One of the richest experiences a student can have is the opportunity to study abroad. It provides every student with a unique insight into other cultures, languages and observe and learn how other education systems go about helping students succeed. In short, it broadens the perspective and experience of any student who is lucky enough to have the opportunity to study abroad.
Building New Relationships
Although studying may the main objective, probably one of the biggest benefits is the opportunity to build new friendships and contacts from another country and culture. After all, you won’t be studying ALL the time and so making most of your free time is vital to build new relationships.
Whether you’re staying with a family or on campus, you’ll have amazing opportunities to meet more people.
At times, you will feel out of your comfort zone and that’s completely normal. But it doesn’t take as long as you would think to start joining in social activities and making new friends which sometimes, turn into lifelong friendships.
Obtaining an education abroad offers an individual a chance to think about what they are learning from various points-of-view since educators and the resources used that can be very diverse.
What is almost certain, the teachers will approach you in an alternate manner that you’re used to and this will help you develop a broader perspective when it comes to learning.
Quite simply, you will get the chance to see a side of your selected education that you would have not had the possibility to discover if you were studying back at home.
Professional and self-improvement
In many cases, you will find students from other countries in the same situation as you since many educational establishments are continuously working to attract more foreign students. Not only is this good for you, it’s also good for the educational establishment themselves.
The contacts you’ll make will be vast so make sure you take advantage of learning from colleagues and teachers alike.
Show an interest in the people you meet and you’ll be not only learning about your own personal development but also opening new possibilities to professional opportunities as well.
Living the Campus Life
One of the numerous extraordinary focal points of seeking education abroad is that you will be studying and living with people from all parts of the world and particularly so if you’re going to be living on a campus.
If this is going to be your chosen approach, the social aspects are going to be numerous and you should definitely take advantage of them. However, don’t let them interfere with your core purpose which is to study! And of course, you do have to care of looking after your budget as well: it’s rare for overseas students to have abundant financial resources but campus life often allows you to enjoy a social life without breaking the bank.
If you happen to decide to study for an overseas degree program (in a university or ‘college’ as is it known in the US) or even just a shorter course, this will greatly enhance your CV / resumé.
When you return home after completing your exams, you will come back with not only an official certification but also real-life experience that employers’ value. For example, there’s the simple aspect of language but also the very fact that you lived among a different culture and spent time in an unfamiliar environment is well looked upon.
Secondary Cultural Experiences
If you happen to be coming to Europe or South-East Asia, providing you have budget, it’s an excellent opportunity to visit neighbouring countries.
In Europe, for example, the languages and cultures are very different even though the distances are relatively short. The same occurs in South East Asia. If you happen to be studying in Singapore, you have countries such as Malaysia and Thailand right at your doorstep!
Developing New Interests
One thing that occurs with most students that study abroad is that you start developing new interests. This is simply because the things we experience at home tend to be taken for granted. But when you’re exposed to a different country and culture, you’ll suddenly find new things that you’ve never thought about before simply because you haven’t experienced before.
By being away from the comforts of your home and with free time on your hand, you’ll be somehow forced to get involved in different activities or see new things.
At first, it will feel a little intimidating but if you have a reasonable amount of curiosity, you’ll soon start seeing and experiencing new things that you had never imagined before.
Final Note on Practical Issues
Depending on the length of your study you’re going to undertake, you’ll need to get some sort of visa in place.
Normally the institution involved will help you with this but broadly speaking, each country has different rules.
If you’re going for a shorter period of time, many countries have 90-day limits in place. For example, if you’re from the European Union and planning to attend a short course in the US, normally an ESTA visa exemption should suffice (but check here with this ESTA guide).
For American or Asian students planning to study for shorter periods in Europe, almost all European countries have the same rules since the European Union has common rules about their members (although this may change for the UK after the Brexit process).
Starting in 2021, the European Union will be rolling out the ETIAS visa exemption program which is similar the US’s ESTA system (more info here: https://etias-europe.us/etias-travel-waiver-guide/ ) .
For durations longer than three months, you’ll almost certainly have to apply for a special student visa which often does not allow you to work at the same time so make sure you take this into account.
Once again, the education institution should be able to guide you on this because there’s a very good chance you won’t be the first student coming from overseas.