Here’s how choosing to study abroad contributes to making you a stronger person.
You Learn How to Become Independent
When you land in a foreign country to pursue your studies, you’ll likely find yourself in a place where you don’t know another soul. You’ll be thrust into a situation which is wholly unfamiliar and alien and you’ll have to trust your instincts to help you navigate this new world of yours.
The whole experience of studying abroad makes individuals more independent. When you suddenly find yourself in a world which is unfamiliar, you’re forced to find your way around. You’ll have to learn how to acclimatize and familiarize yourself with the way things are done in a different place.
You’ll learn how to rely on yourself when you find yourself in difficult and challenging situations, and you’ll likely learn a lot about yourself during the process too. Each and every instance in which you have to learn how to stretch your wings a little further, you’ll gain more and more confidence in your abilities. This newfound independence will make you stronger and more resilient as a person.
You Become More Tolerant
Moving to another country will bring you into contact with a plethora of different people from all over the world. You’ll likely encounter people with rich backgrounds and cultures; individuals who come from countries you may never have dreamt of being exposed to in any way. By coming into contact with such a variety of people, your horizons broaden. Your understanding of the world and the rich diversity it houses expands. All of this contributes towards making you a more tolerant human being. When you haven’t been exposed too much, you have a very limited and sometimes biased view of the world.
Exposure changes all of that; exposure forces you to see the variety and differences present, and you ultimately learn to respect them.
Being tolerant is a huge strength and asset to have and can help you as you navigate through life. You’ll find it easier to deal with people and understand where they are coming from. It’ll also make you more compassionate and helpful towards others.
You are strengthened by hardship
Studying abroad doesn’t come without its fair share of hardships. There will be times when it feels like nothing is going your way. You might find yourself so overwhelmed and frustrated that you’ll feel a nervous breakdown just looming ominously in the distance.
In those moments of despair, just remember that each and every hardship that you endure will make you stronger. It’ll make you more capable and more confident in your ability to overcome challenges. Each hardship that you encounter is an opportunity for you to test yourself and see how you handle yourself under pressure.
You’ll likely end up surprising yourself; sometimes, you need to be challenged in order to find out just how strong you really are.
You Become Adaptable
This is arguably one of the biggest strengths anyone can possess; the ability to adapt under any circumstance. A Greek philosopher by the name of Heraclitus once said that the ‘change is the only constant in life’. If we accept this paradox, then we know that each moment is a fresh opportunity which contains its own unique challenges.
Studying abroad makes you more adaptable due to a number of different reasons. Principally, once you move to a foreign country, there’s a lot which is out of your hands. The sense of control and order that you felt at home won’t exist where you end up studying. When everything is turned on its head like this, individuals must learn how to adapt to whatever it is that they’re facing. And they’ll have to adapt fast.
Sometimes, things are happening so quickly that your success is determined but how fast you can adapt. If you stop and begin to fret over all of the individual changes that you’re seeing, you’re likely to become a nervous wreck. But, if you allow yourself to conquer each of the challenges these new situations present, you’ll find yourself stronger, more resilient, and more capable of meeting the challenges of the next moment. And let’s face it, Heraclitus was right; change is the only thing you can be sure of. If you’re ready to tango with Change, you won’t be blindsided when it decides to switch over to the fox-trot mid tempo.
You’ll gain a number of new skills
Throughout your study abroad experience, you’ll accumulate a wide range of new skills and abilities which will cumulatively make you a stronger individual. These skills include everything from learning how to manage your finances, the art of improvisation, stepping out of your comfort zone, making new friends, meeting deadlines, learning new things, etc.
Each and every one of these skills will make you more confident and sure of yourself. That confidence in yourself is the key to building personal strength. Studying abroad can provide you with ample opportunities to grow as an individual; to spread your wings and trust that you won’t free-fall off a cliff. After your study abroad experience, you’ll be a stronger individual in numerous respects.
How do you think studying abroad benefits you?
Everyone has different experiences and it’s helpful to learn about how studying abroad helped others. We reached out to a few people to see how studying abroad made them stronger. Here’s what they had to say:
Kristin Brandli Printon | moxiewealthmgmt.com
Studying aboard makes you a stronger person because it forces you out of your normal comfort zone. My program included students from all over the world so I interacted with many people outside of the country (Australia) I studied in.
Studying aboard also taught me how to travel and gave me the skills to later do a three-month solo backpacking trip across Europe. That trip wouldn't have been possible without my prior experience of uprooting my entire life for six months to live in a different country.
You not only learn how to interact with people from other countries and different customs, you also learn how to thrive in a place without any support system of people you already know.
Katy Tripses | Head of Growth – StudySoup
It improves your problem-solving skills. Moving to a new country requires a lot of planning. But no matter how well you prepare yourself, the unexpected will inevitably happen. Solving issues while abroad requires thinking critically about a problem, using the resources you have, and
finding solutions often in a creative and out of the box way.
It increases confidence and teaches you to speak up. If you're a shy or introverted person, it's often easy to stay in the shadows when you're in a familiar place. When living abroad forces you to ask for help and stand out as someone who is different.
Hasmik Petrosian | uni-prep.com
Studying abroad makes you appreciate how diverse the world truly is. Not only will you learn about a different culture, you will also learn to appreciate your own culture. It can be quite difficult to adjust to a different country, culture and language, and going through this experience will provide you with coping skills that will be useful for all facets of life. Instead of being frustrated with change, you will learn to embrace it, and sometimes even crave it.
Joanna Buickians | VP of Operations - jba.com
By studying abroad you're forced to survive on your own, so you need to find your own accommodation, grocery store, make new friends, and learn how to survive on your own, which makes you stronger. When you stay local, you have the convenience of knowing and being acquainted with local things,
and are not challenged.
Joseph DePaulo | CEO and Co-Founder of College Ave Student Loans
Learn a new language –Knowing multiple languages is valuable to your college career, professional career, and even your personal life.
Stand out from the crowd - Employers value the experience that students gain from study abroad programs, and as a result, you may find that the job search is a little easier because you’re standing out from the crowd.
Potentially graduate faster - The majority of study abroad programs take place during the summer semester. By taking classes at a time you would have otherwise skipped, you finish your course load faster and graduate earlier, which has many financial benefits.
Earn a higher starting salary - The Institute for the International Education of Students reported that students with international study experience received a starting salary of $7,000 more than those who did not study internationally.
Joshua Porter | SCEL Director - usa-english.com
Only when you immerse yourself in another country with foreign customs and cultural behavior than your own, you can truly compare your own schema and values to form a thoughtful understanding of the world.