Why study abroad? Top 10 Reasons

You may have heard that an increasing number of people are taking gap years. 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.

At Global Citizen Year we offer an immersive semester in Cape Town where you’ll develop the emotional and intellectual toolkit to create meaningful impact on global issues. Experience a different culture and gain a new perspective with like minded students. Every week the Global Citizen Year team hosts cultural activities or excursions for your cohort. Whether exploring the local cuisine, natural environment, history, or cultural traditions, each session provides an experiential opportunity to deepen your understanding of South Africa and all its complexities.


3. Learn through immersive experiences

Imagine stepping out of your comfort zone and learning through immersive experiences as you study abroad. This journey is not confined to the walls of a classroom; it’s about living the culture you’re studying. As you navigate a new country, every interaction, from chatting in a local market to participating in community traditions, becomes a valuable lesson. You can not only learn a new language but also gain insights into global issues and diverse perspectives. This direct immersion challenges you to adapt, think critically, and develop empathy in ways that go beyond traditional learning. It’s an opportunity for you to transform your understanding of the world and turn education into an adventure.


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!

At Global Citizen Year our college partners along with other colleges around the country, recognize the importance of developing a global perspective, self-awareness, and a defined sense of purpose — life skills that are uniquely developed with a gap experience with Take Action Lab.


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.


What are the top benefits of studying abroad?

Studying abroad offers diverse benefits including exposure to new cultures, enhancing cross-cultural communication skills, increased global awareness, personal growth, and improved employability through international experience.


How do I choose the right country and program for my study abroad?

Consider factors like your academic interests, cultural curiosity, career goals, and financial budget. Research the countries offering programs related to your field of study and look into the unique cultural experiences they offer. Our Take Action Lab Program allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn from experience, mentors, and the history that surrounds you. Collaborate on causes you care about at your apprenticeship with an organization advancing human rights issues.


Can I afford to study abroad?

Select programs (including Take Action Lab) offer scholarships, grants, or financial aid. Additionally, studying in some countries can be cost-effective compared to domestic education. Research your options and plan finances accordingly.


How can studying abroad impact my future career?

Employers value international experience for the diverse perspective, adaptability, and problem-solving skills it fosters. Studying abroad can enhance your resume, offering a competitive edge in the job market.

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


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