Your college years. A blur of unforgettable experiences that you’re probably too drunk to remember anyway! Mixed up in the torturous essays, crusting pizza boxes and interludes of pre-graduation freak outs, university is a time that really allows you to grow. And no I don’t just mean the extra pounds you’ll inevitably pile on – thanks Freshman 15! Universities offer students endless opportunities, and one of the most valuable of these is the opportunity to study abroad.
Study abroad awakens the mind, makes you more employable and you could even be paid to travel – yes, really! The greatest advantage of studying abroad is that it’s a way to add travel into a part of your life in which you’d typically be stuck in one place. After all, if you have wanderlust on the brain and itchy travel-loving feet it can be hard to imagine spending 4 years of your life studying in only one city! Experiencing the world through the eyes of a student is a great way to embed yourself into a new community and soak up as much culture as possible.
There are countless benefits of studying abroad and any travel loving student should already be sold! Expect unique cultures, fantastic food, new friends, insane parties and a lil’ education along the way! Let us teach you why study abroad is the ultimate travel experience…
1. You’re instantly part of a community
You won’t be ridin’ solo 🌴 Santa Monica, California. (📷: @larims)
A lot of the time, the biggest concern travellers have before embarking on solo trips is the fear of loneliness. With study abroad, you’re automatically combating this by being instantly ingrained into a community. Most host universities offer international student orientation and guidance to welcome you to the new city. As well as being super welcoming, these programs also give you the chance to meet international students from all over the world.
Alternatively, you could opt to live in shared accommodation – HELLO roommates – to ensure you’ll meet students right away. If you’re more of a home body and think you’ll miss the comforts of mum’s cooking, try searching for the chance to stay with a host family in your new country. With housing options to suit every student there’s no need to let fear of loneliness stop you from studying abroad.
2. It’s a doorway into travelling
Blue skies at Humbolt University. 😍 Berlin, Germany. (📷: IG @laskovskee)
There’s a reason why study abroad is such an appealing option, and we’re pretty sure we can guess it… you love to travel. (Duh!) One of the best reasons to study abroad is the fantastic opportunity you get to travel in a new place, and it’s neighbouring countries! Study in Berlin and spend a weekend in London. Study in California and spring break in Cancun. Studying abroad enables you to explore parts of the world that you’d never usually be able to as a student. Isn’t that your top priority anyway?! Other than, er, getting a degree…
3. You’ll become an expert in a new city
Beautiful Parisian Café 🌹 (📷 @sachvas)
Sure, everyone can say that they’ve visited Barcelona, but can they recommend a tapas bar tucked away from the main streets that does the BEST fish in Spain? Or show you the most charming, gorgeous cafe in Paris? Whilst studying abroad you’ll live like a local and discover everything worth knowing about in your host city. You’ll unearth hidden gems, as well as ticking off all the tourist attractions and getting a true sense of the city. You’ll pick up study abroad tips to pass onto fellow students and you’ll soon be able to blend into the inner workings of the place. You’ll even shake the feeling of having a flashing ‘TOURIST’ sign above your head… just try not to whip out your selfie stick every few seconds!
4. You could be paid to travel
Gorgeous views at Machu Picchu. 😍 Peru. (📷: @carolgpedra)
Although it varies between countries and programs, it is common for international students to receive funding from governments or universities to study abroad. Yup, free money! Universities/governments will often grant bursaries, scholarships or additional loans for students who wish to study abroad. Do your research and speak to your home university to see what’s on offer. There are also plenty of study abroad jobs you can take to earn some extra dough!
5. Study abroad looks great on your resume
That’s amore! 😍 Venice, Italy. (📷: @richard_ocarroll)
A recent study showed that travel makes you more employable which is one of the biggest advantages of studying abroad! Including study abroad on your resume suggests to employers that you’re a more well-rounded and desirable candidate. It suggests that you’re an outgoing person, confident meeting new people and that you thrive in new environments! All the fun, all the exploring AND the added bonus that the semester you spent sunning yourself in Italy could actually help you get a job!
6. You will learn a lot
Discovering the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia. (📷: @indridewis)
Okay, so we’ve focused a lot on the adventures, parties and people you’ll meet studying abroad, but what about the actual studying? Not only will you broaden your mind academically, but you’ll also gain an insight into how education works in other countries and be exposed to new cultures. You’re already in the mind set of a student, so we’re guessing you’re keen to learn and excited about discovering the world one place at a time.
Outside the classroom, you’ll have the opportunity to visit amazing museums, historical/cultural sites and local religious buildings. You’ll constantly be evolving and hey! Clever’s the new sexy after all…
7. You’ll improve your language skills
Endless foodie opportunities in Paris (📷: @shiela.x)
Everybody knows that if you want to become fluent in a language, you should move to a country where they speak it. Surrounding yourself in the language is the best way to become totally comfortable with speaking it day to day. We can all say ‘donde esta la biblioteca‘ but only someone who knows a language well can ask the locals which bar has extended happy hours and offers free tapas with your drinks! (Which is vital information… obviously!) Staying with a host family will also help you improve your skills without having to splurge on language classes – cha ching!
8. You’ll have an insane social life
Carnival fever! 🍹Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (📷: @brunaabreubrasil)
There is only one group of people more social than travellers, and that’s students! Combine the two and you have a hyper social, fun loving crew always looking to meet new people. As an international student, you’ll automatically be surrounded by hundreds of people your own age and with similar interests to yourself – hey, you all chose the same university after all!
Be sure to get involved in campus life to meet as many new faces as possible. Join a sorority, a sports team or a campus activities club. Whatever your scene there’ll always be a place for you!
9. You make life long friends studying abroad
Skating along the Great Wall of China, no biggie! 😉 (📷: IG @padraic_and_fabienne)
University friends are for life, and friends you meet while studying abroad are no exception! Who else have you walked The Great Wall of China with and also drunk ordered Dominos at 2am? Who was there for you when you struggled to the top of Machu Picchu but also put up with your stress rants about mounting deadlines? Your home friends are sure to get bored of your endless study abroad stories, but the friends you met along the way can’t wait to relive them with you!
Making new friends is one of the best reasons to study abroad. Plus, if your new buddies live in other countries, you’ll always have a place to stay when travelling!
10. You have a massive support network
Just hanging out in Barcelona! (📷: @pego105)
If you’d love to see the world, but are a little scared of taking the first step, studying abroad is the happiest of mediums! Travelling can sometimes lead to sticky situations and it can be hard to know who to turn to. Part of why study abroad is the ultimate travel experience is the massive support system you’ll have at university. Not only will you have tutors, university councillors, and international student advisers, but you’re also likely to have a big group of friends who have your back!
11. You have total independence
Cheers from the Guinness Storehouse! 🍻 🍀 Dublin, Ireland. (📷: @geordie_globetrotter)
Sure, you might think you’re independent at college, but with mom and dad a few hours drive away and the weekly phone calls asking if you’ve remembered your dentist appointment soon make your sense of freedom fade away. With studying abroad, you have complete independence to explore an unfamiliar place and live exactly how you want to! But of course you can Skype the fam if you’re ever feeling homesick…
12. You can do it your way
Don’t rain on my parade! ☔️ Tokyo, Japan. (📷: @yanismarshall)
There are plenty of reasons why study abroad is an unforgettable experience, but one of the best is the total freedom you have. You can study abroad in a way that suits you. Want to travel all over your new country? Do it! Want to study somewhere with insane nightlife? Do it! Want to attend a prestigious foreign university and learn a new language? DO. IT! Studying abroad is an unbeatable way to sample a new way of life, and educate yo’self in the process.