About three years ago, I was in Berlin, Germany to study abroad. Looking back, it seems like a really long time ago. It kind of is. Reflecting back, I have to say that studying abroad is one of the best things I have done during my studies. In this post, I want to list all the benefits of studying (a semester) abroad. Also, I will share with you my personal experiences! I am doing this because I never really took the opportunity to share this experience. Let’s get into why you should study abroad!
First of all, when you are studying abroad, you are basically following courses according to another country’s curriculum. While you are learning another country’s curriculum, you will get another view on subjects, the world and life in general. Also, you will learn more about the domestic culture through the classes. For example, in Germany, at the end of the class, you knock on the table as form of an applause. Also, through the classes I followed, I learned a lot more about German politics, history, economy and lifestyle. I even learned a lot about German as a language, however not enough because I got away with English pretty much everywhere. So, I was not exposed to German as much, just in the supermarket, shopping mall and in restaurants etc. International experience in general looks very good on your resume!
Studying abroad expands your comfortzone. This can be done in many different ways. For me, studying in Berlin for a semester definitely expanded my comfortzone in the best way possible. I went to another country where I basically did not understand the language. Even though, Dutch and German are far cousins, it was not easy. Other than that, you have to learn to navigate through another country, city and university by yourself. This gives you a lot of time to think and self-reflect.
Studying abroad also gives you a new level of independence. I already consider myself pretty independent. However, going to Berlin made me even more independent. As your comfortzone is expanding by having to navigate through another country while not getting scammed along the way too, you’ll become more independent. Which can be lonely at times. Thankfully, I was not alone. I found one of my best friends during this journey and I am forever thankful for her!
Studying abroad does not only help with personal development, it also brings you to people who are like you. During my semester abroad I came across many like-minded people that also loved traveling. Not only that, during your exchange you can really network and find people who are also interested in the same subjects and companies as you are. This could be the way to find an internship or job in another country as well. For me, that did not work out, because I was determined about doing my internship in Senegal.
Speaking of traveling, studying abroad will definitely encourage you to travel more! A lot of international students really came with the intention to travel every other weekend or so. Which is understandable, because in Europe there are so many countries that you can travel within a few hours. So, if you come all the way from India or Brazil to Germany, why stop there. I, for example, had the opportunity to visit Poland while studying in Berlin. Going to Poland was an amazing experience for me. I also had the opportuntity to go back home! Of course, as an international student traveling, you will expand your horizon more and learn more about the countries you are visiting.
All in all, studying abroad will give you inspiration. Of course, it depends on what kind of person you are and what place you are visiting. But I’d say that anyone who decides to study abroad would be open-minded enough to let that experience inspire them. So, not only will you probably find some inspiration in the classes you take, the teachers and students you speak with, but also from daily life. You might find new solutions to existing problems, you might get a good idea for that book you always wanted to write or you’ll be convinced to visit your new friends all over the world! It does not matter which one it is, studying abroad will nevertheless give you an amazing experience! Here, you can read more about my study abroad period!
I’m excited to share more of my experiences, next time: Why you should do your internship abroad! If you want to share your personal experience or ask questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel and follow me on IG: @senegalesetwisted and #sntwistedphoto for photography and video’s. Like my Facebook page @SenegaleseTwisted. See you in my next post :).