The invaluable experience of studying abroad should be a part of every college student’s education. The opportunity to create lifelong memories, discover places and local cultures, make global friends and learn new languages — all while earning college credit — helps foster valuable life skills.
There aren’t many opportunities to go abroad for the length of the entire school year. Chico State’s study abroad programs have more than 200 locations in 40 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
With so many places to visit while studying abroad, there is something for everyone’s interest. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the rich history of art and architecture in Italy, spend days relaxing on the stunning beaches and rainforests of Brazil, indulge in delicious tapas and Spain’s famous Spanish red wine, visit the ancient temples of Greece or see wildlife in Australia. The possibilities are endless.
The myth that studying abroad costs a lot of money is not always true. “The Study Abroad and Exchange team created the Study Abroad on the Cheap flyer to highlight the low-cost programs available to students. There are some programs where students spend almost the same amount or less than they would at Chico State,” according to Chico State’s Study Abroad and Exchange FAQ page. The Study Abroad On The Cheap Flyer program also offers lower-cost destinations such as France, Costa Rica, Germany and Japan. Offers popular destinations.
Studying abroad allows students to gain a global perspective. By immersing ourselves in other cultures, we better understand the world and the people around us. Being aware of what life is like in other parts of the world is essential to broaden your perspective and get the bigger picture. There is no better way to absorb the culture of a country than to live there.
Learning inside the classroom is another unique experience for study abroad students. Study abroad students can learn courses similar to their major, but in ways they haven’t seen before. Learning in different environments with different curricula and methods of teaching curriculum content promotes a healthy change of pace.
In America, student expectations are highly focused on participation. To receive a passing grade in most US college courses, a student must participate. This may mean that some professors may insist on attendance, tests, presentations, and other in-class assignments. For other professors, this may mean emphasizing participation through homework, online discussions, and readings.
European universities, for example, generally require less participation from students than in the U.S. “In Europe, classes focus on lectures, lots and lots of reading, and one or two major exams. Group projects and other activities are rare. In the UK, there are tutorials, which range from 1 There is a group of three students, but they are not taught by the professor,” according to College Fashion.
When study abroad students challenge their minds to think differently than they are used to in the classroom, they are more prepared to face unexpected challenges. Acquiring new approaches to problem solving is not only useful in the classroom but is also a valuable skill to carry throughout life. Many problem-solving techniques are essential in personal life and relevant to virtually any professional role. “80% of study abroad students reported that study abroad allowed them to better adapt to a diverse work environment, and 84% of study abroad alumni felt that their study abroad helped them build valuable skills for the job market,” UC According to Merced Statistics.
Problem solving helps us deal effectively with problems, changes and improvements when things don’t work as planned. Situations where problem-solving skills are important may include negotiating with friends or colleagues after disagreements, generating alternative ideas to correct mistakes at work, and collaborating with others on group tasks. Knowing how to solve a task in some ways can be very limited, so the problem-solving skills gained by studying abroad are useful for success.
Studying abroad is life-changing not only because of all the fascinating places and attractions to learn, but also through the personal growth that comes from living outside of one’s comfort zone. Entering an unfamiliar environment forces study abroad students to learn more about themselves.
The Institute for International Education of Students surveyed the long-term effects of studying abroad on students’ personal, professional and academic lives. The findings of the study concluded that 96% of the students reported increased self-confidence.
Study abroad students will face inevitable obstacles as they adjust to a new lifestyle. For many students, studying abroad is the first time in their lives that they truly take care of themselves and navigate challenges independently. Overcoming challenges such as language barriers, adjusting to cultural differences and the discomfort of being away from home increases self-reliance and confidence.
Students studying abroad must adapt to their environment without a familiar support system, making them more independent. Increased independence brings more confidence in new life challenges and experiences.
The lifelong lessons, valuable learning and self-improvement that come with studying abroad make it an unparalleled experience that every college student should explore.
Emily Russell can be reached at [email protected]