University life is full of adventures – from learning a new subject, meeting people from all over to getting ready for the real world, higher education is an experience to be lived. But there’s one thing which makes this experience even better; studying abroad. If exchange programme is a possibility during your bachelor or master studies, here are some reasons why you should say yes to this opportunity.
See another country
It is easy to stay busy in your own little world, with your friends and family around, walking the same street everyday. It is so easy that we often forget that there’s a whole world out there, cultures completely different than ours and geography we have never seen before. So if an opportunity to travel abroad comes by, one should leap forward and grab it. The sooner you start exploring the world, the better and that’s why travelling as a student is even more beneficial; you are young and more open to what the world has to offer. With around 200 countries in the world, it is highly likely most of us won’t get to see all of them during our lifetime; so any opportunity to see any one of them through an exchange programme should be accepted with open arms.
What comes with living in a country different than your own is the chance to meet people from a different culture. While in today’s testing times, when diversity is seen as a threat, it cannot be stressed enough that what makes people different is something to be celebrated and enjoyed, rather than looked down upon. Delicious traditional food, beautiful cultural clothing and warm local values are the experiences you get from living in a foreign country. We can read as many books as we want about lands from far away but nothing can ever come close to the experience of living in those countries – talking to the residents, enjoying local festivals and learning a foreign language.
Life of students and teachers differs from country to country – some places burden students with extra work while in other places, extracurricular activities are as important as learning trigonometry. Studying abroad, even if it means just for a few months, can expose you to a completely different world of academics. From classroom culture, student-teacher relationship to educational resources, the academic environment of countries is different from one another and is an experience in itself. Such an exposure not only helps you grow as a student but also as a professional in the future.
Learning a new language is not an easy task even if you are very motivated. Finding the right teachers, taking the time out for practising and getting the chance to speak the language are usually impossible scenarios to achieve. But all of this becomes easier when you are in the land of that language – where every other person can help you learn the grammar, where you can practise your vocabulary at a superstore and where your life will be full of opportunities to sharpen your skills. Also, learning a language in a natural setting makes it an easy process with no pressure of doing better than your classmates and scoring good on the test.
For many people, university years mark entry into the adult life. This means living away from your parents, making your own food and taking care of your bills. But it is still easier to do all of this in your own country because you know the system, can always fall back on your family and friends and there are almost no surprises. Living abroad, however, doesn’t afford you this luxury which means you are completely on your own – independent in the true sense. While it can be an overwhelming process, one should be patient and wade through and you will only come out stronger. These lessons and skills will stay with you your entire lifetime and you can thank your exchange programme for that.
Improving future prospects
Of course, studying abroad is not just about personal growth. Having exposure to a different education system and proven your abilities in that new setup say more about your skills and personality than your grades and recommendation letters. An exchange experience in a foreign country always adds points to your résumé and puts you ahead of the pack of talented students. This means you can have better chances for higher education and even jobs – both in your home country and possibly abroad as well.
Newfound appreciation for ‘home’
As the saying goes, ‘distance makes the love grow fonder’, living abroad makes you realise all the blessings you have back home. Your home, your childhood friends, your favourite restaurant, which you never thought would be unreachable, become so distant when you are in a foreign country. This realisation often helps you appreciate your life in your home country a little more, renewing your love and respect for the people and the places dear to you. This emotional growth is usually possible only with distance, something a study abroad programme affords you.
As you go about exploring new places and people, it also gives you a unique opportunity to learn about yourself. Living out of your comfort zone is probably one of the best teachers life gives us. As you teach yourself to do new things, you learn about your skills, likes and habits. You learn about your limits and what could make you angry; things that are absolutely unacceptable to you and things you enjoy the most. Breaking away from routine brings you closer to yourself.