Imagine a sunny day walking along cobblestone streets lined with historical four-story apartment buildings, and no matter where you look, there is a beautiful and charming sight to take in. You’re surrounded by strangers who you can’t understand, weekends are filled with inexpensive travel to new places and every day, you’re eating delicious food you could never replicate at home.
Yes, this was reality when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. Sure, it might be a fun alternative to a traditional semester on campus, but there are more benefits than getting to travel the world.
Studying abroad can be a difficult adjustment – you’re away from your family, you don’t know where you are going 95 percent of the time and you often can’t understand anything anyone says. These might seem like tough things to deal with every day, but the truth is, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I highly recommend you jump on (if given the opportunity). We are living in a global society today more than ever, so learning about different social and cultural situations can be a key to success and differentiate you among other job candidates.
Some skills traveling abroad will help you learn include:
Problem-solving. You’ll run into problems or challenges almost every day, but you’ll learn to deal with them in a unique and efficient way. After a couple weeks, you’ll be able to stay calm and deal with any problem that travels your way.
Adaptability. How do you adapt in a different country? The best way to know is to try it. Throughout your time abroad, you’ll learn to quickly adapt to countless situations culturally, socially and personally.
Communication and interpersonal skills. Communication isn’t about just the language, but different customs and cultures too. You’ll learn how to communicate in different ways with a variety of people, which you’ll also have to do in a professional environment.
Open-mindedness. You’ll become mindful of the environment around you and learn to appreciate different cultures. It can be hard to keep an open mind about different cultures and traditions other than your own, but you’ll come to appreciate these different ways of life and realize you learn much more that way.
These skills are often sought out by job recruiters, and they aren’t easy to obtain if you are always sitting in a classroom reading a textbook. Take the leap and take yourself out of your comfort zone – you’ll be thanking me after for having the best time of your life.
What questions do you have about studying abroad?