Since my arrival in Ireland for graduate school, several people have approached me with the ever-popular question, “Why did you choose to study abroad?”.
Well, I’ve been giving this some thought and I need look no further than the ‘five E’s’.
1. ENRICH your life:
Whether you want to learn more about a different culture, history in general, or any other subject, I can guarantee that you’ll learn more than you ever could have imagined while abroad. You will be challenged. Your knowledge of the world will be deepened. You will grow as a person and you’ll enjoy yourself immensely.
2. EMPOWER yourself:
Studying abroad is a crash course in living on your own. You have to shop for yourself, feed yourself, do your own laundry, make your own travel plans, budget money, and balance school AND a social life. Looking for a way to find yourself and become more independent? Look no further than an abroad experience. You’ll come back a stronger, smarter, and more self-determined individual.
3. EXPLORE new places:
If you’re a person who has always yearned to travel and explore the world, then study abroad is definitely for you. I’ve been in Ireland now for almost 9 months and I still haven’t seen everything I want to see before I return to the USA. If you choose to study abroad I can promise you these things: you will go on adventures, you will learn a ton, and you will never, ever be bored.
4. Gain EMPLOYMENT:
It’s no secret that employers look for more than just the basic qualifications in applicants when they decide whether or not to offer them jobs. Telling a potential employer that you studied abroad is synonymous with, and equivalent to, telling them that you are: flexible, a multi-tasker, independent, good at meeting and working with new people, not afraid of a challenge and a problem solver. Yes…it speaks volumes.
5. Become more EASYGOING:
This is especially true for me. When you’re abroad and learning how to handle the good, the bad and the ugly on your own. You learn very quickly that you have to become patient, understanding, and incredibly calm. Just like at home, things will go right sometimes, and other times they will go wrong. Studying abroad teaches you to roll with the punches, deal with the big issues and let the little things go.
At the end of the day, I can’t be the one to tell you whether or not to take the plunge and study abroad (even though I think I made a pretty convincing argument…not to brag or anything). All I know is that studying abroad has changed my life for the better in countless ways, and I’ve never regretted my decision to do so.
I know I’m not a celebrity or an expert or an advisor, I don’t have all the answers and I’m not omniscient.
I’m just your typical “small town” girl from Winchendon, Massachusetts living my dream of studying and writing in Ireland. A lot of you are probably a lot like me, at the very least we could be friends. So, from one potential friend to another: don’t ever limit yourself and always believe in your dreams.
If you want to enrich your life, empower yourself, explore new places, look great to future employers, and become a bit more easygoing why not try spending some time abroad? You never know, it may just change your life just like it changed mine.