The Benefits of a Semester Abroad


A few years back, this site published an article encouraging students to take vacations in order to recharge, explore a bit, and enjoy new experiences. Indeed, the value of a vacation in maintaining your sanity and broadening your knowledge and understanding of the world is impossible to overstate—and that’s why I’d also encourage any student (who has the opportunity) to go ahead and travel abroad!

Studying abroad can yield all kinds of benefits, including some of those associated with ordinary vacation along with a range of others. So, here’s why you should study abroad in addition to some tips on how and where to do it.

Gain A New Perspective. The chance to see a different part of the world is the most obvious benefit to study abroad. But beyond the chance to experience a new place in a personal or recreational way, you can also gain a new perspective on your studies. As International Student put it, you’ll find out about “different styles of education,” whether that means different hours and requirements, different focal points in the classroom, and so forth. Seeing how other students study, and what they focus on, can be surprisingly enlightening.

Really Learn A Language. A lot of universities still have some foreign language requirements, but many students tend to take these studies only as far as they need to in order to graduate. There’s nothing wrong with this if you’d rather focus your efforts on other classes, but it’s a shame to come so far with a language only to slowly but surely give it up! Studying abroad at a destination where your studied language is spoken is a wonderful way to complete your language education in a more lasting and meaningful way—and you never know when it will come in handy in your future endeavors.

Have Some Fun. This one speaks for itself, but I’d hate to leave it out! Fun is different depending on where you go abroad, but part of your intent should always be to let loose and have a good time—it’s healthy!

Take Advantage Of Currency Exchange. This is a handy tip for those looking to study abroad, and one that will help you to have even more fun. It shouldn’t entirely dictate where you study, but a favorable currency exchange can help you to worry less about finances while abroad. This is a particularly interesting factor in 2015, given that Europe is more financially accessible to U.S. students than it has been in a decade. Case in point: the latest charts at FXCM showing the relationship of the Euro to the U.S. Dollar reveals that 1 Euro is equal to about 1.09 Dollars—the closest they’ve been to even in many years. Again, this isn’t something that should totally dictate your decision, but it’s a factor to keep an eye on for students worried about budgets while studying abroad!

Keep Career Goals In Mind. Since I’ve covered cultural education and recreation, I should also mention the potential benefit of abroad experience in your career. In part of a debate about studying abroad in The New York Times, one point of view was that “globalization is here to stay.” The article goes on to say that the cross-cultural experience a student can gain studying in a different country is vital for many industries and pursuits. This is a broad perspective, but a true one. It’s also a perfectly good reason to choose your destination and program with your own career goals in mind.

All in all, there truly are innumerable good reasons to study abroad, if you have the opportunity to do so. Whether you’re looking to enhance your education, start setting up your future, or simply have a great time – or all of the above! – a semester abroad can be both eye-opening and productive. It’s something I’d recommend above just about any other pursuit for a college student.

So, all of you students reading this: what are you waiting for?!

****For this post that has us catching the travel bug, Campus to Career thanks Paul Bryant!!****

About Paul: Paul Bryant is a freelance writer based out of New York who covers finance, investing, and similar topics. When he’s not writing, Paul enjoys travel, playing guitar, and testing out the latest tech gadgets.

Photo credit: Bjorn Simon,


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