Benefits of Studying Abroad: The Inside Scoop from Travelers

Aside from the excitement of traveling to exotic locations, there are many personal and educational benefits of studying abroad. Study abroad experiences provide you with many cross-cultural skills that you can only get from traveling to another country. Through studying abroad, you’ll:

  • develop language competencies

  • invest yourself in a foreign culture

  • gain independence

  • increase your ability to take risks

When you study abroad, you’ll also have the ability to build your professional network around the world. You can also take advantages of opportunities abroad, like internship positions. Taking classes abroad will widen your perspective on global issues.

If you’re looking for more reasons why you should study abroad, check out these benefits of studying abroad from study abroad travelers themselves:

Shaye DiPasquale, Class of 2019 - Italy

Shaye Dipasquale, junior Communications major, is currently studying abroad in Italy. She’s thrilled with her experiences thus far.

"Studying abroad will challenge your expectations about what traveling and encountering new cultures will be like,” DiPasquale said. “Going to study in another country for an entire semester only seems like a foreign concept until you actually get to your destination. It may not be easy. Traveling can take a toll on your mind and body in the form of jet-lag, culture shock, or feelings of isolation in a foreign place. But it will all be worth it as you begin to integrate into local culture and experience changes to your perspective and mindset."

Jessica Loving, Class of 2018 - Japan

Jessica Loving, senior Japanese major, studied abroad in Japan last spring. She has had a passion for Japanese culture for years, and studying abroad allowed her to be fully enveloped in the intricacies of the culture.

“Studying abroad allows you to become part of a culture, which feels different than only understanding it,” Loving said. “There are things you learn about yourself and where you come from based on the new life you've made for yourself. That is part of why it's so hard to go home. The bonds you share with your new friends and family are in some ways stronger than any others you will ever have, as they are cross-cultural and demand a different kind of energy to maintain.”

For more information about Loving’s experiences abroad, check out her full profile.

Elizabeth Driver, Class of 2019 - New Zealand

Junior Communications major Elizabeth Driver studied abroad in the fall. Driver appreciated the ability she had to travel and make decisions on her own.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are so many advantages to studying abroad, but the one that was the biggest or best for me was the sense of independence,” Driver said. “You’re in a country without any family (and maybe the same friends) so you do everything yourself. I set up my own debit card, I bought a SIM card for my phone, I went grocery shopping and cooked for myself, I rented a car with friends, I booked a flight. In New Zealand, I was able to be on my own schedule and I had to fix anything that went awry which is a big learning curve.”

Aileen Ida Class of 2019 - Belgium

Aileen Ida, junior Communications major, has been dreaming of studying abroad for years. She's finally able to reap the benefits of her study abroad experience while in Belgium this semester. While in Belgium, she's also getting the chance to visit nearby European countries, like France.

"Studying abroad is something I’ve wanted to do since I started thinking about college, so being abroad is both a fulfillment of some of my biggest dreams and a huge learning opportunity," Ida said. "Personally, the biggest thing I’ve learned while being abroad is how to be flexible. I thought I was pretty “go with the flow” before, but when you get into a country where you don’t speak the native language and don’t understand the city or how to get around, you have to be willing to just go with it and know that eventually you’ll figure it out. I’m staying with a host family while abroad and while it’s been challenging to get adjusted to their familial structure and traditions, it’s also been an amazing experience to actually get to know a family who is from here and is willing to share their culture and experiences with me. Finally, and I cannot emphasize this enough, being in Europe, specifically, opens the door to all kinds of travel. As long as you’re willing to sit on a bus for a couple hours, you can go pretty much anywhere for ridiculously cheap prices—so even on a student budget you can see dozens of places outside of the city you’re actually studying in. I have quite a bit of time left abroad, and I’m excited for the adventures to come, but I can already say that studying abroad is one of the best decisions I will make in my life."

Lucia Ramsey,* Class of 2019 - Ireland

Lucia Ramsey studied abroad on a short-term summer trip to Ireland. Her travels provided her with experiences she would have been unable to get in the U.S.

“Studying abroad gives you the chance to experience other cultures. It reminds you that the world doesn't just end in your country. It makes you feel small in the surreal nature of being abroad. Studying specialty matter in another part of the world gives you experiences that you wouldn't have back at home”

* = Name was changed for anonymity

Ready to study abroad? Check out the eligibility and application requirements and start planning your travel experience now!