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5 Components of a Good Study Abroad Program

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One of the most rewarding experiences that any student might have during their college years is that of studying abroad. The benefits of spending a period of one’s academic career at a university in a country other than one’s own are numerous, and often highly underrated. Highly accredited academic programs with international recognition are definitely a substantial part of this experience; it isn’t a vacation, but neither is it without its lengthy list of delights — and long-term advantages.

Here are 5 critical components of a good study abroad program:

Networking Opportunities

By studying abroad, you will make new friends and potential professional contacts, to say nothing of an abundance of academic contacts within your field of study. These will include staff and instructors at the institution of your choice, local residents (students and non-students alike) and other students from other countries, themselves traveling abroad. Each of these groups of people offers advantages in terms of networking opportunities; many students who have studied abroad go on to travel the world on a semi-regular basis, staying with friends they met during their time as abroad. It’s an incredibly efficient way to establish a worldwide network in lightning-fast time.

A Vibrant and Supportive Night Life

Parents are always wary of what’s going to happen when their children are on their own for the first time, and an unhealthy night life would almost appear to be a composite of the average parent’s top ten fears and anxieties. A healthy night life, on the other hand, is something that can help students learn to adjust to living on their own and being responsible for their own affairs. It is just as important that young people learn to play well with others, out on their own, as it is to ensure that they know how to work. The best places for studying abroad are institutions in areas that are rich with local culture and nighttime activities, particularly those which are student-organized.

Local History and Cultural Exposure

Many people, upon traveling internationally for the first time, are shocked by what is commonly referred to as “culture clash.” Some ideas, perspectives and viewpoints that one culture might accept as a given part of everyday life are completely foreign to the individuals of another culture. The best colleges for studying abroad frequently provide visiting students with comfortable atmospheres, pleasant living conditions, and environments that are meant to ease their exposure to a new and foreign way of life (such as by housing people who speak the same language in close proximity to one another). Studying abroad should offer the opportunity to gradually ease into a society that might do a lot of things differently than what a student is accustomed to. This is demonstrably useful in helping these same students cope more constructively with future international traveling as well.

Linguistic Intrepidity

One of the most sought-after skill sets in the world today, particular in big business and the financial industry, is the ability to translate multiple foreign languages with speed and accuracy. This is a hugely sought after attribute for a wide range of administrative and executive positions, and it looks fantastic on a CV. One of the best ways to further enhance one’s abilities with an existing language is to immerse oneself in it, particularly into a culture where everyone speaks that language primarily. The overwhelmed student can simply retreat to their (typically familiar and deliberately home-culture friendly) accommodations to unwind.

World Heritage and Expanded Perspective

Many countries, including America, focus their education heavily on their own history. World history is touched on to a limited (if highly variable) extent, but never to the same extent as national history. While this is understandable, it also leaves a conspicuous gap in many students’ academic experiences — one that studying abroad is well-suited to closing. By visiting museums, galleries and UNESCO world heritage sites, the visiting student can learn a great deal about the history of their host country with regard to the international theater, and gain additional perspective in the process.

By selecting a study abroad program with recognizable advantages, a supportive environment, and strong academic opportunities, a student will substantially boost their future employability within their chosen field. In addition, they will be providing themselves with a basis for future international experiences, which will make interacting with people from a wide range of cultures and heritages a less anxious, more readily accommodated experience.

Related Resource: 30 Affordable Colleges with the Best Study Abroad Programs 2017 – 2018