With culture barriers being eliminated and appreciation for different cultures and life-styles increasing, study abroad is becoming a general practice. But what does actually make people pack their bags and go to study or work in a distant country they do not know much about? The reasons seem to be multiple. Generally, their list includes:
Studying abroad is an excellent way to intellectual and personal growth, a way of getting to know the world. As is usually the rule, exposure to different cultures and challenges of a new academic environment makes a person more independent and mature. One learns to easily adapt to new circumstances and cultural contexts, which is a valuable life experience. Finally, a person going abroad does not only learn to appreciate cultures different from theirs, but develops a better understanding of their own.
International education is an invaluable experience if one wants to enhance their knowledge of a foreign language. Perfect command of a language can only be acquired through everyday communication with native speakers, being exposed to and understanding their ways of living and thinking, confronting everyday tasks and routines. Going abroad seems to be the best choice for a person looking to gain in-depth knowledge of a culture, its customs and people. This information cannot be obtained form guides and magazines. Only form your own experience can you get first-hand and intimate knowledge of another culture's specificity. One advantage over usual traveling is that you will not feel a tourist but will be immersed in a new and different environment another is that if you succeed to get a grant you will have this experience free.
Living in a globally interdependent world, you need to enhance your cross-cultural communication competencies, which might be appreciated by your potential employer thus making you more competitive in terms of job prospects. Employers do look for specialists speaking foreign languages fluently, possessing international communication skills and able to work successfully in a multi-cultural team. Additionally, you will also have a chance to make new acquaintances that may help you in your further business and career.
Before you actually start looking for a particular program think what is your reason for go to study abroad, if you feel you are willing to. The above-mentioned reasons are the most universal ones and most probably describe your expectations. However it is best to decide, what is your ideal international education experience and what benefits you expect to get. Think what other factors (like time, money, etc) may influence your final decision. Getting a clear idea of what exactly you want shall considerably help you choose the right program, college, country, and partially avoid various stressful moments foreign environment is likely to cause (the so-called "culture shock"). Once you are though with this difficult part, you may pass to an easier task - selecting a suitable international education program.