Studying abroad is one of the greatest opportunities college students have. These excursions provide students with the ability to visit other counties and immerse themselves in the language, culture, art, and history of that place, as well as experience marked personal growth. Study abroad experiences can last for several weeks, semesters, and even for a full year, depending on the type of program students choose, but the effects could last a lifetime. From academic to personal benefits, study abroad programs offer something for every type of student.
Academically, students that embrace study abroad programs will benefit in several key ways. First, learning a foreign language is often believed to be much easier when students are surrounded by that language outside of the classroom. "Language is acquired most effectively when it is learned in a meaningful social context," Mike Bostwick, a language expert, wrote on Bi-Lingual.com. Immersing students into a foreign language will allow them to gain more information much faster than students confined to using their language skills only during class times. They will also learn the colloquial language, which is much more beneficial during conversations than the more formal usage of foreign languages. Students studying other subjects during their study abroad excursions, like architecture or literature, will also greatly benefit from the experience. For example, the ability to closely and personally examine Spanish architecture in Madrid, rather than simply studying a textbook, allows students to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the principles, context and true scale of the subject matter much more comprehensively.
Students that study abroad will gain several personal benefits as well, like increased maturity, confidence and a better sense of self. For instance, being independent in a foreign country requires students to mature quickly and claim responsibility for their actions like never before. These experiences also require students to generate excellent time-management and communication skills, as well as a greater level of confidence. They will also provide students a better understanding of themselves, their strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and preferences, which will serve them greatly later in life.
Overall, study abroad experiences widen a student’s perspective of the world and create a greater sense of the international community. Students that travel abroad become more aware of cultural difference, but are also much more likely to accept these differences than students that never leave their comfort zones. As the world continues to become more interconnected, students with a better understanding of the world and international customs and travel will be highly beneficial to international corporations and organizations. Students of all ages and backgrounds should seriously consider the potential advantages of studying abroad during college. Academically and personally, there are many benefits that can be earned and that will last a lifetime.
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