Studying abroad programs are extremely valuable character-builders. Here is how traveling to an unfamiliar country and living amongst the local population can help you overcome some of your deepest post-graduation fears.
Spending a successful semester – or year – overseas is the goal of every student traveler. Seeing the world, experiencing unfamiliar cuisines and speaking new languages are fun and fascinating ways to spend a semester or a year, but immersing yourself in a different culture can pay dividends in ways you might not anticipate.
If you have reservations about your ability to cope with the uncertainties of entering the real world, you might find that studying abroad programs will help you become a stronger, more confident person in the following ways.
1. You’ll become money-savvy
When it comes to international travel, you can never have too much money. Finding sufficient funds can be a significant hurdle for the student traveler; it is one of the top reasons students forgo study abroad opportunities. But the process of financing your study abroad experience can help prepare you for your post-graduation life in ways you might not anticipate.
- You’ll become adept at budgeting. Creating a plan for housing, food, entertainment, necessities, and miscellaneous expenses is critical – no matter how much money you’ll have at your disposal.
- You’ll learn the concept of international fees. It is very likely that your credit card charges fees for international use. Researching currency conversion rates and which financial institutions offer the best rates will help strengthen your financial IQ.
- You’ll learn different ways of making money. Just because you’re studying abroad doesn’t mean you’re forfeiting your opportunity to earn. There are on-campus jobs and academic training programs you can take advantage of, if you’re eligible. Reach out to your study abroad coordinator to learn more about on-campus work. Additionally, there are lots of creative ways to earn extra cash, like monetizing a blog or doing freelance online work.
There is no better money management skills test than studying abroad. If you can fund a year overseas, you’ll be able to manage your money in nearly any circumstance.
2. Your travel experience will make you a valuable hire
If you’re afraid of finding a job after you graduate, you might find that your study abroad experience can help to set you apart from other candidates. While your employability will be largely dependent upon your skillset and your perceived value in the workforce, having language skills, adapting to unfamiliar situations quickly and having an intimate familiarity with diverse cultures will make you an excellent prospect in any industry.
This is particularly true if you participated in an internship abroad. You will have developed a network of contacts and a relationship with an international organization that you’ll find extremely valuable.
3. Your travel experience will help you relocate if necessary
One wonderful aspect of study abroad programs is that they help you step out of your comfort zone. If you’ve spent a year living, working and studying in the United Arab Emirates, moving to Houston (and adjusting to your new setting) won’t seem so daunting.
It’s natural for recent grads to be hesitant to pursue career opportunities in unfamiliar cities or countries. However, if you’ve spent a significant amount of time abroad, you will have developed the necessary skills to live away from your home or college town.
Studying abroad opens up a world of opportunities for you – even if you spend the rest of your career in the U.S. and only travel for pleasure, you’ll still find that studying abroad helped you lay the foundation for your future success.
ISEP offers diverse, flexible study abroad programs in over 50 countries. Learn more about our different program types, ISEP Direct and ISEP Exchange. Visit our Study Abroad Guides & Tips page to learn more to get started.
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