College is one of your greatest adventures, and as many of you know and have experienced, it is a journey that changes you forever. You will never be the same and will never see things the same way again.
Here are 8 things you will only understand if you studied abroad:
1) I can do anything:
For many of you, the journey to a foreign country to study is the first time you are living independently and away from the comfort of family and friends. The experience provides an opportunity for you to discover yourself while gaining an understanding of a different culture. Being in a new place can be overwhelming at times, and it tests one's ability to adapt to diverse situations while being able to problem solve. These experiences can serve as a catalyst for increased maturity. It provides the appropriate framework for you to believe you can tackle any issues and conquer any obstacles thrown at you throughout life.
2) My Professor: My Friend:
Chances are that prior to your study abroad experience, your relationship and interactions with your professors were brief and impersonal. However colleges abroad encourage student-faculty interaction and these relationships can play a pivotal role not only during your college years but even beyond.Your professors can become your mentors, investors, future recommenders and much more.
3) There is no such thing as a silly question:
Class participation is an important element of the learning process. Colleges abroad encourage students to speak up in class, express their ideas and even challenge statements or findings. Some classes / programs even allocate a grade to class participation. Teachers create a climate in which you are comfortable to ask questions and they take your comments seriously. This experience continues with you even after you leave college and allows you to challenge, question and ask for help whenever required.
4) The world is flat:
Global schools become hubs for global talent - be it students or professors. Professors, regardless of area of study, expose you to innovation, models, case studies and problem statements from across the planet. As the world becomes increasingly flat, you are taught to be aware of the progress and issues facing industry and strategize on the most effective course of action. After you leave college, the exposure received allows you to seamlessly work cross-border with minimal disruptions.
5) Exams aren't everything:
Extracurricular activities form a vital part of your college experience. During your time on campus you engage in debate, clubs, competitions, talks and activities which equal in learning, if not more, to what you gain inside the classroom. After graduation, these habits continue where you involve yourself in your community, find time and pursue activities in addition to your home and work commitments.
6) I love my family:
Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder. Living thousands of miles away and seeing so much makes you appreciate where you come from and what your family has done. Not only during your time at college, but even beyond, there is a newfound gratefulness for all the love and support your parents, siblings and extended family have provided.
7) I know someone everywhere:
At college you meet people from across the globe and have friends all over the world. Who needs search engines - be it a business trip or a holiday - it's great to be able to tap into your extensive network and ask about the local do's and don'ts.
8) There will be some reverse culture shock:
As surprising as it may sound to those around you, coming back home after studying abroad can take some time and adjustment. You have been transformed intellectually and personally after your time away and have new habits, ideas and beliefs, sometimes without even realizing it! Friends and family may find this difficult to comprehend, and initially you may also find it hard to adjust. However, like you immersed yourself in a foreign country, you will make your experience part of who you are and find your optimal balance to bring the best of both worlds together.
College is about self-discovery, exploring and accepting as many different ideas as possible, and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. These experiences are hard to define and perhaps only a fellow student may understand the true depth of your endeavors.