At some point in our lives, most of us have considered going abroad to either complete or further our studies. Because let’s be real, who hasn’t?
Hopping on a plane and leaving everything behind can be a nightmare, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons if you take the time to really think about it. More than a change in scenery, living in a foreign country unlocks a world entirely different from your own.
The fact that you’re reading this article already means that you’re interested in the idea. Perhaps you just need a little more convincing. Well—don’t let me stop you!
Move over, Pitbull. There’s a new Mr./Ms. Worldwide in town.
1. Expand your worldview
To see outside the box, you need to be outside the box. No amount of reading, researching, or newsfeed exposure about a culture will teach you as much as first-hand experience will. Notice how the most close-minded people you know—ahem, relatives—are the ones who refuse to branch out of their own perspectives.
It all boils down to expanding our vantage point: the more situations we find ourselves in, the more we figure out where others are coming from. Remember, no one likes a close-minded person.
2. Adapt to a new culture and environment
If you’ve ever heard of the saying “get out of your comfort zone,” this point takes that idiom up a notch. Since the internet, rapid changes in science and technology have led people to become increasingly mobile and interconnected. This innovation has opened our eyes to all parts of the world. Working with people—in real life, that is—who come from different walks of life is one sure-fire way to acquire the skill of adjustment and compromise.
3. Learn a new language
As Filipinos, we already have the edge of being bilingual or trilingual. If you’ve always wanted to learn another language but are too scared of the Duolingo owl who threatens you with a gun, best to dive right into it by immersing yourself completely.
If you’re a bit more career-oriented, don’t think of learning a new language as a mere hobby. Instead, think of it as a bonus when applying for a job. The more languages you know, the more people you can reach out to. If you’re still not convinced, research has shown that learning a new language can not only improve memory power, but it can also increase your ability to multitask! Ugh, your mind.
4. Acquire more work value
In this house, advance tayo mag-isip. Employers want people who are comfortable dealing with people from diverse cultures. Think of it this way: if you’ve managed to connect with people completely different from you, think of how much you’ll impress your employer on the first meeting!
When 10,000 hiring managers from all around the globe were asked what matters most when selecting an applicant, 60% of respondents “value an international study experience.” Sometimes it has little to do with what prestige the foreign university offers, but everything to do with the experience—and what you choose to do with it.
5. Become more self-reliant
Sometimes it’s not the money that hinders people from going abroad, but the fear of being alone. There is no other way to it: you will have to learn to live by yourself. But don’t fret—this can be a win on your end, so bakit ka matatakot? There will be many things that you have to figure out for yourself and face decisions that only you can make, which makes everything all the more exciting.
Fear is always a good sign to push through with something. Sounds scary indeed, but you’ll surely learn how to cook for yourself along the way.
6. Make new friends from around the world
What’s a trip abroad without making friends?
Studying abroad guarantees you’ll meet new people of every race, religion, culture, and character. There’s no need to shy away from starting the conversation because being in the same class or dormitory already gives you a common starting point.
Conversations with strangers often make the deepest connections. Who knows, you might even meet Mr./Mrs. Right while you’re at it! Additionally, having people you can rely on in foreign countries can also be helpful for directions and networking.
7. Discover things about your own culture
This may sound weird, but living abroad opens your eyes about your own distinct culture. The benefits of this? It allows you a more objective look into your own background, giving you a fresh outlook on how your culture has shaped you into the person you are today. Simply put, going abroad helps you put your origins into perspective—all you need to do is look at it in a different light (or country)!