Study abroad programmes give you the opportunity to live and take classes in a foreign country for part of your college or university degree, without (much) delaying your graduation.
With globalisation and free trade, the share of internationally mobile students has grown dramatically over the past 20 years.
Globally, roughly 5 million students are studying outside their home countries every year, which is more than double since 2000 and triple since 1990.
The UK remains one of the leading choices for international students today, the British government has set a goal to recruit an additional 55000 international students by 2020.
So, aside from the typical – travelling and honing your language skills – what are the other lesser- known benefits of studying abroad?
International work or internship experience
Depending on your visa status, you may also have the chance to gain practical work experience abroad during or after your studies.
This is a great way to support yourself and learn valuable “survival skills” while outside of your comfort zone.
Work experience abroad will definitely give you an advantage over your peers and impress hiring managers during job interviews.
Get a better job quicker
The Erasmus Impact Study reveals that students who have gone on an exchange, have better chances of finding a job after graduation.
The results also showed that around 65% of employers consider international experience important when hiring.
Over 90% of them are actively looking for transferable skills such as openness, problem-solving and decision-making – all of these are enhanced by studying abroad.
You learn about collaboration, different styles of working and the ability to communicate effectively, which all help you to adapt to diverse workplaces.
Raise your cross-cultural competency
A recent report by the World Economic Forum Report, the Future of Jobs, named social skills and the ability to coordinate with others, as the top employability skill of 21st-century.
Cross-cultural competency is one of the key skills for 2020 and beyond.
An interconnected and unpredictable world requires tolerance for ambiguity. We will have to learn to understand, appreciate and negotiate cultural differences in order to thrive in diverse environments.
When studying abroad, you have to adapt to the host culture – the more you allow yourself to see different view points, the more mentally flexible and sensitive to other cultures you become.
By studying abroad, you’ll be more comfortable working with people from different backgrounds, value their experiences, and establish a stronger relationship with them.
Develop your confidence & leadership skills
By immersing yourself in another culture and language, you’ll face many unexpected situations and challenges, which will help you to learn how to thrive in new environments, and consequently – improve your confidence.
Self-confidence is a basis for strong leadership and team management skills.
Knowing how to lead and inspire different people around you can help you establish stronger relationships and succeed in your career.
Travel experience without gap year costs
If you aren’t studying yet and are thinking about a gap year, consider this:
When you’re studying abroad, you will still have enough free time to have fun and really explore your host country and beyond. You are not limited to one place!
But apart from seeing the world, you’ll invest in yourself without delaying your graduation.
Something to think about …
Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. From increasing your global network to experiencing a new culture, the benefits to your life and career are significant.
But when you are living and studying in a place that you know nothing about, you open yourself up to new set of life admin, which you’d much rather avoid – like finding a place to live, setting up bank account and registering with a doctor.
To avoid dealing with these kinds of things, many students prefer to stay in a special student accommodation like Urbanest that help to deal with all sorts of situations and requests 24/7 navigating your way around a new city.