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To study abroad or not to study abroad, that is the question. Whatever stage you are at in your college career, you should consider studying outside of the United States. The life experience alone is worth it. Think about it. When else is your lifetime will you get to escape the day to day grind to experience another county for an extended period of time? Maybe retirement. There are some rules of thumb to know before you go.

Why Study Abroad?

When most of us think about studying aboard, we envision foreign accents, beautiful places and different cultures. While those are part of the experience, a chance to learn new things in new ways is the real draw here. Learning Spanish history in Spain can’t be matched by American text books and Professors.

Studying abroad is also a great resume builder. Make sure you take courses that are specific to your Major. This will show future employer prospects that you can adapt to new environments and succeed. Click here for ten reasons why you should study abroad.

What to Do Before You Go?

Contact the appropriate department at you University to get a lay of the land. You should also do a lot of research on the place you are going. You should get familiar with their customs and laws. What is normal and legal in the United States may be offensive or illegal someplace else in the world. Scope out a safe part of town to live while you are there. You may even want to join an extracurricular group so you have friends while you’re there.

Let Go and Have Fun

Once you have figured out what classes you are taking, where you will stay, connected with like-minded people and have an understanding of local customs, just let go. Don’t stress it at that point. You have done your homework. Let go and enjoy the ride. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Take your time and find a part of the world that intrigues you and take a leap of faith. Studying abroad will expand your horizons in all parts of your life.


Photo courtesy of kthread via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).