Right about now, a friend is visiting from Hawai’i. This is my current inspiration for this article that you’re about to read. During university, together with three of my friends back home we left to Hawai’i for a Work & Travel program, working in Waikiki, Honolulu for the whole summer. Needless to say, we had the time of our lives. We had just turned twenty-one, so it was great we were all major according to American law :)) So, you can also say that we left just on time! :))
Looking back to our work & travel experience in Hawai’i and my coming to Amsterdam years later to do my Masters, I’ve realized that these two experiences have positively affected my life and shaped the person I am today. More than that, I’ve become a big advocate of studying and/ or working abroad; there is not one time that this topic is brought in discussion without my eagerly defending the benefits of both studying and working abroad.
Therefore, I’ve put together a set of advantages that studying/ working abroad can bring about. I’ve hard a very hard time cutting down on reasons, as my list was becoming way too long :)) They are indeed subjective and based on my own experience, so feel free to expand these thoughts with your own and let us know how you feel about them:
- The cultural experience is priceless. Of course you can grasp some details about a culture when you visit it, but nothing compares with the actual living in a country, interacting with the people, observing their customs, absorbing their mentalities and becoming part of their society.
- A social skills boost. Moving to another country for a while means that you will need to create a cozy environment by meeting people and making new friends. If you want to have a social life this means you have to make an effort. Thus, even if you may be quite introvert, you will have to break these boundaries in order to start making friends.
- Second home feeling. After you’ve had your experience abroad and even during it, you may get the feeling like it’s your second home. In the case you’ve left, it’s still going to feel like home or at least a place where you have a base there in case you want to return.
- During the time abroad, it’s unavoidable that you become (more) independent, self-standing, and you learn to live on your own; This happens even more so if you were still living with your parents at the time you left for studying or working abroad.
- You become (more) responsible and disciplined – You are now taking care of yourself and you are making the decisions. While you may have been accustomed with everything getting organized for you before (mainly by parents and above all if they’re coming from a very highly cub protective culture :)) – Romania definitely scores high here), now you may have to man up, start organizing yourself and take care of your responsibilities.
- When you come to your country (may it be to settle down or to visit), you automatically feel more motivated – You want to implement things you’ve learnt during your experience abroad. You are on a wave of positive change and you feel like adopting the positive sides of the culture you’ve experienced to your own country.
- Feeds your love for travelling and make you have a broader perspective on life. Every person I’ve met until now who’s had a working or and studying experience abroad is more open minded, understanding of the other cultures, has a bigger interest in discovering new places and has a more well-rounded view on things and life in general. Not to mention that if you study/ work abroad, you unquestionably become more adaptable and you can easily blend in with different kinds of people.
Of course, I can imagine there can also be people who may not have had a very pleasant experience abroad. However, I haven’t yet met any, so there was not too much research I could do in my circle of friends. But if there are people whose studying/ working experiences abroad may not have been positive, I’m sure that at least the positive learning they can take out of is that they’ve been there, done that and they know they don’t want to go back. That’s also something positive than living with the question “but what if…?”. Let me know your thought on the above. I’m very curious to find out how you’ve experienced it.
On the go,