’s mostly all on their own. Being in a foreign country on your own helps build independence (Why Study Abroad? Why).
Learning a language is another benefit of studying abroad. Now some people think, "I speak English, so I don't have to learn a foreign language” (qtd. from Why Learn Languages?), but...