By Jake Ducharme, Peer Advisor

With the Majors, Minors, & Study Abroad Fair coming up on Wednesday, September 28th from 3PM-6PM, what better time than now to start considering studying abroad to enhance your collegiate experience?

Studying abroad is a unique opportunity that every college student should take advantage of. Studying abroad has many benefits and few drawbacks. It’s an opportunity for you to jump out of your comfort zone and try new things. You will make new friends, learn in a different way, and likely have the time of your life.

Top reasons you should study abroad:

1) It looks great on a CV/ Resume and for graduate school

Studying abroad is an experience on your resume that will stand out to potential employers. It shows that you are willing to take on new challenges and step out of your comfort zone. According to studyabroad.ucmerced.edu, 90% of study abroad students got into their first or second choice grad school.

2) Gain a new level of independence and self-reliance

Immersing yourself into a new country will teach you to be independent and self-reliant like nothing else. Going off to college definitely increases independence, but not like living in a new country, being forced to try new things and navigate in an unfamiliar territory. It may be scary at first, but it will give you all the experience you need to be a self-sustaining adult for post-college life.

3) Pay lower tuition fees

Often times when studying abroad you pay the tuition of the university you are attending, rather than your own school’s tuition. For many schools, typically in European countries, those tuition rates are significantly cheaper than what you’re paying to attend your college or university.  Of course, airfare and living expenses can rack up, but lower tuition may be a talking point in convincing your parents!

4) Increase language skills

Studying abroad is an opportunity to take that language you “learned” in high school and transform it into full fledged fluency. Nothing will catch you up on the French language like spending a semester in Paris.

Common study abroad fears and why you shouldn’t worry:

1) Homesickness

Homesickness isn’t uncommon for someone thousand miles away from home. You probably have some experience dealing with homesickness from when you first moved on campus. If you can last from late August to thanksgiving break or winter break without your family, then you shouldn’t have to worry about a semester in another country. If that does seem like a problem, then focus on the new opportunities and adventures waiting to happen in your host country rather than browse through Facebook pictures and I’m sure you won’t want to go home.

2) Getting lost

You may get lost in your new home, but that is no reason not to give it a shot. Carry maps with you and you’ll make it out just fine. If anything, getting lost just adds to the adventure and excitement of studying abroad.

3) Language barrier

Immersing yourself in a new language is intimidating and confusing but it is a great chance to learn a new language. Have your dictionary ready and try your best communicating with locals! Or meet a local who can show you around when you’re away from the university. Worst case scenario study in an English speaking country!

Good luck, Canes!