“TRAVEL MAKES ONE MODEST, YOU SEE WHAT A TINY PLACE YOU OCCUPY IN
THE WORLD.” ~ GUSTAVE FLAUBERT
“TRAVELING – IT LEAVES YOU SPEECHLESS, THEN TURNS YOU INTO A
STORYTELLER.” – IBN BATTUTA
I studied abroad this past summer in Florence, Italy. Although I was anxious and nervous, I knew this was something I wanted to do for years. Being abroad teaches you new lessons and gives you new experiences. It’s a chance to see the world through your own lens, and see what else is out there. Now, months later, I am so grateful I stepped out of my comfort zone and went abroad, and I’m looking forward to planning another trip abroad.
Studying abroad helps you to learn new languages, appreciate other cultures, overcome challenges of living in another country, and gain a greater understanding of the world. The biggest reason you should consider a study abroad program is the opportunity to see the world. By studying abroad, you will experience a brand-new country with incredible new outlooks, customs, and activities. The benefits of studying abroad include the opportunity to see new cities, natural wonders, museums, and landmarks of your host nation. Making study abroad a part of their education is the most effective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills, because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment, and education system. It teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity firsthand, and enables them to recognize and then dismiss stereotypes they may have held about people they had never met.
One of the biggest advantages of studying abroad for many international students is the chance to become immersed in a totally different environment. This enriching experience will enable you to see and do things you wouldn’t expect, and meet people who have grown up in a different culture. For instance, while living abroad you’ll be able to try new foods, hear traditional music, have a go at local activities, and explore everything else your host culture has to offer. It’s also fascinating to learn to see your own culture through the eyes of somebody else’s, and you can learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Even though you don’t realize it, traveling always changes the way you think, and makes you more adaptable and flexible. Study abroad amplifies this, because you almost always study abroad for a longer span of time than you travel or take a vacation. You learn to navigate a new school, city, country, and social situations.
While most students have already been away from home for a while by the time they study abroad, going overseas is the first time that many find themselves truly alone in a new setting. In that sense, studying abroad forces you to leave your comfort zone and learn to start a new life on your own in a foreign place. Since Farmingdale, being a mostly commuter school, I’ve never really been on my own. Studying abroad gave me my first real feeling of going away to school and being on my own. It was an amazing experience and it taught me so many different things.
Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to get your brain around the nuts and bolts of that language you’ve been trying to learn for years. Suddenly, surrounded by native speakers and thrust into speaking it every day, fluency becomes an attainable goal. And, once you’ve learned one new language, the second isn’t hard to get to grips with either. Getting the chance to study at a new university specializing in an area you’ve never come across before, or encountering a hobby that you’d never even heard of, all can spark a life-long interest that may well even shape your career prospects and everything you do afterward.
Independence might be the headline-quality that studying abroad gives you, but the transferable skills you learn are endless. You dig into everything from problem-solving and pragmatism, to map-reading to money management, all of which will serve you well throughout your life.
Studying abroad during college can be a life-changing opportunity, particularly as you realize that you’ve blossomed into a fully functioning adult when you step back on home soil.
I choose to study abroad for the resaons listed above. It gave me my real first lessons of independence. I had to quickly adapt to a new culture with new people and a new language. Florence, Italy is a different way of life then Long Island, but I am forever grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time there.