I grew up in the city, Lagos, many of my first experiences were here. I met my best friends and I went to school here for twelve years, from Nursery 2 to Grade 11 before continuing my education in the United States. Studying abroad was a huge step for me. I didn’t know what to expect. Everything there was so different from what I was used to; the people, the environment, the culture. I was worried I would never get used to it and I longed for home so much that it sometimes would ruin my experience studying in the states, but after being there for about two years, I can confidently say studying abroad was the right step to take. It made me become the adaptive, independent, and resilient young woman I am today.
Studying abroad helps students break out of their shells and become more independent. Something about being taken out of one’s comfort zone and being placed thousands of kilometers away in a foreign land changes a person. It helps in personal development and improves one’s confidence. Students who live in their home countries are surrounded by family, friends, usual hangouts and so many other places and faces they see every day. That familiarity doesn’t challenge them. To be independent means to trust your own instincts and judgment. You only have yourself and not others to rely on. It’s something every student needs to learn and studying abroad can help give that. Yes, it can be scary at first but eventually, you will get more comfortable in your new environment and learn to love it.
Studying abroad will help students meet more people. They’ll have the chance to build valuable relationships that can help them in their careers like finding jobs, internships, business investors, and also possibly make some life-long friends along the way. Making friends can help you feel more connected with those around you and as crazy as it may sound, it can also make this massive world that has over 7 billion people living in it, a little smaller.
Studying abroad boosts resumés. Students who’ve studied abroad stand out because experiencing life in a foreign country impresses employers. It shows them that the person is able to adapt to a new environment, has a high level of resourcefulness, networking, and communication skills, and has also experienced another country’s culture. Having that knowledge could help a business gain potential foreign clients and customers. Being in another country also opens students up to more career opportunities. Depending on one’s college major, certain places are well known for different fields. For instance, for those interested in Technology and in specialising in courses like Web Design and IT Infrastructure, some of the top countries known for their Technological expertise are Japan, Germany, and Russia. Students could look into studying in one of these places or others to expand their career choices. Another interesting field is Fashion. For fashion design majors, the top fashion capitals of the world are Paris, Milan, New York, and London. The most prestigious fashion houses are located there. Working in any one of these places would give them a leg up in their fashion careers.
Studying abroad will also broaden students’ perspectives and change their mindset. Traveling allows one to experience life through a different lens. They are exposed to new people, cultures, lifestyles, beliefs, and experiences which could possibly make them rethink their view of life and what it really means to them. Take Philosophy for example. The word “philosophy” is derived from the Ancient Greek word “Philosophia” meaning “love of wisdom”. It is the study of reality, knowledge, and existence. To the students who are interested in Philosophy, how can you truly understand it without first expanding your perspective by seeing what other parts of the world are like.
Students will get to learn and experience different cultures. By studying abroad, they will not only understand the world better but it will also promote better communication skills and bridge the gap between other cultures and ethnicities. Experiencing these cultures will also help students down the line when they start their careers. When they start working, they may meet people from other countries, making It much easier and more comfortable working with these people because the students have already gained some experience talking to other people from different cultural backgrounds. This will establish a stronger relationship and a more productive work environment.
Traveling also sparks imagination and boosts creativity. Changing one’s environment is inspiring and enhances productivity. Many people can relate to having to sit down to work on an assignment while looking at the same boring four walls all day. It reduces your productivity but the moment you get up and move to a different room or do a fun activity and go back to it, you produce better results in the assignment. Now, imagine what the average student could produce if they move to an entirely different country.
By studying abroad, students can learn new languages. We live in a globalized world and becoming fluent in one or more languages can only benefit us. Of course, students could simply just take a language course at their university but what you learn in the country is much different from what you learn in the classroom. In class, students are only in there for about an hour two or three times a week. Once the bell rings, class is over and they go back to speaking and hearing the language they already know. They don’t learn or retain enough of the language they’re trying to learn because the time they’re exposed to it is limited. Even if practiced more often during their free time, for instance, they still wouldn’t learn as much or as fast when studying it abroad. Being surrounded by native speakers 24/7 will help students become fluent in a shorter amount of time. They will learn the conversational language in ways they wouldn’t be able to in class. Students will also pick up the accent, the correct pronunciations and learn more current terms.
The benefits of studying abroad are truly endless. Everywhere around the world offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can play a huge role in helping you reach your full potential and having a bright and successful future. Why not take that step as I did and experience what our world has to offer?
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Top 10 countries for technological expertise https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/slideshows/top-10-countries-for-technological-expertise-ranked-by-perception