Why I Believe Every Student Should Study Abroad
My time studying abroad in Japan was the most crazy, scary and wonderful experience. I learned how to navigate like a pro, ask for a beer in Japanese, and found out where I wanted to go in my career. If you’re thinking about taking that big and scary leap, let me convince you why it’s a great idea!
Why The Hell Not?
I get it, we all have lives, jobs, families and friends to consider and letting go of what’s familiar is daunting. But the opportunity to live a different life abroad (even if it’s only for a month) is a once in a lifetime experience that will change your uni life for the better! From my experience in Japan, the course re-sparked my interest in my degree, provided me with real-world experience and a new appreciation for Japanese culture. I’ve never had any regrets, but I know if I never went I would always be wondering “what if?”
The Government Will Literally Give You Money
If money is one of the reasons holding you back, you may be eligible for the OS-HELP loan ($6,500+). The government will grant you money that will add on to your HECS/HELP debt which you can then use to cover the program costs flights and other study abroad expenses, so really, all you need to worry about is spending money while you’re there. Yes, you’ll have to pay it back one day, but that’s something for future you to worry about! You can check here to see if you’re eligible.
The Food, the Food, The Food!
The best part, for me anyway, about moving to a different country is all the delicious new food you get to try. I gained a new appreciation for Japanese cuisine, from fresh sushi to okonomiyaki (it’s a real thing look it up) I tried new things and immersed myself in the culture by doing so. So, whether you want to eat corndogs in America or drink traditional Croatian beer, a part of travelling is eating great food with ever greater people!
The Amazing People You Will Meet
You’ll meet people from all walks of life, some with views that challenge your own, and some that will become friends for life. You’ll meet locals and foreigners who will each have a different thing to teach you, about the culture, travelling or life. For example, an old (and very drunk) Japanese lady wanted to read my palm at a pub. She spoke with an air of experience and I could tell she was giving me some very important life advice. I’ll never know because I couldn’t understand a word she was saying, but the point is it was probably very wise advice.
There’s no other feeling like stepping off the plane into a new country and feeling a complete sense of liberation. It feels like the world is yours for the taking and it actually is! I loved having the freedom to take a train to another city on my days off or having mini parties in my dorm. For me, that taste of freedom is what makes me want to travel more and more as I get older.
Employers Will Love You
My experience abroad opened so many doors for me when I graduated. Employers want someone who is a go-getter, has real-world knowledge and can be adaptable to change. In some cases, life experience is more desirable than job experience. In an interview, you’ll be more impressive to your future employer by sharing travel stories that showcase the problem-solving skills you learned during your time abroad.
This can be the leg-up you need in your career or will give you the inspiration you need to find direction in your career path. You have nothing to lose!
You’ll Grow As A Person
It’s true when people say you won’t be the same person when you return home. Unless you’re the most close-minded person on the planet, it’s inevitable that you’re going to grow mentally from the being abroad. You’ll learn to live away from your family, adapt to a new environment, be respectful of different cultures and how to be alone but not lonely.
You’ll have grown a little older and wiser from this. Just don’t go around being a pretentious prick about it!
If you’re ready to have the experience of a lifetime, check out all the amazing programs YMCA Global Study has to offer here!
Words by Sophie Nicolas – Sophie Studied a Bachelor of Arts and Edith Cowan University and also studied abroad in Japan
You might also like
© YMCA 2017. All Rights Reserved.