1. There is a whole world out there you’ve never met.
I know students who truly believe there is nothing more for them outside their comfortable bubble. They don’t see the point of traveling or living in a place that doesn’t share their own language, culture, customs, government, etc. This concept both baffles me and makes me sad. The world has so much more to offer each of us than what we’ve known in our respective towns and cities, or even our country. Abroad, the people are different, the food is different, and the way of life is different. Although it makes me uncomfortable at times, I’m learning to appreciate and celebrate all of these differences. Studying abroad is more than studying textbooks. It is more educational, more challenging, and creates a richer perspective on life.
2. Studying abroad changes and strengthens the way you think.
Life suddenly becomes so much bigger than you once you’re abroad. You realize the United States really isn’t all that’s there. I know the phrase ‘study abroad changes you’ is cliché, but it’s true. I no long find myself worried about frivolous things, and I’ve noticed many of my priorities have changed. The importance of money has declined; my appearance no longer concerns me; I don’t live my life simply moving from one task or exam to the next. I started to use my brain in ways I never have. I analyze things differently and I’ve begun to see humanity differently.
3. Study abroad is an experience you cannot get any other way.
You can’t image how true this statement is until you experience it for yourself. Study abroad throws you into a completely foreign environment with people you never would have met otherwise in a culture that is totally different from your own. There is no way to replicate this. It has been both a liberating and humbling experience. I have come to appreciate the many facets of this world and its people.