North Texas Daily

Why college students should study abroad

Why college students should study abroad

Why college students should study abroad
April 25
01:17 2017

Studying abroad is an opportunity that many students believe they don’t have access to, whether it be because of funding, course work, graduation or a multitude of other reasons. Upon first mention, the venture sounds daunting. It sounds like thousands of dollars, a wasted semester or course work that won’t transfer back – all of which are misconceptions.

However, study abroad programs open doors to future jobs, international connections, new friends and the opportunity of a lifetime. They have grown in popularity over the past 10 years and more students are taking advantage of the programs that their universities offer.

A recent study conducted by IES Abroad, a national study abroad program, showed that 44 percent of students who studied abroad got a job while still enrolled in college courses. Another study conducted by University of California, Merced found that 97 percent of students who studied abroad found employment within 12 months of graduation, and 25 percent had higher starting salaries.

The benefits of studying abroad are not only found in job readiness, but are shown in the skills that many students who study abroad exhibit. According to AIM Overseas, an education management company, students who study abroad have better communication skills, global understanding, adaptability and increased self-confidence. Studying abroad allows students to gain skills that many people do not have.

If you were to ask a study abroad student how they felt about their time abroad, I can almost promise you that the majority of what he or she says will be positive. With my own time abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, I learned lessons that I couldn’t have learned at home. I learned how to function in a country where English wasn’t spoken, how to communicate with people from a culture I wasn’t used to and most importantly, I learned more about myself and my abilities.

Studying abroad comes with a variety of fears unrelated to college such as “What happens if my luggage gets lost?” “My dad is not Liam Neeson, so what happens if I get taken?” “What do I do when that creepy 30-year-old Italian hits on me at the club?” “What if someone pickpockets me?”

Studying abroad is scary, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are scholarships, grants and you can find programs that allow you to use financial aid.

There are several programs out there willing to work with you so that your classes transfer back to your home university. Those programs can even offer internships, language courses and community involvement opportunities, all of which look great on a resume.

All of that being said, I encourage you to look into the study abroad options that your university offers. I encourage you to go have an adventure, learn a new language, make new friends and to accomplish those goals while you can before you graduate, miss the opportunity and “real life” takes over. Take a dive into the unknown, I promise that you will not regret it.

Featured Illustration: Antonio Mercado

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kara jobmann

kara jobmann

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