Almost any excuse to travel is a good one, but when you have the opportunity to go live abroad and get out of your comfort zone, you should definitely take it. Even if airport security gives you anxiety or you hate any food that wouldn't be available at Iceland, here are 10 reasons you should study abroad anyway:
1. To say that you did
A wise person once said it is much better to regret something you did than something you didn't do. If you go for it and live abroad and end up not having the time of your life, it's not the end of the world. It least now you can always say you gave it a chance, and pushed yourself to do something that was a rare opportunity when you were young. You'll never be old and married overlooking your white picket fence wondering "what if I had gone and learnt to speak French in Paris?" No FOMO allowed.
2. To meet people with totally different perspectives
You may not realise it, but people who come from the same city as you, or attend the same school as you, probably have very similar perspectives to you. The only way to branch out and meet people that come from different backgrounds, have different outlooks, and view the world differently than you is to go to a place where people have totally different experiences. After you meet people who may not be so stressed about taking the perfect #gymselfie or may value family more than you're used to, you will find you slowly start to adapt some of their outlooks as your own. Unless you go live abroad with a violent crime ring, this is almost always a good thing.
3. To expand your palate
Are you a self-proclaimed picky eater or one of those people that allegedly hates espresso even though you've never tried it? You'll be shocked what your body ends up liking when it doesn't have much of a choice. For instance, I always "hated" seafood even though I never really had a good reason. Then I lived in a place that only really had fish for protein and I had to try it unless I wanted to live off veggies (no way I was going to let that happen). Now? I love all sorts of seafood and know it's because I forced myself to embrace something new. Give your tongue the chance to travel too.
4. To meet new men
This may be one of the more shallow reasons on the list, but spending time with men who are completely different from the men you are used to is a GREAT thing. First of all, it teaches you that there are MANY fish in the sea, so don't get hung up on those guys that don't deserve you because you feel like you'll never meet anybody else. It's also a great time to experiment with what traits you want in your man, which you may have never been able to test drive before: i.e. he's a fabulous salsa dancer, he's super dedicated to his family's business, he loves the nomad lifestyle, he is super into surfing, etc. If you don't experiment now, then when will you? Well, probably, when you're married, and that's no bueno.
5. To make you appreciate home
Do you often find yourself so bored with your life and the trajectory you know it's on? Well sometimes you need to give yourself a chance to miss your totally ordinary life in order to appreciate it. When you feel like you are SO sick of eating at the same restaurants, hanging with the same groups of people or going to the same bars, you'll find that you'll be more homesick than you ever thought after spending a few months in a totally different place. Best way to learn to cherish the things you have now? Give yourself a chance to miss it.
6. To learn to travel with people you don't know well
It may sound surprising, but you will need to learn to travel with people you don't know very well because it happens A LOT in your adult life: business trips, weddings, your hubby's company couples retreats, etc. Are you the type of person that likes to get there hours in advance and stay in nice hotels? Well, you are going to learn to have to travel with your opposite who likes barely making their flight and doesn't mind staying wherever happens to be available once they land. There's not a better time to learn that type of compromise then when you're still young and (hopefully) not already stuck in your ways. Nobody likes the girl that is rushing everybody through the food court at the airport because she's never learned to travel on somebody else's time. For some, Sbarro is a must, deal with it.
7. To take a breather from your "real" life
There is nothing like being able to hit the "reset" button in your life, and it's VERY hard to do, especially when you're older. Living abroad is one of the best ways to get out of your current environment, get space from that ex you know is bad for you, take a break from your friend group drama and give yourself some new experiences. You will come back refreshed, with new perspectives and a greater appreciation for what you did miss in your "real" life while you were away. Hard to leave the bad and take the good when you don't allow yourself to go anywhere.
8. To learn from people you'll never be able to learn from again
Whether it's in the classroom or on your weekend trip to local museums, you are going to learn from people that you will never have the opportunity to learn from again. Their life experiences and teaching styles will truly be unique to anything you will see back home. It will teach you to look at everything from your belief systems to your lifestyle in a whole new light.
9. To instill in yourself a desire to travel
Even if you're not a type of person that loves trying new things or traveling to new places, it doesn't mean that you can't learn to love it. That type of passion tends to happens at a young age. When you're older, with a family and a mortgage and lots of real world pressures, you are going to want to have the skill set to know when you and your family needs a break. Some people don't know how to identify when their family unit needs to take a beat, and they simply stay in a rut until things get really bad. If you start to see the benefits of traveling, and learning from other cultures at a young age, you know it's a tool you can use when you are older and have a lot on your plate. More importantly, it can be a trait you teach your children. It's going to be hard for them to write a good university essay if they've never left their county before.
10. Because you can
This may seem a repeat of some of the above, but I cannot stress enough how much living abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's truly rare to have the chance to drop everything in your life and go to a foreign country just to explore and have fun. It's something you need to take advantage of while you are young, impressionable and still figuring out what type of person you want to be. Exposing yourself to other walks of life, new scenery and people that look at the world totally differently than you can only help you to become a more aware and savvy person. You will notice what a big role that plays on your ability to deal with the "real" world later on in life. Besides, hot dudes, new food and the ability to brag about your crazy six months Spain? You'd be crazy not to.
Need some help embracing change? We've got 100 quotes to inspire you to take the leap:
Do you think studying abroad is a good idea? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!
This article was written by Dagney Pruner. Follow her on Twitter @dagneyp
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