Studying abroad is one of the most beneficial opportunities for a student. Students have an opportunity of studying in a foreign land and immerse themselves n a new culture. While there are challenges in the process of adjusting to a new culture, the benefits exceed these minor inconveniences. Today, thousands of students cross boarders to learn in foreign countries due to the allure of opportunities for exposure and learning (McKeown, 2009).
To begin with, studying abroad presents students with an opportunity to see the world. It involves abandoning the familiarity at home in pursuit of new opportunities abroad. While leaving the comfort zone of one’s home country is challenging and can result in homesickness, the excitement of learning new things quickly wipes away the discomfort. One makes new friends and experiences a new home in a foreign land. Most importantly, the new country presents a new culture and environment that is interesting to experience (Carlson & Burn, 2010).
Studying abroad presents a student with a different style of education. Each country has a unique education system. Experiencing a new system presents new knowledge and ideas both for academia and for life. Having studied in one country since childhood, leaving for a foreign education breaks the monotony and rejuvenates the desire to learn. This makes one to reexamine the aspects that s/he might have ignored at home and to perform better.
One of the most important benefits of studying abroad is honing one’s language skills. Learning a foreign language in a globalized society can make a big difference when looking for a job and conducting business. Studying in a foreign land presents one with an opportunity to learn and practice a foreign language as well as the customs and culture that define it. This increases one’s opportunity after school and in life (Byram & Feng, 2006).
Studying abroad enables students to discover find new interests that they might never have discovered if they had stayed in their home country. The process of learning through college involves discovering one’s talent. One can discover a talent that s/he might never have discovered at home. Besides talent, one can also discover new forms of entertainment that were never present at home hitherto and ensuring that the income One discover this means that one might never come across at home (Dowell & Mirsky, 2003).
Studying abroad helps one makes lifelong friends from different countries. The relationships help shape one’s outlook towards life and career. They help in seeking employment opportunities after graduation. Most importantly, they become crucial in making serious decisions about life including marriage, family and career (Hess, 2007).
The opportunity to study abroad enhances one’s personal development. Immediately after arrival in a foreign land, there is deep feeling of being alone. This feeling makes one evolve an unparalleled sense of independence. This makes one take charge of his/her life knowing well the consequences for wrong actions. The feeling of independence and responsibility for one’s action is one of the most important aspects of individual development. It informs one’s choice of friends and activities in the host country knowing well the consequences for wrong choices (Freed, Segalowitz & Dewey, 2005).
In conclusion, studying abroad is one of the most important opportunities for college students. One learns a new language, culture and a sense of independence that s/he might have never learned at home. It also widens a person’s circle of friends that are important in making life’s decisions. It is therefore one of the greatest opportunities that a student can take.
Byram, M., Feng, A. (2006). Living and Studying Abroad: Research and Practice. Boston: Multilingual Matters Press
Carlson, J., Burn, B., (2010). Study abroad: The Experience of American Undergraduates in Western Europe and the United States. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Dowell, D., Mirsky, K. (2003). Study Abroad: How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience. New York: Prentice Hall
Freed, B., Segalowitz, D., Dewey, D (2005). The influence of context of learning on the acquisition of fluency in French. Paper presented at the annual convention of the Modern Language Association, New Orleans, LA.
Hess, J. (2007). Studying Abroad/learning Abroad: An Abridged Edition of The Whole World Guide to Culture Learning. New York: Intercultural Press
McKeown, J. (2009). The First Time Effect: The Impact of Study Abroad on College Student Intellectual Development. New York: SUNY Press
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