You’re in college enjoying friends, parties, and Thursday night drink specials downtown, so why should you even consider going abroad? Other than the obvious (everyone has super adorable accents and you get passport stamps), check out these five reasons you should grab an application and fly away now.
FIVE: Break the Chain
You’ve heard so many stereotypes: “The French are smelly,” “Drunken Irish,” “Russia: Vodka and Communists,” or “Those smart Asians.” Why not go prove them wrong? Sure, some of the people you will meet abroad will fit their brand, but you will be genuinely surprised by the majority of what you learn. Also, it does not hurt to show that not all American’s are fat and ignorant!
After getting home you will have a new understanding of both your country and the one you visited. You may have thought you were open minded, but your travels will expand your thinking and understanding of the world. When others are talking about how great/terrible America is, you will be able to share your knowledge and experiences to show just how right or wrong they are.
FOUR: Lifelong Love Affair
No, it is not what it seems (although who knows, maybe some mysterious and sexy stranger will catch your eye). This love affair is with the country you visit. Your time abroad may be limited, but the experiences you gain and the feelings you have will shape you and stick with you for life. The country becomes part of who you are. It will seep into your soul, and you may not even realize that this place, this country you have spent mere months in, has become your home. Being separated from your host country at the end of your journey will make your heart throb and your stomach ache, but remember, your time abroad is never truly over. Any time a place you visited is mentioned, you hear the accent, or you see a local brand you will perk up and let nostalgia sweep over you.
Yes, you’re already living on your own at college, but chances are you’re still relying on your parents and worrying about their approval. When you are abroad, you are completely on your own. You don’t know anyone. You can’t just give your parents a ring on the telephone. You are left to make your own decisions and form your own path. Is it scary? Of course! It is absolutely terrifying. But it is also one of the most thrilling and liberating feelings you will ever have. Your travels will shape your opinions, mature your actions, and reform your outlook on life.
Things like finding where you are going, knowing how to find the best travel deals, and cooking all of your own meals will help you grow. Don’t know how to read a map? By the end of your stay you will be able to. You’ll also be able to give and take directions, navigate the subway or tram system, order taxis, and read a time table. Looks like you will never have to worry about navigating around a new place again!
This one may seem obvious, but the amount of opportunities available abroad are unbelievable. You’ll find yourself snagging cheap tickets for weekends away, stealing peeks at drool-worthy celebrities, and trying things your mother will cringe over and your father will pat you on the back for. Concerts, book signings, crossing rope bridges, exploring world-renowned galleries, befriending taxi drivers, or sneaking extra cheese samples: there are so many things to do and places to see that you will never be bored.
Or maybe you’re looking to stay on campus. Remember how you loved your Thursday night drink specials downtown? Well, many universities abroad have bars, pubs, or clubs right on campus.
ONE: Unbreakable Bonds
This one may sound cliche, but it is the best part of studying abroad. The friends you make will become your family. These will be the people you spend your semester (or year) partying, studying, and relaxing with. These are the people who will support you and eat Chinese for breakfast with you. They won’t judge you when you make a terrible decision and will jump at the chance to go somewhere new. They will be the ones convincing you to do that thing you are just too afraid to try on your own. These will be the people you travel the world with and travel the world for.
So why travel? To fall in love, not with a person, but with a lifestyle. Once you have had a taste of the magic of living abroad, you will never want it to end. The jealous looks you’ll get back from all of the people who stalked your Facebook albums while you were gone will definitely make it worthwhile as well.
Interested in studying abroad in the UK? Learn more.