University's more than an education. It's when we move out, watch ourselves become more independent and when we start to create an identity for ourselves. There's napping, stress and a few tears in between all that, but all in all it's an experience. And what better way to create that experience than to travel?
There's a lot of myths behind studying abroad. It's expensive, I don't speak the language, I'll get homesick. It's a challenge, there's no denying that. But the most worthwhile things in life involve stepping out of your comfort zone. Why let fear stop you from your full potential?
Be the obnoxious person who posts selfies in front of historical monuments and on exotic beaches. We're all just jealous, though.
Here are 9 reasons why you should study abroad while in university (and there could be many more):
1. It's cheaper than studying back home.
What do Germany, Slovenia and Austria have in common? Free tuition (mostly). If you're a Canadian, for example, in Austria, you'll have to pay an administrative fee of about $1072.68 Canadian per semester, using today's exchange rate. On average, Canadian students pay $6,191 per year. In Slovenia and Germany, it is actually free. They even offer English courses. Oh, but if you're worried about flight prices, don't worry. Budget airlines in recent years have made travelling to countries, especially in Europe, cheaper than flying across your own country.
2. You're more likely to get hired after graduation.
Studies have shown that employers are keen about looking for students who have language skills, problem-solving skills and international experience. All these skills can be developed while studying abroad. Make yourself stand out.
3. You get school credit while travelling.
It's probably better doing homework under the Eiffel Tower than on the OC Transpo. I doubt you'll have the opportunity to go on a beach vacation to Greece while you're studying in Ottawa.
4. Living in a foreign country is different than visiting it.
You can immerse yourself in a foreign culture and become a local. Be a regular at the grocery store, make neighbours and join an international community. You can say you can always just visit a country later, but why not actually live in it?
5. You'll make friends with people all over the world.
How many people will be able to say they have a friend in every European country?
6. You'll become more independent.
Nothing tests your independence and self-confidence than throwing yourself into a foreign country alone. You'll make mistakes and you'll grow as a person.
7. It's easier to travel when you're young.
Once you graduate and settle into work, good luck finding more than a few weeks of vacation time. Study abroad gives you the opportunity to travel for a semester (or maybe even a whole year) uninterrupted. You can live in a foreign country and travel to other neighbouring countries on the weekend. What better time to do it than when you're in university?
8. Travelling is cheaper abroad.
Once you settle into a place in Europe or Southeast Asia, going from one place to another is easy. Budget airlines and better infrastructure make flying to different locales almost as cheap as a Happy Meal.
9. Learning another language will never be easier
Sure, you can teach yourself German, but who's there to practice with you in Canada? Not too many. Immersing yourself in a country with a language you're looking to learn makes the process easier. You might even come back fluent.
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