Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity that many U.S. students are lucky enough to experience every year. With the coronavirus pandemic stifling many plans for this past school year, American college students are itching for a semester or summer abroad in the coming academic year, and for good reason. There are so many benefits that come from these invaluable experiences abroad, and this is evidenced in large part by the ever-increasing number of students who participate in a foreign learning opportunity.
These five great benefits that come from engaging in a study abroad program are sure to make your decision far easier when it comes to whether to head away for a summer or semester.
1. Natural Language Learning
Natural language processing (in the conversational sense, and not the computer science model) is something that is hard to match in the standard classroom or with most self-directed courses of study. Yet natural learning is something that’s inherent to the study abroad format. Students are immersed in the language, culture, and norms of the place they’re studying, and getting around town, ordering food, and everything else that’s done on a daily basis has to be processed through the foreign language. This can be challenging for those who are early in their learning journey, but for students of all skill levels, the natural requirements of living and studying in a country that speaks the language you’re learning provide an excellent backdrop for your progression.
The benefit of immersion courses is so powerful that language learning programs outside of the study abroad realm have worked tirelessly to emulate this footprint. The Belatone language app, for instance, provides a platform in which conversing with real, native speakers can simulate the experience of living and learning abroad. Utilizing language naturally and through conversation is perhaps the most important tool that learners have at their disposal, and Belatone—available in the app store—matches this approach admirably.
2. Cultural Ties
Cultural ties are another great benefit that comes through engagement with a study abroad course. Developing an appreciation for the nation that you’ve traveled to and are learning in can give you lifelong fulfillment and a fantastic vacation destination later in life. Students who study abroad often think back on their experiences during this time with fond memories and a wonderful added educational and social opportunity for learning.
This is the same type of benefit that scholastic societies and clubs provide to students. Searching for excellent opportunities like the NSHSS for high school students can provide similar benefits for the long term. Many people think there is an NSHSS scam ongoing within the program, but scholars who have joined the society often tout their experiences with the program as some of their most beneficial during this pivotal time in life.
3. Math Skills
Another, lesser-known benefit that comes through the lifestyle of a student studying abroad is the natural math skills that accompany the language or social learning opportunities that are presented in the classroom. Students participating in these opportunities are forced to think through conversions of their finances and often this takes on the form of a running conversion chart throughout their time away. Natural math processing skills are crucial throughout life, and they are a must in this situation for all students.
4. Budgeting Skills
Just like the need to convert currencies to understand the price points of goods and services, students participating in study abroad programs are often away, truly on their own, for one of the first times in their lives. This means that learning how to budget and spend on the things that are most important is a natural byproduct of the experience as well.
5. Lifelong Friendships
Finally, the friends you meet during your course will likely remain with you for many years to come. Building friendships while away on a study abroad trip is typical for virtually all students who participate in these opportunities, but they rarely understand how valuable this is in the moment.
With these great benefits, all that’s left to do is select a program that best suits your needs and apply!