Studying abroad may be that defining moment in your education that will change your life. Nothing will be quite the same after you have studied abroad.
- Your perspectives will be global
- Your attitudes will be international
- You will have memories that you will carry forever
- Your resume will be more attractive
- In some cases, your language proficiency will be advanced
- You will have developed lifelong friendships
The largest misconception that prevents students from participating in study abroad is its perceived inaccessibility. Yet students who do study abroad are often amazed at how easy it was to put the whole thing together! Financial aid is often available, every major field of study can partake, and study abroad is an experience available to every student. It's as easy as a working through a checklist! The following information is just that -- it should be used only as a guideline. Every college and university has its own study abroad policy and requirements, so be sure that you work with your campus advisors and offices.
Why study abroad?
1. Academic credit
The most obvious reason why students study abroad is to earn academic credit. You should consider the type of credit you will earn on your study abroad program. Will you earn credit towards your major or elective credit only? Will you receive grades or pass/fail credit only? Will it count towards your GPA? You may study abroad to earn upper division credits in your major field or you may be overseas to earn some of your core or general education hours your freshman year. It is important that you work with your campus study abroad and/or registrars office before committing to a program to make sure that the credits will count towards your degree.
2. Language acquisition
The world market place is shrinking rapidly and many companies require or prefer that their employees have second languages. Foreign languages are not only valuable in the work force, they are valuable in the real world.
3. Practical experience
Study abroad coupled with an international internship is an incredible way to gain some real world experience. You may find that only an international program can offer the real expertise you desire in your education. Australia is a great place to find a marine biology program, the engineering labs in Sweden may exceed your facilities at your home institution, and peace studies in Geneva would offer an insight that couldn't be matched in Nebraska.
4. Resume building
International experience is ranked high among many employers as a critical asset for prospective employees. Study abroad shows that you are resourceful, adventurous, internationally minded, and diverse. See the "Discover Your Value" series on this blog.
5. Experience of a lifetime
In a couple years you may forget the name of your literature professor in Grenoble or the name of your dorm in Beijing, but you'll never forget the friends you made or the incredible experiences you shared.
Ready to study abroad? Check out your options at GoAbroad.com!