Why study abroad? Top 10 Reasons

You may have heard that an increasing number of people are taking gap years after they graduate from high school and before starting college. So, why study abroad? This kind of travel abroad is important in helping you to learn, grow, and have vastly different experiences than would otherwise be possible, all at a relatively young age. Curious as to how it accomplishes this? Keep reading!



Reasons to Study Abroad

Here are the top 10 benefits of studying abroad by taking a gap year.


1. Travel the world

The first reason to study abroad is probably the main thing that most think about when thinking about applying — it allows you to travel the world. And because of the nature of an international gap year, you are able to experience a different country that you might otherwise have been unable to visit, and do so in an immersive way that is harder to accomplish in other circumstances.


2. Experience a different culture

Building on the benefits of studying abroad as part of a gap year, another plus is that you can experience a culture that is completely different from your own. When you travel in a foreign country as a tourist your time is often spent as an outsider looking in. When you travel as part of an international gap year program, you are able to experience a culture and the world in a completely unique way.


3. Learn a new language

A huge benefit of taking an international gap year is the various skills that you can pick up — one of the main ones being the opportunity to learn a new language. It is often said that the best way to learn a language is to surround yourself with it and those who speak it 24/7. Though there are plenty of ways to learn a language in a classroom setting, often it is not until you are residing in an environment where it is spoken fluently that the language truly clicks. Language students find that living overseas, in a foreign country, aids their studying more than almost any other factor. A second or third language is an excellent skill to have, and one that will help you in many different areas of your life for years to come.


4. Prepare for college

Some people are worried about the effect that taking a gap year could potentially have on their college education. “Why study abroad when I can go straight to university?” However, these concerns are often misplaced, as what it can do for your college education is actually one of the best reasons for why to study abroad. Some people can find the transition from high school to college or university to be really tough, but a gap year can help you to gain some useful skills and get into a more college-friendly mindset. Many studies report higher university admission rates for students who have studied abroad compared to those who have not. And many students report feeling more prepared for university after their international gap year!


5. Boost your resume

Building your resume is one of the most practical reasons to study abroad. When applying for a job during or after college, a gap year can be a huge benefit. An international study abroad on a resume looks impressive to potential employers for a number of reasons. It can really help you to stand out in a field of candidates who may all have very similar backgrounds. Plus if you learn a language it can not only be added, but your time abroad proves that you have experience in that language.


6. Prepare you for entering the workforce

And there’s a reason why an international study abroad looks so good on a resume. It’s because of the unique kind of preparation it provides for entering the workforce. Working with other students and locals during your stay in a foreign country will prepare you for the interpersonal relationships in your career workplace. A study abroad through a gap-year can help you to cultivate a strong work ethic as well as the many other skills and benefits that are mentioned in this list.


7. Meet new people

One of the best reasons to study abroad is the avenue they give you for meeting new people from all walks of life. Whether it is the students you travel with or the people you meet at your destination, the opportunity to meet lots of different people around the world is good for both networking and social purposes.


8. Make lifelong friends

And while some of these people may just be acquaintances, many of them have the potential to become your lifelong friends. That is a benefit that is worth more than money or experience, and one of the best reasons why studying abroad will change your life.


9. Learn independence

While you can be sure that you will always be safe and supported when you sign up for a gap year program, this experience does require a certain amount of personal initiative and independence as you travel, interact in a foreign culture, and learn new skills. This is not only helpful as you start college but important in helping to prepare you for the rest of your adult life.


10. Gain leadership skills

Following on from number nine, one of the best ways in which a gap year will prepare you for the rest of your life is through helping you to gain important leadership skills and qualities. Traveling the world and meeting different people helps you to open your mind, learn how to take initiative, and gain valuable skills that can help you to become leadership material.




Now that you know the best reasons why to study abroad, you may have some questions about the process. Here are a few of the most common ones.


When should you study abroad?

The best time to study abroad is typically by taking a gap year right after high school and before you start college. This period of time provides a natural time to take a break and the least amount of disruption to your education, not to mention giving you an added edge in college admissions. That is why we only accept fellows who have not yet started college.


Where should I study abroad?

Where you travel is a personal choice, and entirely up to you — when you apply you will have the opportunity to rank your destination choices across the globe by your personal preference. But if you need help deciding where you should study abroad, you can read about each of our international destinations and take our destination quiz to give yourself a starting point for doing some research.


How does studying abroad work?

The prospect of taking time away from your regular home and routine can be intimidating, but the process of studying abroad is not as scary as you might think. Here’s how studying abroad works when you take a gap year:

Meet your cohort: You will kick things off with a week of Stanford University to meet your cohort and start your journey. You will learn about making an impact from speakers of all kinds, and start friendships that will become a core part of your experience.

Begin global immersion and apprenticeship: Eventually, you will land in your destination, move in and start learning. You will meet your host family, and eventually become a part of the community.

Have a lifelong network: Your gap year experience does not end when you come home. You will continue to be as involved and connected with people in the program and beyond for as long as you wish.

Learn more about the Global Citizen Year experience and the best study abroad programs. Start filling out your application today.


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