Five compelling reasons why you should choose the U.S. as your study abroad destination.
College is a unique, exciting time in your life. It’s a time to dream big, live big, and even fail big. That’s all a part of the journey, and it’s why studying abroad is such an intriguing prospect. Choosing the U.S. as your study abroad destination is a life-changing experience. Dare to dream, and you might just reach higher than you could have ever imagined. If you were wondering why you should consider studying abroad, here are some of our favorite reasons why.
Experience a Different Culture
Each culture is a world unto itself, and studying abroad immerses you in the lives of students bringing their worlds together. It’s one thing to learn about a culture, and another thing entirely to experience it. Colleges and universities coordinate events like international student fairs, cultural festivals, and student clubs, so you can learn about the cultures of your fellow international students. Get a taste of the food, music, and cultures of your friends’ homelands, and share your own culture with others so that they can understand you as well!
Being faced with new situations will force you to learn new things about yourself and your surroundings. Studies by IIE’s Gaining an Employment Edge found that students who studied abroad gained valuable skills including flexibility, adaptability, confidence, communication, problem solving, and more. Where most potential candidates for a position have the hard skills to do the job, what can separate them are the skills that can’t be found on a resume — these skills are developed through experience.
According to IvyPanda, 64% of employers think that an international experience is important for recruitment. Experiencing a new culture will bring you face to face with situations that challenge you to reshape the way you think. Cultural norms vary from one country to another, so many of the preconceived notions, perceptions, or stereotypes that you may have brought, whether you knew it or not, will be challenged. Learning to understand your differences and appreciating them is one of the most fulfilling realizations that you can make for your personal life and career.
Get a World-Class Education
Studying at a U.S. university gives you variety, flexibility, and quality that is hard to match. More than a quarter (26) of the world’s top 100 universities are located in the U.S. as of 2022, and the educational system that’s created so much success is prevalent in universities big and small all throughout the country.
Among the many reasons why students choose the U.S. as their study abroad destination, here are a few:
Education your way: Your degree can be designed to fit your unique goals. Do you want to pursue a marketing major, but have an interest in computer science? There are any number of unique combinations you can choose from. The customization doesn’t end there — you can even create your own schedule with a combination of in-person, online, morning, or evening classes. You can simultaneously work toward one major while minoring in another.
It’s common for students to get stuck in a major that they’ve fallen out of love with. In another country, they may be forced to stick with something they aren’t passionate about. The U.S. is unique in that students who choose a major aren’t tied to it. The first two years of your education allow you to experiment with classes you may be interested in as you meet university requirements. You might not be compelled to pursue all the subjects you take but you might find something you’d rather pursue. If along the way, you decide that you want to follow another path, you can change your major and the classes you had taken in your first two years will count toward your graduation.
Student-Professor Connection: Professors and faculty make a concerted effort to get to know you personally. It’s common to hear your professors refer to you by your first name and vice-versa. If you have any questions, feel comfortable knowing you can walk into your professors’ offices, and they’ll gladly answer your questions.
Groundbreaking Research: Have you ever wanted to find the answers to some of life's greatest questions? Universities are making discoveries on a number of fronts each and every year, and as a student, you have the opportunity to work alongside experts in your field to make those findings.
Real-World Opportunities: You can choose to work on-campus, do internships along with your studies, participate in student clubs, and attend networking events that connect you with leading companies in your field.
Post-Graduate Opportunities: Pursue your masters, participate in an OPT, or make use of any number of post-graduate opportunities for international students that allow you to stay in the U.S. for an extended period.
Learn the Global Language
English is the talk of the trade; whether in international business or day-to-day interactions, being able to communicate in English gives you a seat at the table wherever you go. English is the most used language in the world and the most commonly learned second language among non-native English speakers. Why is that? English has become the global language, and it’s here to stay.
The disparity between what companies look for in terms of English ability, and the reality of what they have are disproportionate. Organizations look for prospects with high English proficiency, but many of the new candidates entering the workforce aren’t filling that void. A report by the University of Wales examined that 25% of export companies in England and Wales lost business because of language and cultural deficiencies. Where does that leave you? It means that you have a clear pathway to differentiating yourself from your competitors, and opening new pathways for your career.
Why study English abroad?
Learning English through textbooks, videos, and on your own is one thing, but living a life soaked in the English language is another thing entirely. Living as an international student in the U.S., you will be fully immersed in the English language. Opposed to designating a certain amount of time every day to learning English, English will be part of every moment of your life. Whether you’re buying groceries, ordering food at a restaurant, looking at billboard advertisements, or watching local TV shows — English will follow you everywhere.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Every waking moment during your study abroad will be another opportunity to gain the repetitions you need to refine your English ability. The classes you take, the friends you speak with, and the new people you meet along the way will all have a part in developing your English skills. If that wasn’t enough, there are English programs and out-of-classroom opportunities that you can tap into to accelerate your English learning even further.
One way to bring more English speaking experiences into your life would be to consider a ‘homestay’ opportunity. Homestays place you with a family in their host country and provide you with your own room, a family-like atmosphere, and the comfort of knowing that you have people rooting for you. Staying with others provides a daily learning opportunity when you come back from school.
English specific programs are available at many universities as well, and these look to accelerate your English learning to varying degrees. Intensive English programs come in many forms (4, 8, 12, and 16-week English programs) and focus on guiding you through the intricacies of learning a new language the right way. If that’s too much of a commitment, you can add an English elective into your regular schedule so that you can refine your language skills while you pursue your regular degree.
Ultimately, your English abilities will be of most use to you as you look to begin your career. According to IvyPanda, 70% of UK businesses value foreign language skills in their employees with 38% citing that language skills are useful in relationships with clients or customers. Building a skill as important as English should be done with the utmost consideration. English isn’t a complicated language by any means, but conversational English isn’t as cut and dry as many would have you think. That’s why we think that if you’re looking to learn the global language, it’s best to go global to do it.
Build Toward Your Career
74% of college students who studied abroad reported that it helped them in starting their professional careers. Studying abroad has been attributed to teaching skills that aren’t immediately learned through a traditional education. Soft skills such as communication and problem solving are refined through experience more than theory. Being placed in an environment where you’re not just required, but demanded to learn these skills will force you to grow into the professional you need to be.
Not every student chooses to remain in the U.S. upon graduation, but the growth they undergo during their time here is evident as they return to their home country. According to Erasmus, 64% of employers said they gave greater professional responsibility to graduates who had an international background. The shift in mindset that accompanies a study abroad creates graduates who are more willing to learn and adapt to the shifting demands of the world; they become the people who employers are looking for.
One of the best long-term investments into your career can be an even higher education. Furthering your education can be the key to unlocking higher earning potential, greater job responsibility, and more job stability. 87% of students said that their study abroad influenced future educational experiences, with a large percentage saying that their experiences shaped the majors they pursued. If there’s a surefire way to stand out in a crowded job market, pursuing your master’s degree or beyond will do just that.
Experience Personal Growth
It’s exciting to consider how your study abroad will force you to grow. As unpredictable as life can be, growth can be found in the most mundane or extraordinary of circumstances. Life in your home country will seem starkly different than the life you’ve walked into in your host country. How will you tackle challenges? What will this new experience awaken within you? Finding yourself, what your interests are, and how you deal with adversity is all part of growing as a person. You will no doubt be faced with all of these questions but seeing who you become through them is ultimately the most rewarding part.
When asked about personal growth during their study abroad, respondents said the following:
97% say it served as a catalyst for increased maturity
96% reported increased self-confidence
89% said it enabled them to tolerate ambiguity
95% said it had a lasting impact on their world view
College is a time filled with creating memorable experiences, finding lifelong friendships, and building a successful future. If you only had one chance, why not make the most of it and experience a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience by studying in the USA?
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