The Advantages of Studying Abroad for a Semester

Asako Maruoka's picture

Taking a semester to travel and study abroad can be a challenging but positive experience for students. The benefits can include anything from enhancing your network to increasing your employment opportunities.

Preparing for a Semester Abroad

Of course, planning to travel during one of your semesters will take some preparation before you are able to leave. You will need to plan accommodations and things to do. Your school may have a program to help you take care of these things. But going to school in general can be expensive, especially when you factor in a semester away from your home country. You can consider taking out a student loan from a private lender to pay for college. This can help free up money to be spent on your semester abroad.

Better Language Skills

When you study abroad, you will be better prepared to develop your language skills. It is rewarding to study languages while in class, and you could build language skills with a foreign pen pal, but the best way to learn these things is by using the language in the real world. You can more easily pick up words and phrases to use in conversations. Many employers look for candidates who are able to speak more than one language. For example, if you are applying to work at a company that has offices in both the United States and Canada, you might want to learn French as a second language. Some companies might go so far as to only look at applications of candidates who do know a second language. 

More Professional Opportunities

By studying abroad, you can step into a new career, making yourself more competitive to potential employers. You can show them resourcefulness, the ability to adapt to new places, and an open mind. Many times, employers look for graduates who have experience abroad, especially as companies become more globally focused. Candidates who have traveled to different countries tend to have more to offer than those who have not. They tend to have a more open mind, especially toward those of different cultures. And they can apply their new skills and concepts to a variety of experiences and jobs. Companies might fear missing out on global business opportunities because they may not have employees who have international experiences. When you study abroad, you will be able to boost your resume with your new skills.

Building Your Network

When you live and study abroad for a semester, you will create strong relationships with those all around the world. Some of these people could be friends for a lifetime, and you will strengthen international connections. And the individuals you meet could become business partners, internship leads, or even coworkers. The school you are connected with while abroad will likely have chances for connecting with students from abroad, and you can then get to know individuals from different cultures and backgrounds. When your network is larger, you are more likely to have both social and professional opportunities. Of course, don’t be tempted to feel that quantity is better than the quality of these relationships. Take the time to cultivate meaningful connections with the people you meet.