Studying abroad is an exciting educational opportunity offered to many college and university students. In study abroad programs, students can live and attend university in a different country to explore new cultures and different ways of learning. Yet, most students learn more outside of the classroom than they do through the study abroad curriculum itself. Oftentimes, it’s the lessons students learn about living independently and exploring a new culture that provide lifelong value. Discover the true learnings you can expect to gain from living abroad below.
The Importance of Independence
When you travel to live and study in a country where you don’t have friends or family, you are truly on your own. Many students are at least a little intimidated by this prospect at first. Yet, living abroad on your own offers the greatest opportunity to be independent and forge your own path. The experience will help you grow, adapt well, take better care of yourself, make smart decisions, and independently find solutions to problems. Moreover, it provides the freedom to be yourself, set your own pace, and explore your interests. Independence also boosts confidence, inspiring you to take calculated risks and potentially become more adventurous — which brings us to our next point.
How to Embrace Adventure
Living abroad will provide countless opportunities for sightseeing and adventurous explorations. Remember, studying in a foreign land isn’t just about studying. In fact, you can learn a great deal about a new place and its people by exploring famous sights and landmarks. Of course, during your time abroad, you’ll have plenty of time to explore both the famous sights as well as those off the beaten path.
Taking tours and engaging in various adventures might also help broaden your horizons. Pushing your limits could help you conquer fears, learn something new about yourself or others, or create memorable experiences. These are lessons you can bring back home with you, and could even be applied to an experience as simple as embracing Ottawa student housing opportunities with new roommates.
The Beauty of Being Flexible
Flexibility, or ‘going with the flow,’ is tremendously advantageous throughout life’s many unexpected twists and turns. For example, it can:
- Help reduce or prevent anxiety or stress
- Improve your ability to find solutions to complex problems
- Make you more socially adept
- Increase confidence
When you’re in an unfamiliar environment, you’re forced to become more flexible, since your typical routine is disrupted. Ultimately, this helps you cope and adapt better, allowing you to learn more in your new environment. Being flexible can also help you implement a new language faster while studying abroad. Back home, it can help you navigate challenging or unforeseen circumstances as they arise without losing sight of your goals.
How to Make New Friends
No matter where you go or how long you’ll stay, making friends is always a valuable way to spend your time. Developing new friendships will enhance your social and cultural experiences. Friends who are native to the country can also make your stay easier and more interesting by educating you on the local culture and language. They can also help you become comfortable with your new surroundings, introducing you to various:
- Historical sights and cultural landmarks
- Local restaurants and retail shops
- Nightclubs and bars
- Parks and other recreational areas
- Local transportation
- Movie theatres and other entertainment venues
If you become friends with other students, they could give you the low down on your new university and share some useful tips. Of course, becoming friends with other students who are also studying abroad can provide a support system, too. Either way, making new friends may seem intimidating at first, but after your first experience, you’ll soon find how easy it is to bond with like-minded students. This lesson can be carried with you through the rest of your educational experiences, career, and beyond.