For many of us, studying abroad is an experience we hope to fit into our schedules at some point in our college careers. Knowing I had little room in my schedule to study abroad for an entire semester, I decided to take advantage of a summer study abroad program this summer! With six other Pamplin College of Business students and our advisor, I traveled to major cities in China this May and June, visiting businesses, universities, and cultural sites. Whether you are already planning to study abroad or are considering it, I’m here to offer three valuable benefits that I have taken away from my experience.
1) Exposure to the business world of a foreign country
As future business professionals, working abroad or with international clients/customers is a strong possibility for many of us during our careers. Taking the opportunity to learn about the business world abroad is a great way to gain that international business exposure before graduating. Some things cannot be taught within the walls of a classroom, so think about traveling to a different country and learning in a real international setting. You may even form a connection that leads to an internship or full-time job opportunity!
2) Getting out of your comfort zone
College is a time to take risks and experience new things. Studying abroad can be a great way to do those things. During this unique experience, you get to immerse yourself in a completely different culture for an extended period of time, encouraging you to practice your independence and try new things. When you are in a different country, you are surrounded by places, people, and events foreign to the ones you have at home. You are bound to learn something new at every moment. Once you’ve conquered living and studying in a foreign country, taking risks back at home may seem less intimidating!
3) The opportunity to travel in an organized, group setting
Once we start full-time careers, fitting international travel into our schedules may not be the easiest or most realistic of tasks. Take advantage of semesters with fewer credits or vacations to do a study abroad program. Studying abroad in college allows us to travel with a group of people with similar interests and visit destinations on our bucket lists; it’s like an extravagant, prolonged field trip!
Studying abroad isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do or are just now interested in, I would encourage you to research programs offered online, attend study abroad fairs, visit the Global Education office right off campus, and talk to your advisor about the best programs for your major and academic plan!