6 Things Students Can Learn from Living in Another Country
Studying abroad remains a popular choice with students for good reason. Students can gain many benefits, including educational, social and personal ones, from living in another country. You don’t have to be majoring in a foreign language or cultural studies to partake in a study abroad program either. All students can learn and benefit from living in another country.
1. A New Language
Unless you are planning to study abroad in a country where your native language is primarily spoken, you are going to learn a new language whether language studies is your area of study or not. Learning another language is a valuable life skill that can improve your job prospects, ability to communicate well with others, understanding of your own language, ability to eventually get a job or become a permanent resident in your host country, and any number of similar benefits. In fact, you should probably choose your destination country based largely on your desired language ability. Before going, be sure to learn as much of your host country’s language as you can, although immersion is the best way to become truly fluent.
2. Patience And Flexibility
Travel and new situations require substantial patience and flexibility. When traveling to your destination country, traveling within that country or traveling to nearby countries on an additional trip, things are not always going to go as planned and students will learn how to effectively go with the flow. A planned destination may be closed, a train delayed or any number of other issues might present themselves. Learning how to make the best of an unexpected situation is a valuable skill students will learn while living in another country.
3. Cultural Differences
Students will learn much about another culture that might be fairly alien to them by studying abroad. This broadens anyone’s horizon and helps them understand other people. Aside from language, students will learn about a country’s history, social attitudes, art, cuisine and all other aspects of their culture. You should consider cultures that interest you when choosing another country in which to live. For example, you may be very interested in Japanese or Korean culture and desire to study abroad in either of those countries.
4. Financial Responsibility
Students living on their own in a foreign country are also likely to learn some financial responsibility. They will have a stipend from which to budget and spend, as well as perhaps a job if they are allowed to work in their host country. This is an invaluable experience for students who will soon graduate and live on their own in the world. Good financial management, which can include budgeting and living within your means, is very important for success in life, whether you ultimately live abroad or in your home country.
5. Other Points Of View
People of different cultures have differing viewpoints on everything from gender roles to religion. These viewpoints may align with or contradict yours. You may choose to study in Canada if you want to live in a country with Western sensibilities or experience a more foreign culture like Uganda. Either way, it is incredibly beneficial to expose yourself to other points of view and ways of thinking. You may be surprised and have your worldview either changed or confirmed. Acceptance and understanding feel as though they are in short supply in the world today, which makes learning about other points of view even more important to developing tolerance and your own worldview.
6. Your Subject Of Choice
Most students study abroad at universities that have partner programs with the college they attend in their home country. You will likely choose an abroad university based on your major. For example, art majors may be heavily inclined to study in Italy or France. Spanish majors are more likely to want to study in Spain or Latin America. You may be limited by the programs your university offers, which may only offer a program or two at specific universities in your area of study. Fortunately, most allow you to make your own study abroad program, which will likely be subject to approval by the relevant department.
Students can learn much from living in a foreign country, whether they are there for school or for work. It is an opportunity you should pursue if at all possible due to how much it helps you grow as a person and improves your job prospects. Living abroad can be one of the greatest experiences of your life.