At some point during your academic career, you might have the opportunity to visit a foreign country. This could come in the form of a senior class trip to Costa Rica, or a study abroad program in France, or even as part of a summer internship involving travel. Whatever the reason, it can feel scary to leave behind everything that is familiar, and strike out on your own. But in most cases, international travel can become a highlight of your life. If you’re considering this type of opportunity now or in the future, consider these likely benefits…
Practice your language skills. The business world is becoming increasingly “international”, and becoming fluent in a second language will open many doors throughout your lifetime. A study abroad program, for a semester or an academic year, is the best way to practice your language skills in the real world.
Inspire yourself. A foreign travel experience can provide the inspiration needed to craft a compelling essay for college or post-graduate entrance, and even for private scholarship applications. Plus, you will simply feel inspired in a more general sense; you might find new purpose in life, or feel compelled to pursue a new direction in your education and future career.
Broaden your education. Universities in your host country might present material in a different light, helping you to broaden your perspective. This can be particularly important in your major field of study.
Beef up your resume. Study abroad programs or internships involving travel will look impressive on your resume. A well-traveled person is seen as more cultured, and even more wise, in many cases.
Make new contacts. As scary as it can be, venturing out into the world and seeking novel experiences can be the best way to make friends that will last a lifetime. Some of those friends might turn out to be valuable contacts for employment opportunities in the future.
Make memories. One day, we will all be middle-aged and older, looking back on our times in high school and college. Signing up for an adventure is the best way to make vivid memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.
Develop your personal strength. Nothing teaches you lessons about life, and about yourself, like attempting a new challenge. Learning to navigate a new country and live far away from everything that is familiar might feel like a monumental task – and it is – but you will develop a depth of character that stays with you for a lifetime.