Are you thinking about studying abroad, but you have not decided yet whether it’s going to be worth the financial effort and time that you will invest in this venture. Let me tell you, if you ask any person who has travelled, there is no doubt they will tell you it is a life changing experience that will enrich you in all aspects and one of the most rewarding stages in your life.
Before embarking on this trip you will have many questions, fears and uncertainties, but I assure you that all these compared with the benefits and the good memories that you will gather are risks worth taking.
1. Over the first month you will get new friends, many new and diverse friends from European, Asian, African, and Caribbean, of all sizes, colours and with difficult accents. Make the effort to engage in discussions with them, this will allow you to improve your language skills much faster, to push yourself not only in speaking but also in your listening skills.
2. Surround yourself with the language in everyday activities, seeing and listening within the cultural context in which you are: Read the newspapers and city magazines, watch the news and popular television shows that not only will help you to improve your language skills, but also will teach you about what’s happening in the country and about its culture. Take advantage of activities outside the classroom and try to learn more about where you are; visit exhibitions and museums and learn about history, you will speak properly about your experience when you return home. Walk around the parks and join major festivals and celebrations in town, it is the ideal place to make new friends and practice the language with native speakers.
3. If you have the opportunity to travel, join tours or students groups during the weekends or even for academic activities after class, explore the surroundings and learn from them. Since studying abroad often puts you in an entirely different continent (much closer to places you might not otherwise visit), take this opportunity and plan ahead, look for offers and discounted tickets for students or cheap flights with low cost airlines.
4. Bear in mind that studying abroad will help you develop skills and give you the experience that a classroom will never do. Immerse yourself in a new cultural environment is at first a bit intimidating, however it’s exciting and will provide you with skills that in the labour market will be highly appreciated: adaptability, creativity and teamwork are some of the most wanted. A student who has being abroad improves their self-esteem, independence, willingness to accept challenges, and ability to cope with different problems and situations. His experience of living and studying in another country provides new negotiation skills and speaking a second language could become a competitive advantage over other candidates during a job interview.
5. During this stage of your life you will discover new strengths and abilities; you will conquer new challenges and solve different problems. You'll find yourself in totally unknown situations and you’ll learn how to adapt and respond efficiently to them. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to break routine life or the monotony that follows semester after semester; it’s a stop on the road where you can learn, discover yourself and the wonders of the world.
6. When you get back home you will notice you have changed, not only in a professional way but also on a personal level, your professional value will increase and probably you would have gained skills that in your home country you had not been able to acquire. Moreover, you will value more the company of your family and friends, and by having your new friends abroad you will have plenty of holidays to arrange and visit them in their home countries.
Do you need more reasons that encourage you to make that trip you've been dreaming of? Do not dream more: Make it happen!