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Bon Voyage: Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad

Recent data reveals that in a single year, more than 262,000 American students spent time studying in another country. What causes these and other young people to leave their home universities for foreign soil? Here are some of the great benefits of studying abroad.

study abroad reasons

Rio de Janeiro

See new places.

The opportunity to travel is a popular reason young people give for studying abroad. Spending time at a foreign university not only allows you to live in that particular country, but also to easily travel to surrounding areas that would be costly to visit from the United States.

Develop language skills.

Another common reason students choose to study outside of the United States is the opportunity to build language skills. It's common knowledge that immersion within a culture is the best way to learn its language. If you're majoring in foreign language studies, time abroad is no-brainer.

Maximize academic experiences.

Going abroad can give you the opportunity to take part in academic experiences you might not have otherwise had. Anthropology and history students specializing in ancient European civilizations, for example, can perform fieldwork on site, rather than learning from thousands of miles away.

Learn about new cultures.

Studying abroad allows you to really get to know a place. Being a part of a community in a foreign land provides insight that is impossible to get from books or online study. You'll experience cultural celebrations firsthand and develop a strong understanding of social customs.

study abroad reasons

Oxford University

Build your resume.

Many employers place a lot of value on studying abroad. As a result, having an experience in another country can distinguish you from other job candidates. The fact that you've taken a positive risk can impress interviewers. Furthermore, the cultural knowledge you'll acquire abroad could be important to global corporations.

Better understand yourself.

Leaving the familiar is definitely difficult, but the personal growth you experience from the challenge can be invaluable. Being on your own can help you really understand yourself and provide opportunities for you to expand who you are.

Better understand the United States.

Spending time in another country allows you to learn about a foreign place, but it also can help you to better understand the place you come from. When you're submerged in another culture, you're in a better position to both appreciate and critique different aspects of American life.

study abroad reasons

Make international friends.

As an American on a foreign campus, you'll have plenty of opportunities to make friends. In most parts of the world, people will want to learn from you what life is really like in the U.S. Experiences with new friends overseas can be very powerful; those who study abroad often make lifelong friends.

Find inspiration.

In addition to the very practical benefits time abroad can provide, there are many other intangible aspects of the experience that should not be overlooked. Just being in a different country can have a large impact on what you want for your future. Maybe you'll discover new academic or life plans.

It's fun.

Meeting people. Trying new activities. Eating exotic foods. Going through foreign experiences.

All of these things can be a lot of fun. The sense of adventure you'll have while studying abroad is one that's difficult to simulate in a place that you know very well. If you're not convinced, just ask anyone who's spent time studying in another country.

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