Going abroad will change your life in many positive ways. Whether it is volunteering at an orphanage in Ethiopia or studying French language and culture in Paris – the experiences you will gain are priceless. Travelling abroad for a summer, semester or longer will give you a fresh perspective of yourself, your home country and the world. Today’s competitive job market and entrance into colleges and universities requires applicants to distinguish themselves; and international experience is an ideal way to stand out. For example, obtaining foreign language skills can make you eligible for numerous jobs that you may otherwise have been unqualified for.
The largest misconception that prevents people from going abroad is its perceived inaccessibility. People are often amazed at how easy it was to put the whole thing together. It’s as easy as working through a checklist!
Are you a good candidate? Ask yourself:
• Am I willing to try new things – everything from foods to novel social situations?
• Am I comfortable with making my own decisions, such as what time to leave for school, which courses to take, and how to deal with conflict and change, without family and friends around to help?
• Do I like to take risks?
• How have I handled complex and new situations in the past?
• Will I be able to fulfill my academic requirements for my school at home and for any future plans? Will my school at home accept credits from the programs I am considering abroad?
Am I too old to consider going abroad to study, work, or volunteer?
Absolutely not! In fact, many individuals may not have had the opportunity to go abroad as a younger adult and are now thinking to move permanently to other countries. They are excited about trying new lifestyles, career alternatives or choosing where to retire.
THINK!nternational’s Top Ten Reasons to Go Abroad
1. Going abroad is the optimal way to learn a foreign language.
There is no more effective way to learn a language than to be immersed in a culture that speaks the language that you are learning. You are surrounded by the language on a daily basis and are hearing it in the proper cultural context.
2. Going abroad provides the opportunity to explore new surroundings.
Weekend and academic breaks allow you to venture out and explore – both your immediate and more distant surroundings. Some programs have field trips planned in or around the curriculum.
3. Going abroad allows you to experience another culture first-hand.
Cultural differences are more than just differences in language, food, appearances and personal habits. A person’s culture reflects very deep perceptions, beliefs, and values that influence his or her way of life and the way he / she views the world.
4. Going abroad will help you develop general life skills and give you experiences a classroom setting will never provide.
Being immersed in an entirely new cultural setting is scary at first, but it is also exciting. It is an opportunity to discover new strengths and abilities, conquer new challenges, and solve new problems. You will encounter situations that are unfamiliar to you and you will have to learn to adapt and respond in effective ways.
5. Going abroad affords you the opportunity to make friends around the world.
While abroad, you will meet not only the people native to the culture in which you are studying, but also other international visitors. You will forge friendships that you will take back home.
6. Going abroad helps you to learn about yourself.
Individuals who go abroad return home with new ideas and perspectives about themselves and their own culture. The experience abroad often challenges them to reconsider their own beliefs and values.
7. Going abroad expands your worldview.
Individuals going abroad return home with an informed and much less biased perspective toward other cultures and peoples.
8. Going abroad to study, travel, work or volunteer will enhance your employment opportunities.
The world continues to become more globalised with companies around the world continuing to invest in the international market. Your experience living and studying in another country, negotiating within another culture, and acquiring another language will set you apart from the majority of other job applicants.
9. Going abroad to study gives you the opportunity to break out of your academic routine.
Studying abroad is likely to be different from what you are used to doing as a student. You will become familiar with an entirely new academic system and have the chance to take courses and programs not offered in your own country.
10. Going abroad to study and travel can enhance the value of your degree.
Living abroad can offer you such a boost to your language skills that it might easily add a minor in a language or even a second major without having to take additional courses after returning to your home campus.
At the THINK!nternational Expo, we will provide you with the opportunity to meet organizations and schools from the all over the world. Attend the seminars where you will get up to date information and discover what the best option is for your adventure abroad. Visit our website at www.thinkinternational.ca for event details, exhibitor list, seminar schedule, and to register for FREE admission! Join us as we explore a multitude of opportunities – your adventure starts here!