Studying abroad provides students with a unique chance to discover themselves and the world around them, as well as teaching them how to adapt in new environments.
Studying abroad can give students the chance to hone skills that are increasingly in demand in today’s global economy, such as intercultural communication, leadership, problem solving and foreign language proficiency.
1. Learn a new language
Studying abroad offers you an incredible opportunity to expand your academic and personal horizons. Not only does it improve your language skills, but it’s also a chance to discover other cultures and become immersed in their customs.
When learning a new language while studying abroad, the first step is selecting an appropriate program. Different programs cater to various levels of proficiency in language study, so make sure that your choice matches both your skill level and interests.
Another essential consideration when choosing a location for your personal goals is selecting one that accommodates your personal objectives. A major city will offer more chances to practice language skills, but if you don’t feel comfortable amongst the bustle of people, opt for smaller towns or rural areas instead.
Finally, select a program that provides ample opportunities to practice your language skills in real life scenarios. This could include engaging with locals and perfecting pronunciation with native speakers.
Many study abroad programs offer home stays, which can be an excellent opportunity to interact with locals in their natural environment and hone your language skills. However, some people find these homes intimidating, so be sure to select a program that provides additional opportunities for language study as well.
Finally, be consistent with your language learning goals and create good habits. Schedule time for study each day or every few days, then stick to the schedule you set out for yourself. This will help you establish a routine that caters to both your learning needs and objectives.
Learning a new language doesn’t have to be intimidating! With the right approach and dedication, you can maximize your experience studying abroad!
2. Explore a new part of the world
Studying abroad can be a life-altering experience that will shape you in ways you might not expect. It can open up endless opportunities, make you more flexible and adaptable, give you an insightful view on the world around you, and help build an invaluable global network that will last throughout your lifetime.
Studies have demonstrated that studying abroad enhances brain function and encourages new ways of thinking, leading to improved concentration, memory, and other cognitive skills. Furthermore, it can teach you a different language and culture as well.
One of the most beneficial activities you can do while studying abroad is to get out and discover your new country’s culture. You can do this by attending cultural events, visiting landmarks and museums, as well as getting acquainted with locals and their way of living.
You can explore various sports like hiking, water sports, snow skiing and golf to discover your true interests and passions. It will be an enjoyable journey to uncover what drives you most!
Many students discover they have a knack for certain sports or activities. Though they may never have tried them before, students often discover how much enjoyment they get out of them!
Finally, it’s essential to stay connected with friends back home. Although this can be challenging when studying abroad, maintaining these connections is crucial for long-term success.
Study abroad students often make the mistake of treating their trip like an extended vacation, which leaves them missing out on valuable studying time. To maximize your academic success while abroad, take advantage of academic support services like tutoring sessions and Conversation Mondays that are available to you.
3. Make new friends
Studying abroad, whether for a summer, semester, or the entire year, can be made even more meaningful by creating new friendships. But finding ways to meet people and form lasting connections may prove challenging for some students.
Introverts may find the prospect of making new friends intimidating, but it’s essential to make an effort while abroad to do so. Doing so will enable you to break out of your shell and form relationships with people who will support and motivate you along the way.
One of the best ways to meet new people while studying abroad is through clubs or social groups. This can be an excellent opportunity to connect with students who share similar interests, creating friends that you can stay in touch with once you return home.
Sometimes, clubs will host a social day or event to introduce themselves and recruit new members. It’s an excellent chance to get to know people and start creating friendships, so be sure to check out the university website or social media accounts to see which clubs are available near your destination.
Many study abroad programs will offer a week of orientation to give you the chance to get acquainted with other participants. During this time, you can socialize, explore the city together, and make plans for when you all leave together.
A study published in Personal and Social Psychology Bulletin revealed that students who established low-stakes friendships while studying abroad were less likely to feel lonely than those who did not. This may be because these connections provide a sense of belonging with other students and help reduce feelings of isolation even when living abroad.
Forming strong connections with new friends may take some time, but it’s wise to stay with them until you can truly get to know each other better. Doing so will prepare both of you for the challenges that living in a foreign place may bring.
4. Learn to adapt
Studying abroad can be a life-altering experience that exposes you to different cultures and lifestyles. It also teaches you how to adapt in different circumstances, giving you an international outlook which will be invaluable in your professional career.
No matter if you are a first time student or an experienced traveller, it is essential to remember that adapting can take some time. It is an essential step in order to feel secure and at ease while adjusting to your new country.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a new culture is by researching your host country before you depart. It is essential to learn about its basic history, politics, social customs and values.
You can learn this information by asking people who have already visited the area, reading travel guides and searching online. Doing so will give you a good sense of what to expect before arriving, making the transition smoother and less stressful.
Before you embark on your travels, it is essential to become acquainted with the currency in your destination country. While this can be tricky if you don’t speak the language, understanding how money is exchanged for what in another place will ensure a smooth transition.
Once you understand the currency, you can budget more efficiently and avoid being taken advantage of. Furthermore, asking your accommodation or university if they can arrange a driver for you when arriving at your destination can help ensure an easier transition.
Adaptation is a necessary trait for all human beings and an invaluable skill for survival. Studying abroad offers you an excellent opportunity to hone these adapting abilities, though remember it may take some time before you feel at ease in your new environment.
5. Stay connected
If you’re studying abroad for the first time or have been away from home for some time, staying connected with friends and family back home can be challenging. With so many exciting things to see and do while away, it can be easy to neglect those you cherish most back at home.
One way to stay connected while studying abroad is by organizing regular face-to-face meetings with friends. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know each other better on a more personal level and can make you feel more at home if you’re feeling homesick.
Another way to stay connected is through postcard exchange with friends and family back home. Sending postcards from your host country can be an amazing way for you to share your study abroad experiences with those back home, making it feel like you’re exploring the area together!
Email is an ideal way to stay in touch with friends while away. It’s user-friendly, allowing you to respond at your leisure.
It’s also an excellent way to update your friends on what you’re up to overseas and share entertaining photos or videos from your adventures!
If you’re planning on staying abroad for an extended period, renting a phone could be worth considering. Although this option is more costly than using your own device, it’s ideal for students who wish to remain connected with family and friends back home without incurring large phone bills.
Alternatively, you can purchase a prepaid phone card for the duration of your study abroad trip. These cards tend to be less expensive than renting a phone and work through wifi connection so there’s no data usage concern.