“Travel shapes youth“, as the saying goes. Studying or completing an internship abroad enables students to build a borderless future. I’ve listed below the 5 main advantages of traveling as part of your studies:
To learn a foreign language
Nowadays being bilingual seems to be a must on your CV. And what’s best to learn a foreign language than total immersion? Practicing continuously a language with native speakers is the single best way to master it. Thanks to your studies or internship abroad, you will also acquire technical vocabulary that is specific to your field of studies, which will be an undeniable asset in the eyes of recruiters. I highly recommend that your stay abroad lasts at least a year if your University allows you to spend more than one term abroad. Because from my experience, when you arrive in a foreign country, it takes a little time to build strong friendships. So say you arrive in September and leave in December, this will be the time where you actually start forming a tight bond with people.
I know that some people do not dare to apply for an exchange program because they are afraid not to be able to communicate in a foreign language. Please don’t let your fears stop you.
Normally during the induction week at University, the international department will run a test which will determine whether you need to take additional language classes or not. So if you don’t speak the language don’t be scared, you will get better at it.
When I moved to London, it was my first time ever going to an English speaking country. And although I had always been a good student in English, I found myself unable to express my thoughts on numerous occasions, which was extremely frustrating. However, that’s how I improved. You will always find ways to be understood, whether it is with gestures or using simple words.
Another example is my best friend, who did her Bachelor in the UK as part of an exchange program with her French University, when she did not speak a word in English. It was difficult at the beginning but now she’s fluent and has since done her Masters in the UK, and has worked there for a couple of years, before moving to Dubai and then Belgium. All of this would have never been possible had she not taken the chance to study in the UK in the first place.
2. To discover another culture
It’s always very interesting to immerse ourselves in a culture that is different from ours. Discovering new lifestyles as well as new ways of thinking will open your mind. From then on, you will no longer judge people according to their attitude or because their viewpoints are at the extreme opposite of yours and what you’ve been taught growing up. You will truly see the beauty of diversity.
3. To strengthen your CV
The ultimate goal when studying and/or doing internships abroad is
to have the time of your life to highlight your academic training. In a context of globalization, an international curriculum has more value for recruiters: It shows your autonomous, open-minded and curious, able to adapt to different backgrounds and people from different cultures, which are qualities that are extremely sought for. An experience abroad will differentiate you from the others in the job market. Do not forget to mention it on your CV!
4. Personal growth
Alone in the midst of the unknown, you will grow in more ways than you will ever imagine. Without your family and close friends, you will have to get by by yourself, which will help you gain self-confidence. You will get to know yourself on a deeper level and will identify exactly what you want out of life. You will come back from your trip a transformed person.
5. New ways of learning
Teaching methods differ according to countries; You will have to adapt to a learning process that has specific rules, which will enable you to become more versatile.
For instance in France, my Professors would always emphasize individual work. When I arrived in London, I was extremely surprised to see that 90% of our tasks were group ones.