Yes, study abroad is so much fun. I did a semester abroad, and of course that’s the first thing I say when anyone asks me about it. That being said, there are other reasons to do a study abroad program and so many things I took away from my experience. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, here are a few things that I took away from my semester in Budapest, Hungary.
Talking about having studied abroad to recruiters at the career fair and in interviews has been a huge asset for me. When first meeting a recruiter, I have used my traveling knowledge as an ice breaker. They may have a trip coming up, or studied abroad during their time in college. Starting up this conversation before going into resume points can make the conversation go much smoother and will help establish a personal connection with the recruiter.
Learn about culture
When abroad for a long time you are forced to conform and experience a different culture. From the little things like foods, music, and shopping to big national holidays and customs. You have the opportunity to learn from the people around you about how they live their lives. These experiences will also make you more open-minded if you find yourself outside of your comfort zone in the future.
Meet new people
Traveling with strangers is one of the coolest things I have ever done. I became so close to everyone in my study abroad program because they were my only family for five months. I shared so many experiences with these people, from trying bizarre foods to getting lost (like, really lost) for hours. My first night traveling with two people I had just met, I realized mid-shower that we all forgot shampoo, and while walking around Barcelona in the middle of the night, trying to find shampoo, we became best friends. After studying abroad, these lifelong friends also became my business network. Since being back on campus I have had a few more opportunities because of the people I met abroad.
Going to a new place by yourself for the first time is scary. There are things that were challenging at first. Times that I was at the grocery store but couldn’t communicate what I wanted to the attendant. Times that I got in trouble with Hungarian officials because they thought I had the wrong bus pass, and I couldn’t communicate that it was actually the right one. Times that I needed cash but there was not an ATM nearby. Many times I thought how much easier life would be if I was in a familiar place. All of those situations that I encountered, and problems that I eventually found solutions to have taught me how to problem solve in my day-to-day life. A lot of the situations I encountered abroad, I talk about in job interviews and tell about how I overcame them.
Another reason to study abroad in college is because you might not have another chance to do it again. This is an opportunity to completely immerse yourself in a different country while only having to worry about keeping up with your studies. It is much harder to take that much time off work when starting your career. There is nothing like being abroad, and taking your studies there as a student is the coolest way to do it!