Maybe you are now just finishing up with school and thinking about what to do afterwards. The next step will be an important one that could have an impact on what you do for the rest of your life.
When considering your various options, did you ever think about going abroad for your studies? While leaving your home country can involve challenges and even risks, it can also yield substantial rewards. So what are some of the advantages of going to a foreign country to complete your studies?
1. Expand your world view
Living abroad, not just going to a country as a tourist, will help you to better understand the world we live in. Often people who have never stepped outside of their home environment have a distorted view of the world and cannot realistically assess political, economic and social trends.
It’s interesting to observe that those segments of the population – no matter what the country – who live in relatively isolated communities are often the most anti-foreign, anti-refugee, etc., due largely to the fact that they have little first-hand experience of interacting with people from other cultures.
2. Learn to adapt to a new culture and environment
The world is changing rapidly and people are increasingly mobile, either by choice or by necessity. Even people who have always lived in the same place all their lives can see the socio-cultural environment changing around them.
If you want to be successful in your chosen career, you will have to become adaptable to change and to diverse cultures. Living in a foreign culture will train your adaptability.
3. Learn a new language
Learning a new language can be an enriching experience from all points of view. Business and commerce, even for SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises), are increasingly international in scope.
Mastering a foreign language can make you a more attractive candidate for an interesting job. Besides the professional/economic rewards, knowing a foreign language brings a lot personal satisfaction, broadens your sources of information and cultural experience.
4. Employers value abroad experience
In today’s world of interconnected economies and supply lines between countries, employers are looking to hire people who are knowledgeable about international trends and are comfortable dealing with people from diverse cultures.
Indeed, based on responses from 10,000 hiring managers and CEOs in 116 nations, the 2011 QS Global employer survey found that 60% of respondents said they do "value an international study experience".
5. Become more self-reliant
To a greater extent than staying in your home country, going abroad means you are alone, on your own. Sure, the university, school or college you attend will be there to help you adjust to this new world.
However, there will be many things that you will have to figure out for yourself and decisions to be made that only you can make.
6. Make new friends from around the world
In today’s globalised world, establishing an international network can help you both professionally and socially. Having contacts you can rely on in foreign countries can be an invaluable asset as you progress in your career, as well as enriching your travel experience.
7. Discover things about your own culture
This may sound counterintuitive, but going abroad for a significant length of time and integrating yourself into a foreign environment allows you to view your culture from the outside and probably offers a more objective vision of your own background and the society whence you come.
Going abroad helps you to put your origins into perspective.