An important part of a study abroad program is what happens during your time away, but the way you use your experience after you return home is equally as important.
Here are five benefits of study abroad I experienced during and after my summer overseas:
1. New Point of View
I gained a point of view that I otherwise would not have had without my experience in Ireland and London. I experienced how big this world actually is. I saw how a country can come together and how it can be divided. I witnessed how a country can proud of their history and how that history is showcased throughout the nation, and how those things differ to what I’ve seen in the United States. It was extremely cool to see how people across different nations and cultures still want to meet and experience the same things as I do.
I felt a welcoming feeling abroad in Ireland because the people were so excited to meet new people. I want to create that feeling for new visitors in the United States — or even just in my hometown of Arlington, Texas — so they can also have a new point of view on the world.
2. Future Career & Opportunities
A misconception about studying abroad is that it is only meant for traveling. However, a student abroad can gain many qualities and skills inside and outside of the classroom that attract future employers that you may not gain in a job, internship, or course back home. I gained curiosity, adaptability, new communication skills, and international experience. I had the chance to learn how to travel a new city in two days with new people I had met the day before. These are the skills that can make me more qualified for employment opportunities in the future.
I discovered a new found independence while in Ireland and London. It was my first time living way from home to go to school. I had to do all of my own shopping for groceries and home supplies on top of going to school and my expeditions all over Ireland. I also learned to decide where I wanted to do for myself instead of following a crowd. It is about choosing what you want and need to create the courage to do it. I will always strive to keep that independence because once you have it, you enjoy more of life.
My education at Maynooth University in Ireland was an unforgettable one and is one of the major benefits of study abroad. I learned more about the Irish history and culture through the lectures and field trips I had in my courses. My Irish education was different that my American education. I am thankful for that because I am now able to practice new ways of learning and teaching, such as the importance of applying lectures to real life situations with other teacher, peers, and in future projects.
5. New Connections
I did not expect to have so many adventures with strangers who became my friends along the way. I was able to bond with new people through ideas and hobbies that we had in common, but experience them in a new country together. It was a new fun and unforgettable way to bond and learn along with new people.
Whichever way you choose to benefit from your study abroad program, you will always find a way to embrace it in different aspects of your life.