International College
Student pathways to The University of Sheffield

What do you gain from studying abroad?

Posted 05 August 2015
Sheffield student life

Studying abroad is growing in popularity among students. Is it simply a trend? Or does it really offer significant benefits over studying at home?

To help you decide, we’ve identified 10 of the key benefits students get from studying abroad.

1. It is a liberating experience

Even students who already had experience living away from home have admitted that studying abroad made them feel more free, independent and resourceful. Although you always have the support of your university, being far from home forces you to become good at building a support network and forging new friendships – skills that are important for building team relationships at work.

2. You’ll become more flexible

Studying in a different country forces you to be more flexible – to new surroundings, to new people, and to a new culture. Many students who choose to study abroad find this an enriching – if challenging – experience. They find that it makes a big difference to their ability to handle change later in their careers.

3. It strengthens your academic abilities

If you’re not a native speaker of the local dialect, studying abroad can bring an added depth to your academic abilities. You’ll have the added challenge of learning in a foreign language. Taking in and passing on information in this way is a great way to strengthen your communication and study skills.

4. You gain new perspectives

No subject is taught exactly the same way in different countries. Whatever your academic field, going abroad to study will expose you to a fresh perspective on your subject. For example, Business Studies will be taught slightly differently in a country with an economy focused on finance rather than manufacturing, and different countries can favour different engineering techniques.

5. You’ll learn about yourself from others

Studying in a foreign country is one of the best ways to meet new people, have new experiences, develop new ideas, and get access to opportunities that you may not otherwise have considered. It’s a great opportunity to explore and discover yourself, developing both personally and professionally.

6. It helps you to focus

As distracting as a new environment can be, many students find that studying abroad helps them to focus on their study goals. Socialising and relaxation time can be scheduled in a way that won’t interfere with studies.

7. It can improve your career prospects

Studying abroad is a great way to prepare yourself to compete in the international job market. If you’re hoping to work abroad at some point in your career, a period spent studying abroad can help demonstrate to employers that you are able to adapt to new surroundings, unfamiliar cultures, and a new language, whilst still managing to excel.

8. It fuels your ambition

Studying abroad is a huge commitment – it can be expensive, disruptive and requires dedicating a significant chunk of your life to a specific purpose. But this only makes you more determined to succeed. Having put so much effort in, you will be even more determined to get the most out of your studies.

9. It helps you build a diverse network

University is where you start building your network. Studying abroad – especially at a university with a diverse student population – will help you build as wide and varied a network as possible. People who study abroad often find that they graduate with a range of contacts from around the world. This remains a very useful resource throughout their career.

10. It could transform your life

Studying in a foreign country is a life-changing experience for many students. Unlike visiting another country on holiday, staying for the three of four years of a university course allows you to fully absorb a new culture and integrate with your surroundings. Many students even end up making their study destination a permanent home.

These are just a few of the reasons why studying overseas is such a popular career move for many students around the world. The deciding factor will be different for each individual. It’s worth researching just how much international study experience is valued in your chosen field and where the best courses in your chosen subject are taught

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