There are so many exciting reasons to want to spend a semester (or longer) abroad. The new culture, the chance to try new cuisine, seeing different sights and sounds each day, and of course growing your network, among other things. While these are benefits, all study abroad plans begin with (or at least, SHOULD begin with) a “Why?”.
Defining your “Why” for studying abroad is vital because it is the guide for everything to come including where you decide to study, how long you would like to go, how much you want to spend, and even how you eventually incorporate what you learn from study abroad into future career plans.
4 Reasons Why Your ‘Why’ for Study Abroad Matters
1. Time Commitment – The process of applying and securing a spot to study abroad is not an overnight adventure. For most students, the process takes a minimum of six weeks, although realistically, depending on the program you are applying for and the country where you want to study, it is closer to 12-15 weeks from start to finish before you depart. This time frame factors in applications, any required exams, receiving a decision, paying to reserve your spot, and securing a visa.
2. Multi-Step Application Process – For study abroad applications specifically, they are usually multi-step, so you will need patience and strong organizational skills to ensure everything is completed before you officially submit. This may include (but is not limited to): Application, Supplemental Questionnaire, Scholarship Form, Personal Statement, Transcripts, and Letters of Recommendation.
3. Cost of Study Abroad – We will tackle some basic costs of studying abroad on another day of this series, but for now, I can provide a sneak peek: It is expensive. I often joke that while many of us born and raised in the US see studying abroad at the university level as a ‘bargain’ because our tuition fees are so high, but for most students worldwide that come from countries where education is free or extremely low-cost, the sticker price can be quite a shock.
4. Impact on Future Goals – Most students that I advise always say that they feel that in addition to the ‘fun’ aspects of studying abroad, the impact on their future goals is a driving force in the WHY behind choosing to go overseas. Whether it be an interest in international internships, kick-starting their careers abroad, or dreams of eventually moving abroad full-time, studying abroad was a catalyst to adding more structure to these goals.
Common Reasons Why Students Choose to Study Abroad
Opportunity to learn in a different country
Learn a new language
Increase global contacts/network
Explore career opportunities abroad
Gain a competitive advantage
Experience a new culture
The reasons above are in no way all-encompassing, but are very common and are likely relatable to you if you are planning to embark on this journey.
Are you ready for MORE content from the ‘Learn How to Study Abroad in 30 Days Series? Click the Button below to watch the playlist on YouTube!
I want you to spend some time thinking about your WHY for studying abroad. Perhaps you already know it, if so, please LEAVE A COMMENT and share it to inspire others!
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Until next time,
Known as The Study Abroad Specialist, Kimber Grayson is a serial-study abroader turned International Education coach and expert. Since 2014, she has helped 100+ students navigate their semester away journey from the coastal areas of Spain to China and every place in between. In 2018, she launched The LiveStudyLearn™ Abroad Association, a one-of-a-kind online membership platform for study abroad students worldwide.
She holds two Master's degrees from two well-respected London-based universities and has experience working in the US, UK & and Italy.
In her spare time (what's that again?), she enjoys leisure travel city breaks, any snow-based activity, skeet shooting, and attempting to learn new languages.