Studying abroad is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that not all college students experience. Studying abroad broadens one’s horizons at a young age not only to learn about various cultural differences and norms, but instills confidence when moving forward with life goals and dreams. For those who never studied abroad, it’s not too late to travel and experience it for yourself.
There’s More to Life than the American Dream
The notion that people will only be happy with a white picket fence and iPads is not true. The billions of people living outside of first world countries do not have the luxuries that we do, but are happy, if not happier, living a simple life. These cultures embrace the “less is more” lifestyle. The less you accumulate the more you can live and be free.
There is Time to Stop and Smell the Roses
Many cultural lifestyles are slower and not caught up in the capitalistic rat race. They enjoy food, conversation, recreation, work breaks, and time to stop and smell the roses. In fact, most people are actually living their life rather than being stuck behind a computer screen and fearing their boss. The lesson? Take time to stop and smell the roses as waiters around the world don’t survive on tips, thus embracing patience, slow food and not having everything you want fast and the way you like it.
Life Has No Fear
Studying abroad is truly about the experience, not studying. Fear has no place when traversing the world and meeting new people. Studying abroad teaches people that everything in life works out, even if the rickshaw breaks down on a mountain or you get robbed in a village. These kinks and twists in the road prepare people to overcome the tough parts of life.
You Still Need to Know Old School Methods
Sure technology now translates street signs and maps show you where to go. But when traveling abroad, not every place is connected like Americans. Students will still have to read a map, understand cursive writing and get from point A to point B with no cell reception.
Appreciate the Little Things
People who study abroad learn how to not sweat the small stuff and learn how to appreciate the small things in life. It also enhances a global vision to realize the world is smaller than it truly seems to be to most people. This gives appreciation for everything from experience to beautifully rolling ocean waves to technological devices that have maps without having to look at another stupid road map without any idea where you are currently located.
Traveling Reveals Hidden Talents
From photography to negotiating, many students reveal their strengths, passions, and skills that they may never knew had existed. Whether they become a hobby or a lifelong skill, revealing these talents is about embracing your strengths and focusing on what you can do.
Know how to Score Deals and Travel Cheaply
Most students who study abroad become pros at bartering and finding the best travel deals. Sure hostels are not the best places to sleep, but for those who need a place to crash know that the $200 savings is best spent on a flight, train and three meals per day—essentially the savings is a two-day trip in itself.
Life is an Adventure
Being spontaneous, doing things you’d never do, and eating chocolate covered bugs pushes students outside of their comfort zone. When heading back to the real world, these are the global visionaries that help change the world and better promote a “no worries, mate” lifestyle.
Elizabeth is a fitness professional, workshop presenter and freelance writer. She is an active traveler who treks the globe looking for interesting stories to write and places to photograph. Her most significant travel achievements include living and volunteering in Australia twice and studied yoga in India.