College provides you with the opportunity to expand your horizons and become exposed to ideas you haven’t considered before. It’s also supposed to be the time of your life when long-lasting memories are made. Students who participate in study abroad programs find both aspects of their college experience are enhanced by the journey.
If you’re majoring in a foreign language or simply taking a class or two to fulfill credit requirements, studying abroad is the perfect way to supplement the learning process. Spending time in a culture and interacting with the natives will give you invaluable experience with the language. That kind of practice cannot be substituted with in-class exercises and basic-level communication with your English-speaking peers. As a result, you’ll become more comfortable with the language and more willing to use it on a regular basis. Regardless of your major, absorbing the customs and values of a culture different from yours will widen your perspective of the world – and it might encourage you to become more introspective about your own culture. This is a key component of the maturation process, and not something that’s easily experienced stateside. Future employers will take notice of your character. As business becomes more globalized, employers will also value your ability to interact with other cultures.
Most study abroad programs offer credits in a wide variety of courses. For example, Lee University students take classes in anthropology that teach them how to interact with the new culture. If your trip is hosted by your major’s department, classes related to your field of study are offered. This means that you get to earn credit toward graduation while making memories. The adventure of exploring a new place and making new friends will enhance your college experience. Now that you have the time and money – or access to your parents’ money – it’s important you make the most of your resources before entering the real world. You’ll see the most beautiful beaches, mountains and architecture. And if you’re not 21 years old yet, you’ll probably get to drink legally. Overall, the personal growth, college credit and fun that come with studying abroad make it an opportunity of a lifetime.