Letters today, leaders tomorrow. While we know it’s difficult to imagine spending a semester away or missing out on initiation, recruitment, and co-hosting your school’s best philanthropy project, brothers and sisters who take their studies abroad will benefit greatly (and your Greek organization will, too!).
Don’t believe us? Here’s a list of reasons why students who are active members of sororities and fraternities should consider tacking an international study experience onto their laundry list of college accomplishments. By studying abroad as a Greek, you can…
...Develop your leadership skills.
Through the vehicle of travel, you’ll begin to recognize your leadership style.
By creating space between your life back home and your life abroad, you will be given ample time to reflect. Just think: fewer campus commitments and less on-going social pledges. With all that free time, who knows the extent of questions about your identity you’ll finally be able to answer!
You will throw yourself into the unknown and genuinely push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You’ll discover unanticipated strengths and weaknesses within yourself. You will become a more conscious leader, poised to make a strong return to your brother or sisterhood back at your university. If you struggle to articulate your skills set as a leader, studying abroad will be just the ticket.
...Take your service with you.
Many Greek organizations try to instill in its members a desire to give back to surrounding communities, both on campus and in your university town or city. While you can tally your service hours by joining in on neighborhood projects back home, your study abroad semester will afford you more opportunities to take your volunteer service to another level. Through volunteering abroad, you can deepen your understandings of social injustices facing the world, and will return home with a greater perspective on areas of weakness in your own society.
Being surrounded by those less fortunate than you will tune you into your privilege, and you will develop soft skills along the way, such as empathy and compassion. Your fraternity or sorority will benefit from this knowledge; who knows, you may inspire a pal from your pledge class to take their service or studies abroad, too!
...Increase your career options.
More and more human resource departments at major corporations and nonprofits alike are actively seeking employees that boast international skill sets.
Educational travel improves your managerial and cross-cultural competencies, and demonstrates your independence, problem solving skills, and adaptability.
For those brothers and sisters who speak another language, your studies of the local tongue will be the icing on top of the you-got-the-job cake.
Ultimately, your resume will stick out and be more memorable when it’s one of many in a huge stack if you have study abroad experience on it. When you look to leverage your Greek network in the future, you’ll be an even stronger and desirable candidate.
...Find news way to embrace your sister or brotherhood while studying abroad.
Just because you aren’t on campus doesn’t mean you have to give up representing your Greek organization. Pack those letters and rock ‘em on your international adventures! You will be surprised how many of your brothers and sisters are traveling or studying abroad, too. Connect with your Greek family overseas, even if they are from different universities. It’s so weird to do your secret handshake with a stranger in a foreign country, but trust me, it’s AWESOME.
While studying abroad you will also feel the love from your brothers/sisters back home in new ways. A sister may email you weekly or a brother may give you a shout-out on the organization’s Instagram account. You will have a newfound appreciation for your organization due to the sweetness of their support despite the distance. Being away from your brothers and sisters will make you value your relationships, and you’ll return home more thankful than ever for your awesome brothers and sisters.
...Become a better student.
Get excited about life, get excited about learning, and get excited about all of the possibilities available to you. Have you ever felt pumped about your education before? Studying abroad has a knack for making just that happen.
You’ll return to your home campus with a renewed sense of purpose in your academic pursuits, and more clarity towards your passions and goals. This will ultimately translate to you being a better student, and in general a stronger campus leader.
Sign up for a study abroad program! #Didyouknow there are programs out there JUST for you, designed to help students hone in on those sweet and juicy leadership skills that will most benefit your Greek life back home? Check out these programs that are specifically great at building just the skills you are looking for:
- Combine a Community Internship with Study Abroad at Griffith University in Australia
- Earn Credit and Study Spanish Through Service Learning in Argentina
- Learn through Living with Locals as a LoPair Aupair in China
- Explore Cross-Cultural Communication in Five Different European Countries
- Discover New Zealand Through an Experiential Leadership Challenge