8 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

8 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

Are you considering study abroad? Tempted to go but not sure if it’s worth the effort? Well, you’ve come to the right place because I’m here to convince you to GO. DO. IT.

As you may or may not know, my semester abroad in Hong Kong was certainly one of the highlights of my college years and was quite literally life-changing since I ended up moving here after graduation. I can’t imagine what my current life would be like if I hadn’t gone, and also it was a super fun time! Here’s why you should do it too!

1. New life free-trial

To me, the best part of going to study abroad is the fact that it gives you a small taste of life in a new place. Study abroad offers the rare opportunity for you to live somewhere new without having to drop everything you’ve got and risk being stuck there forever. Not saying that you can’t do this later on in life, but it’s certainly much easier to do whilst in college because you have the guarantee of returning to home when it’s over. 

Sure, you can argue that you can just visit a place for a little while and experience life there, which is true. But I do think that wouldn’t do it justice. A week or two in a new country will probably not be enough to decide if this place is for you. But a semester might show you just enough.

For me personally, I’ve visited Hong Kong a handful of time before for a family vacation and whatnot, and it was fine, I enjoyed it. But it didn’t leave me any particular impression. It wasn’t until I spent 6 months here did I realize that I love this place, even with the chaos and mess that comes with it. I’m not saying this will absolutely happen to you and your chosen place, but I do think study abroad gives you the opportunity to explore the place in its full glory.

2. Excuse to travel

An obvious one, but worth highlighting anyway is the opportunity to travel that comes with study abroad. Unless your choice of destination is in a remote random location, chances are there will be countries nearby that are convenient to visit during your program. And it’s a perfect opportunity to take advantage of this! I chose Hong Kong because of its proximity to other countries around, and it served me well. In one semester, I got to explore 5 cities without breaking the bank, since I was living so close by! I’ve also had friends who chose Amsterdam and spend their semester exploring tons of cities around Europe. Make sure to empty your Fridays (if not more) to maximize your travel time!

3. Lifetime friendship

There’s something about meeting people at a new place that is so exciting to me. And study abroad programs put people who are lonely and confused together, often creating friendships that can last for years. I find that people tend to be more open to meeting and getting to know new people while abroad, similar to backpackers and such, which makes it 10x easier to develop new friendships. That plus freedom and arguably chiller lifestyle can help you really bond even in such a short period of time. The friendship I made while in my program is by far the best thing that came out of that semester, and I’m happy to report and 2 years later, we’re still in each other’s lives!

Oh, and a side bonus, if you happen to make friends with people from other countries in the world, you’ll have a tour guide next time you’re in their town 😉 

4. Goodbye comfort zone

Get ready to be uncomfortable, all the time. This may not be a pro to everyone, but I enjoyed feeling uncomfortable and out of place during my exchange time. Because that way, everything was more exciting! From feeling out of place before finding your friends to getting lost in the city to taking Ls throughout the semester (fun fact, my friends and I all lost our wallets in one semester), its all part of the beauty of study abroad, so just enjoy the ride!

5. Save some $$

During my study abroad research, I found that some programs in some countries could actually allow you to save some money for the semester! For some Asian countries, in particular, rent and living cost was cheaper than what I was paying in LA.

Depending on your school’s policies and financial help, you may be able to get the same amount of credits (and new experience) while paying less. So if you find a program that’s out of your budget, don’t give up so fast, there’s more out there!   

6. Your network, expanded

Thinking of moving abroad for work after graduating? Study abroad is a great way to boost yourself! Not only that you’ll get the chance to meet potential employers and connections while abroad, hence expanding your network wider; having lived abroad experience on your resume (or interviews) could also show that you have the chops to survive when they hire you (abroad).

I am aware that study abroad is now very common so it’s no longer an obvious edge, compared to say, years ago, but I do think it’s still an interesting topic of discussion that shows a potential employer your character and interests.

If you happen to fall in love with a place and end up wanting to live there again (like me), even better! Regardless, take advantage of the networking opportunity while you’re abroad, you never know what could come up later!

7. Experience a new college 

Along with the same note, study abroad also gives you the opportunity to become a student at a new university, which is also super fun! It’s a chance to explore a new campus, cultures, courses, and just overall student life there! These experiences could help spice up your college experience instead of being in one place the whole 4+ years, which at times could become a bit too familiar and repetitive. 

8. Anti-FOMO 

I don’t know if I’m stating the obvious here, but I genuinely think that it would be a regret if I hadn’t gone abroad because I’d feel like I missed out on a part of the college experience. This is obviously very personal and catered to your interests and goals, but I’d suggest at least exploring the opportunity so you don’t regret it later.

Start planning as early as Freshman year. Talk to your college advisors and/or study abroad office so you know your options and see if its something that you can work with your schedule and financial plan. I almost didn’t get to go because of a schedule conflict, but I expressed my interest early enough so my advisor and I had the chance to move around my plan to squeeze this in. If I had waited another semester, it wouldn’t have worked out. So go now!

And these are just a handful of great reasons why you should study abroad! 

There are many other ways to justify your semester abroad too, like cultural adaptation, language learning opportunity, or if you just feel live to have a change of lifestyle! All are valid and by the end of the day, it is totally up to you on what makes doing this worth it and what you make out of it!

I hope if you do end up going, you’ll have a blast! 


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