First thing that comes to anyone's mind when we talk about studying abroad is the prodigious exposure that the student will garner. But this exposure comes with a list of pros and cons like everything in this world. It is on the individual to decide whether or not they have to walk down the path but one must remember that the exposure and experience gathered. For many students, going away to college is the first time that they will live away from their parents or hometown. University life affords freedom, independence, and an opportunity to gain life skills that will be used throughout life. However, while this is certainly a major event, getting the most out of your college experience may involve going beyond your university’s campus.
Off-campus volunteer and work opportunities may be the farthest you’ll want to venture from your college campus. But you may want to consider studying abroad.
Studying abroad offers a unique opportunity to grow academically, professionally, and personally while going on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. There are a number of other benefits to studying abroad; however, there are also numerous challenges. Consider the pros and cons, and decide if studying abroad may be right for you.
Experience the foreign culture. You can also aim at learning a second language and further improving your skills. You can also pursue an activity you wouldn’t do back at home. Managing your expenses helps you become more independent. It increases your employability prospects and network for your future and gain contacts. A year of studying and living abroad offers an educational experience well beyond that of a textbook or classroom. History, art, politics, government, sociology and economics come to life when living abroad. Surround yourself with centuries of art and architecture. Consider politics from a new perspective, through a French, Spanish, Italian, German or Belgian newspaper. Debating on the government and economics with classmates who have a different frame of reference is one of the many added advantages. Discover another country and culture by immersing yourself in the most natural way, as a member of a host family. You will gain an insider's view of what life is like in another country, how those in another country think how they see the world. In so doing, you will expand your own world view. You will learn flexibility and develop an open mind as you explore new ease of thinking and doing. You will make friends to treasure for a lifetime and "build bridges" to another country that will forever be a second home.
If you're sold on the idea of studying abroad, ask yourself some questions: How long do I want to be abroad? What countries or cultures interest me most? Do I want to study in a large city or in a smaller town? Do I want to travel extensively while I'm studying abroad? Also think about what you want in terms of academic offerings, cost of the overall program and student composition. Once you've identified your preferences, start looking for a program that fits most of them. Don't worry if you don't have all of the answers yet. But remember, you're more likely to get the most out of your experience if you plan ahead.