College is a time when you have too many new adventures to count. For many people, it’s the first time they’ve been away from home for any amount of time longer than a few weeks. Some people have never even been away from home for more than a night. You’re becoming an adult and learning how to take care of yourself, and it’s a steep learning curve. But you should look at college as one big adventure where you experience new things every day. Many people take this view and want to take themselves as far out of their comfort zone as they can. You can go to college in another state, which could be all the way across the country. Or you could go one step further and leave the country altogether. While some people decide to do their whole degree in another country, another option is to do a semester abroad. Spending just one semester abroad is an amazing experience. But at the end of it you get to return home and finish getting your degree in your home country.
There are hundreds of reasons to go abroad for a semester. And there are even more reasons you should visit a country that doesn’t speak English as its main language. Learning another language while you experience a new country can enhance your journey even more. Plus, you’ll come home with an extra skill that will help you hugely when you’re looking for work. Many semester abroad programs combine classes that fit your degree with intensive language lessons. And because you’re living in the country where the language you’re learning is spoken, you get to practice it and hear it in a natural environment. If you’re unsure about whether to spend a semester abroad, consider these amazing reasons to go for it.
Immersive Language Learning
An additional language is an amazing skill to have, and it can open a lot of doors for you when you enter the world of work after college. The world is becoming more diverse and international markets and intermingling. So an extra language can be a great bonus in employment and put you at the head of the pack. Businesses are looking to expand into growing markets in other countries. But to do this they need the people with language skills to help them.
Learning a language in a country where the native people speak it is one of the best things you can do to help your learning along. Language learning becomes more difficult as you get older, but immersive learning can help. Instead of being stuck in a classroom for one or two hours a day and then leaving to speak English for the rest of the day, you can continue your learning once you leave the classroom. You would choose to learn english in London if given the chance, so why not learn French in Paris or Spanish in Mexico? You can apply your new language skills in a real environment with native speakers, instead of practicing them in a sterile classroom with other learners.
Meet New People
Living abroad for a semester will expand your horizons and allow you to meet new people from all over the world. You won’t be the only person taking a semester abroad or the only international student. You can meet up with other people from your home country. But you can also make friends with people native to your host country and from elsewhere. A semester abroad can be fantastic for opening your eyes to new cultures and new people. When you return home, you certainly won’t be able to say that you’re sheltered. You will have seen, heard and learned new things. You’ll return a more open-minded and knowledgeable person. Plus, you will have made some friends for life, or at least met some people who you’ll never forget. Meeting people from all over the world gives you another bonus too. You have friends you can stay with if you’re ever traveling the world.
It’s not just the extra language skills that would look good on your resume. Even if you decide to spend your semester abroad in a country that speaks the language you’re already fluent in, the experience will still look good to employers. By taking a semester abroad, you’re showing you can take yourself out of your comfort zone. You can give yourself a challenge and tackle new experiences. These are all great skills to have when you’re entering the post-graduate world of work and have to dive into employment at the deep end. Plus, it makes you look like an interesting person.
Many students manage to get through college without ever standing on their own two feet. They coast through their degree and reach graduation with little idea of how to manage their finances, do a proper grown-up shop for groceries or organize their time. When you spend a semester abroad, you will have support from a team in your host country, but you’re expected to look after yourself. This is even truer in some countries, such as some European countries, where you’re considered a fully-fledged adult. It’s up to you to sort out all your adult affairs. At college back home, you might have moved out, but you’re probably living in dorms with other students who are similar to you. Taking a semester abroad will require you to navigate a new culture, city and language. This can be overwhelming even for the most independent of people.
If you want to take a semester abroad, but you’re worried about the cost, have a look to see if you can get any grants or loans. Some people have a semester abroad as part of their college program but if you don’t you may be able to get help to go away. Try looking at information from both your university and the one that you want to visit. Both might provide funding for you spend a semester abroad.