There are a million reasons why someone should study abroad. For whatever reason you go, I can tell you one thing for sure, YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life for so many reasons, but here are my top 10 reasons.
1. You Get to Travel
This is the most obvious reason why I decided to study abroad. I've always wanted to travel but never had the financial means to do it. However, through financial aid and scholarships (there are so many scholarships out there for studying abroad) I paid very little out of pocket. Another great bonus (depending on what country you choose to study in) is that you can visit it's neighboring countries on a budget.
2. Learn a New Language
There's nothing like a hungry stomach that will get you to speak a foreign language like you've never done before. Studying abroad is the best way to learn a new language especially if the only English words they know are "Yes" and "No." I've found myself in many situations playing charades with the locals and eventually we come to some kind of mutual understanding....other wise we both usually end up with awkward smiles and head nods. On the plus side, I've discovered a little alcohol helps the conversation a lot!
3. Personal Growth
As cliche as this sounds, studying abroad will change you. Spending 11 months abroad has changed me more than the 4 years I've spent studying on campus. Immersing myself into an environment that was so unique and different from what I was used to, made me face challenges that I otherwise never would've. And in overcoming these challenges, I became stronger and more confident.
4. Challenge Yourself
Echoing #3, I never knew I was brave until I had to be. There were so many instances where I found myself overwhelmed, homesick, sick (in general), and sometimes scared for my life during my study abroad experience. I never thought I could eat silk worm, scorpion, and ewww....durian! But there's always a first for everything, and let's just say... I had many "firsts" during my study abroad experience. Some of the most challenging things I did were also the most rewarding.
5. Learn In a Different Environment
In America, if classes started at 9, it started at 9:00 sharp! You'll quickly learn that this is not always the case in other countries. Our 9:00 class sometimes meant 9:15 at the earliest but more often than not, 9:30 was the start of class. Additionally, you'll learn the relationship of students and professors are quite different from America. Students and professors in Thailand are "friends" on Facebook. Aside from the class structure, it was great being able to study about America from a different perspective.
6. Make New Friends
This sounds obvious but seriously, I love the friends I made while I studied abroad. Some were exchange students, like myself, and others were Thai students. Had I not studied abroad, I would've never meet these amazing people. There's nothing like bonding over language barriers and pointing to pictures of food you want to eat or cramming 5 people into a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw). The best part about creating these unique friendships is having a couch I can crash on all over the world.
7. Build Your Resume
Having an international experience on your resume is like the cherry on top of a sundae ice-cream cake. Your future employers will value your international experience and the different perspective you can bring to the table. Also, it's a BONUS if you add that you can speak conversational Turkish, Thai, Hindi (whatever language it is in the country you studied in).
8. Different Volunteering Opportunities
Something I highly recommend is to find time during your study abroad to do some volunteer work. While I was studying abroad, I got the chance to do some amazing volunteer work. I volunteered at an orphanage, taught English to kids and women in the sex industry, and I also got to do some work with an immigration lawyer. There are many wonderful volunteering opportunities abroad that will enrich your understanding of the country.
9. Try Different Food
This is my favorite. One of the best things about studying abroad is trying new food. You'll quickly learn that 'little spicy' is SPICY! This is why I love studying abroad, it gave me so much time to try all the different food that I came across. Some bizarre but excellent cuisines I tried were raw laab, jumping (and alive) shrimps, and authentic pala (fermented anchovy).
10. Experience a Different Culture First Hand
Studying abroad is different from traveling. What do I mean by this? Traveling means you temporarily visit a country and go to all of its most famous tourist sites, while studying abroad means you're actually living there. When you live there, you have to find a permanent home, get a cell phone, and at the very least learn some of the language. When you're traveling, none of this is the case. You're constantly on the go and never get to truly experience the culture and get to know the people.
I've done a little bit of traveling and I'll compile all my past travel along with my future travels here.
Hi welcome to my blog. My name is Sia and this is my safe haven. This is a place for me to write, journal, and share ideas.
IG @ ms.sia.chang