By Ashley Brooks
Studying abroad is one of the most enjoyable parts of a college career. If you have the opportunity to do so, you should eagerly take it. Studying abroad allows for a number of different experiences, and the opportunity to live in a different country without searching for an overseas job or being forced to learn a new language. Most locations for studying abroad are situated within areas in which English is a common language, or the community has a basic understanding of English.
Location, Location, Location
Whether you decide to study in Brazil or France, each location has its own specific motivational pull. Many students who have already traveled to Europe prefer different types of locations such as South America or China, while students who have never left the country typically vie for locations in Europe. Either continent presents a set of new encounters which cannot be experienced within your home community.
Every culture has its own mesh of customs and beliefs which is crucial towards grasping a firm understanding of foreigners. We tend to believe that our views are right in the world, without researching into other cultures further; however, actually living in a different community allows you to be face-to-face with a culture different from your own and grow through this proximity.
Learning new languages is an arduous task, yet rewarding overall. Nothing is more impressive than becoming a polyglot, even if you may only know bits and pieces of various languages. Living in a foreign community for a few months is the best way to learn a new language. It almost forces you to become intermeshed within the society, and in order to live a bit easier, you must learn part of the language. However, not every study abroad location will force you to learn a different language; it is only recommended that you take this opportunity to immerse yourself within the culture.
The United States is a relatively young country in the scheme of global locations, and this becomes increasingly clear as you travel to European and Asian countries, where the cities are rich with the culture from hundreds and thousands of years past. The United States cannot begin to compare to the Wall of China or the architecture of ancient Rome. It is an amazing experience to live in a region where great moments in history have taken place and are remembered as such for decades.
We all know that the United States and every country for that matter, has its own version of historic events. Studying abroad, and actually living in a different culture, allows you as a student to achieve full accounts of history from a different perspective. Not only that, but it also allows you to witness in what ways their world views differ from our own. We know that many countries do not agree with many of our actions in the Middle East, but it is much more interesting to view first-hand what the country’s nationals are saying about various situations. Additionally, it is amazing to travel to another country and take note of how much global politics dominate international affairs, and additionally realize how deceptively small a role the United States plays. This experience in general is very eye-opening and necessary for the younger generation who no longer question historic events and world perceptions.
Studying abroad is truly an experience in which you can grow immensely within the span of a few months, as well as increase your knowledge of the world and global affairs. This is one of the life-altering moments in college, and is highly recommended for any college student or even graduate student.
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