Seven Ways Studying Abroad Can Do Wonders for Your Future
Sponsored by IE University
Already planning where you'll go on holiday next year? Love meeting people from other cultures, and have a knack for languages? Instead of waiting until after university to gain international experience, why not make the jump now?
There'll never be a better time to travel than while you're still (relatively) commitment-free and sans-mortgage. Read on for seven reasons why you should give studying abroad some serious thought.
1. Never pay for an Airbnb ever again in your life.
Does the idea of low-cost travel and the comforting assurance of a free bed in a number of locations across the globe appeal to you? One of the main benefits of studying overseas, especially at an international university, is the sheer number of friends from different cultural backgrounds you will make and keep! There’s nothing quite like an old friend you cherish to teach you about their culture and fix up your peripheral vision.
Studying abroad, or even just spending a semester with a partner university overseas, could help you build a second network of connections to fall back on, either through events organized by the university’s careers team, the alumni network, professors or classmates. Consider joining Meetup groups overseas in your field of interest to meet industry professionals and speak to potential employers.
3. Surprise yourself.
Nothing quite beats a change of scenery to discover that you still have the potential to grow out of your comfort zone and try out new things (and food). Travelling has a way of making the impossible seem possible. Perhaps you’ll realize that you’d like to work in policy or… become a sky-diving instructor: there’s no telling what you’ll find out about yourself once you learn to enjoy your own company (especially overseas). Joining a student society might be one way to explore your interests – IE University, for instance, features some 30+ student societies on campus, ranging from aerial sports to film!
4. Study abroad and learn a new language.
While picking up a new language does become less intuitive once you’re past a certain age, being surrounded by people who speak it 365 days a year certainly helps! Make a concerted effort to learn and perhaps take additional language courses and you’ll be fluent in no time! Having several languages (along with around 500 years of work experience) is almost a pre-requisite for graduates entering today’s competitive job market. Some institutions, such as IE University, offer free Spanish and English language classes to help students settle in and boost their CV with a foreign language.
5. Upgrade your CV.
A 2006 study in fact found that students enrolled in the Erasmus study abroad program tend to have better job prospects, partly due to their level of maturity and key skills developed during their stay abroad, such as “intercultural awareness, adaptability, flexibility, innovativeness, productivity, motivation, endurance, problem-solving abilities and being able to work productively in a team”.
6. Build grit and resourcefulness.
Living abroad, there will come many a time when you will have to fix problems by yourself and perhaps even extricate yourself out of thorny situations. You will without doubt experience being locked out of your apartment, get hopelessly lost, and need to communicate complex ideas to someone using only your hands. Expect to become more streetwise than you could ever imagine!
7. Access more work opportunities.
Depending on your citizenship and visa requirements, studying abroad will grant you access to a second job market and work opportunities in both your home and host countries, while also improving your employability prospects and demonstrating to recruiters that you possess relevant ‘graduate’ skills such as problem-solving, a global mindset and a foreign language. Depending on which school you could choose, there may be some opportunities to make a name for yourself overseas. IE University provides entrepreneurial students with many opportunities to take their project ideas forward. The IE Venture Lab, for instance, helps entrepreneurial students fast-track their business ideas.
With over a hundred nationalities represented on campus and links with as many as 95 universities in 30 countries, IE University boasts a diverse classroom, with about 70% of its student body being international.
Whether you are planning on studying in Spain or elsewhere, IE University offers plenty of opportunities to spend a semester abroad with a partner university, in addition to a wealth of on-campus support facilities to help international students settle in.
This article was originally published in May 2016 . It was last updated in January 2020