Choosing to study abroad can be a scary but exciting decision! If you’re on the fence about studying in another country, let me see if I can persuade you. There are hundreds of reasons to study abroad, and below are just 6 of them to get you started!
1. Learn a new language
How did you guess that this is where I would start? 😉 I am going to assume that, if you found this blog through Ginseng English, you are considering studying in an English-speaking country. Learning English is a great idea because English is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, and the best language to use when traveling.
There is no better way to learn English quickly than to live in a place that speaks it! As they say, it’s sink or swim!
2. Live like a local
Probably the coolest thing about studying abroad is that this isn't vacation. This is your life now.
By actually living in a new place, not just visiting, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in your new home in a way that is impossible on a vacation. Try all the coffee shops until you find the best latte. Learn your favorite bartender’s name. Find the fastest route to school and the most scenic one, and enjoy being able to decide each morning which one to take. Before you know it, you’ll be walking down the street and realize that you don’t feel like a tourist anymore—you feel like a local.
And not only will you get a chance to feel at home in the place where your school is, but you’ll also get a chance to explore the country too! What’s cooler than a weekend trip to New York City or to the beaches of California!?
3. Make new friends
The funny thing about studying abroad is that everyone in your program is in the same boat as you. They are all excited to make friends and explore their new city with you. You’ll make friends quicker than you ever have before. As you experience new things together, you’ll create friendships that will last a lifetime. Those moments in class where neither of you understands what the teacher is saying, or those school meals where the food doesn’t make sense to either of you, those moments will always stick with you.
Secondly, you’re not just making friends and connections with locals but also with people from around the world who share your interests! This means that next time you travel, you’ll have friends to visit all over the globe!
4. Improve career opportunities and make connections
This isn’t the most exciting reason, but studying abroad is great for your résumé! The fact that you took the risk to leave everything familiar behind and explore the unknown shows determination and perseverance. When you come back from studying abroad, you will have a much better understanding of other cultures, and a more global perspective. Potential employers love to see that you have worldly experience, which someone else may not have. Speaking English certainly doesn’t hurt your résumé either!
You will be meeting people from all over the world, and these connections may come in handy if you are looking for an international job in the future.
5. Try ALL the new food
How did I not mention the food earlier!? Food is such an important part of each culture, and each new place comes with hundreds of new types of food to try! You may discover a new favorite—or your new least favorite!—that you didn’t even know existed!
Also, I know some people say that there’s no such thing as “American food” but have you tried lobster rolls in Boston, or the cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, or po' boys in New Orleans? America has some pretty amazing food...
And hey, if trying new food isn’t your thing, or if you’re really missing home one day, there’s a good chance that you can find some familiar food in your new city too. Most big cities have a Chinatown, a Little Italy, or grocery stores with an international food section where you can find just about anything. Whether you're from Brazil, Vietnam or Italy, rest assured, you can get your café com leite, your cà phê, or your cappuccino. 🤓 ☕️
6. Learn to rely on yourself
When you study abroad, you’ll learn what it feels like to truly be on your own. I’m not going to lie, there will be some scary moments. You might even cry (I know I did). But there will also be some really amazing moments when you learn exactly what you’re capable of and what you really want to get out of this experience. When was the last time you got to take full responsibility for yourself and decide exactly what you want to do today? What you want to see? Who you want to talk to? Or what you want to eat? This is your time! Live it up!
Now let's not get too sentimental, but while you’re out there figuring out what it’s to be on your own, you might also end up with a newfound appreciation for your friends, family and other small things from home. That sewing kit your mom made you pack? You’ll have no choice but to thank her when your favorite jeans rip. All those times you fought with your little brother? You might actually end up missing that dumb little face. And when you're stuck on a train full of people who don't speak your language, you might even feel nostalgic for that crowded bus you took every day at home.
Don't worry though! Living abroad will force you to find new ways to stay in touch with people back home, and may actually bring you closer to them. You might even discover the art of letter writing!
Hi! My name is Sarah and I have 8 years of experience working with international students studying in the United States, most recently at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I share your passion for adventure, and am currently traveling through Asia as part of the Ginseng English Anywhere tour! I’ll be writing many blog posts about studying abroad, so if you’ve decided to study abroad in the US, then this is the place is for you!
If have any questions about studying abroad, or are interested in scheduling an advising appointment with me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org