The thrill of mapping out your dream study abroad journey can often cloud reality if you’re not careful. While it is essential to daydream (if it worked for us when we were kids, is there a reason to stop now?), and get pumped up about all the fun you will have while you’re seeing new sights and meeting new people, all good things should be put into perspective – for your own good.
If you are familiar with any of my content, you know how serious I am about students understanding their “Why” for studying abroad. At this point, they should just cast me as ‘Little Miss Why Study Abroad?’. (hahaha).
The reason why I emphasize this so much is that while I want you to create an amazing experience abroad, I want you to ensure that before you make this commitment, it is the right option. Should you be studying abroad? If so, are you choosing a location that will suit your needs? And what about your goals?
Let’s not forget those.
Do I Need Goals for Study Abroad?
It’s not a rule or requirement, but I can promise you that it helps. After all, there is so much more to studying abroad than taking selfies outside of tourist attractions in your new city and TikToking outside of historical sites.
Study abroad goals vary by the individual, but are often centered around three focal points:
Future Career Goals
Personal Development Goals
In many ways, I would argue that all of the students that I have advised are made up of a mix of all three. The primary reason for this is that studying abroad is not only about “studying” (although please DO remember that it is the primary reason you are there!), but also about expanding and growing in a variety of spaces in your life.
For some students, this may mean building an unstoppable network of contacts from countries all around the world that may one day be able to help them progress. I have also known students to make long-lasting friendships or even found love while studying abroad.
Personally, while I knew my goals for studying abroad were tied to my career path, I had no idea at the time that it would turn into a passion and lead me to serve others as they embark on their own paths overseas. It is true: studying abroad changes everything.
Study Abroad Goals Help to Give You Anchors
My goals, while they evolved over time were not just there, in place, to motivate me, but also to help me during some very difficult periods of my study abroad journey. They saw me through the highs, but in particular, the lows when I needed the most hope. They helped me navigate homesickness, the stress of badly attempting language barriers, dealing with obnoxious roommates, patience while waiting on a new visa, and the list genuinely goes on.
Interested in learning about the value of study abroad goals AND how you can set some? Watch the video below:
Have you already started thinking about your study abroad goals? Are they closely tied to your “Why” or completely different? How will you measure the success of determining if they have been reached? LEAVE A COMMENT!
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.