5 reasons to study abroad

After going back and forth on the idea of studying abroad for a couple of semesters, I decided to go for it. It took me out of my comfort zone. It challenged me to do things I had not done before. And it brought me on a journey of discovery, with amazing food, breathtaking views, and extremely hospitable people in Italy. Here are just five reasons to consider studying abroad during college. 

1. Discover another way of life

It is one thing to go on vacation and visit a new place. Living somewhere for months and really immersing yourself in a new culture is a completely different experience. And in order to do this, I tried to do as the locals did:

  • Drinking cappuccinos only before noon and switching to espresso in the afternoon for my caffeine fix
  • Being comfortable with sitting at the same table as fellow lunch eaters who I did not know at busy restaurants in the market
  • Knowing it was completely normal to have a dog underfoot when picking out a meat for dinner inside a supermarket
  • Never going to dinner before 7:30 or 8 p.m. when all the best restaurants opened

These are some things that were once all foreign to me, as they should have been. I was in a foreign place learning to live a different — and beautiful — way of life, what the Italians fondly refer to as “la dolce vita.”

2. Experience new things

Beef tartare, for example. One time at a restaurant, I ordered a main course beef dish. I did not exactly know what I was in for, but I like beef so I figured it couldn't go wrong. When the meal came out, I was surprised that the meat was not even cooked — and on top of that, it was served with a raw egg. Not wanting to be rude, I dug in. I never expected to enjoy it, but I did. And I would never have known this if I was not open-minded and treating every day as an adventure.

3. Learn about yourself

In a new environment, you are likely to learn something about yourself that you did not know before. For example, I used to not travel light because I never want to forget anything. However, I learned that I can pack light (especially when it cost more to check my bag on the flight than the cost of the ticket itself.) I also learned that I love cooking. Being off campus and away from my normal routine, I had time to discover and experiment with new hobbies. Lastly, seeing how people from other parts of the world live their lives might give you a new perspective and spark new ideas, thoughts, interests, and emotions.

4. Meet new people

The two English-speaking teenagers on my flight to Barcelona eager to educate me on all the best tapas restaurants. The man with the self-proclaimed “best Parmesan cheese in the whole world” at the outdoor market. The neighbor who made the most amazing pastries. (Yes, if you were wondering, I did spend all my summer internship savings on delectable food #NoRegrets). Reflecting back on my overall experience, I have realized it was the moments and interactions with the people I met in my travels that I will always remember. Some of the people I met I will keep in touch with, and others will simply be a part of my memories. Regardless, they all enhanced my travels and taught me something.

5. It's a good business decision (seriously!)

First off, let’s talk about a popular reason to not study abroad — it’s expensive. Before you cross it off your list though, do a little research. There are a ton of funding opportunities for scholarships and grants through ASU, the program you go through, and even private organizations. For some of the programs through ASU, the cost might be even cheaper than your regular tuition (especially for out-of-state students).

In my opinion, if you are paying tuition anyway, why not spice up your college experience with some international flare? Once in your study abroad location, you will enjoy some sweet discounts on transport, museums, and restaurants with your student ID card. And when else can you just go live in another country for about four months? Final practical reason: studying abroad and broadening your horizons does not look bad on a resume. Plus, if you pick up some foreign language skills along the way, you are making yourself a more marketable job candidate.


Discover many ways to learn about business overseas at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business.

Erin

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