Is studying abroad worth it? Is it something for me?

Let’s face it: studying abroad is always an investment of both time and money. With every large investment, it’s normal to ask yourself whether it’s worth it, or if you’re better off doing something else instead. If you’re a little hesitant to make such an investment, it may help to know that almost everyone who has studied abroad has had no regrets about it whatsoever. Often they even say it’s been the best experience of their whole life. 

Maybe you’re still not quite convinced that studying abroad is the right thing to do for you. You might have other priorities and are unsure if there’s anything to gain by going abroad for a few months, or even longer. This post is for you so that you can make up your mind and at least know what you’d be missing, should you decide against it. 😉

So, let’s get started!

1. Studying abroad is more and more common these days

The fact is that today, more and more students go study abroad at least once during their academic career. Especially if you’re aiming for an international career in a competitive field, studying abroad and international experience are less like a nice extra and more like a basic requirement.

It also matters where you go. It’s a different thing to go study abroad where everyone else is going, than choosing a more exotic and uncommon destination. We’ve always believed Asia to be one of the best places to study abroad. Why? It has rich and diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, friendly people and affordable living costs – all these make for unforgettable study abroad experiences. If that’s not enough, there are plenty of career opportunities available for those who can claim expertise in Asia and its economies, languages and cultures.

You might also be interested in: Why Study in Asia?

2. You can learn a new language and improve your existing language skills

Knowing a second language is always a good thing. Not only can you understand and connect better with people from a another culture, but it will actually improve your memory, mental flexibility and creativity. With each language comes a culture and a worldview as well, so you’ll learn a whole new way of looking at the world as a nice bonus. How cool is that?

Even if you only want to improve your English (assuming you’re not a native speaker), studying abroad will give you many opportunities for that, both in- and outside the classroom. All of our partner universities offer a large number of courses in English, and you get to meet people from all over the world with whom to practice your language skills. On top of that, you’ll get to learn a local language, like Bahasa Indonesia, Thai or even something as in-demand as Mandarin Chinese.

chinese characters sign
Learning a new language is one of the many benefits of studying abroad. Spend a few months in China, and you’ll no longer be baffled by signs like these!

Going to a foreign country is the best way to learn a new language. And it’s always a good thing to know how other people live on the other side of the world – our world.

– Jadhe (France), studied abroad in China   

3. You get to experience a culture deeply

There’s no better way of getting to know a new country and culture than by living in it for a longer period of time. Studying abroad gives you an opportunity to experience a foreign culture in a way a tourist cannot.

Living abroad will give you a whole new perspective on your own culture as well. You’ll be less likely to take things for granted and will become more tolerant of perspectives different from your own. That’s an invaluable skill to have in today’s globalized and interconnected world, where it’s working in multicultural teams is more and more common and requires effective intercultural communication skills.

A local man is praying in Bali
Studying abroad gives you a chance to immerse yourself into local culture and traditions in a way that’s impossible for a tourist.

4. You become more independent and learn more about yourself

Studying abroad might be the first time that you get to live away from home. You have a chance to find out how to be truly independent. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you open yourself up to new opportunities that you couldn’t see before.

Often it’s only when we leave behind our familiar environment that we discover more about ourselves and what we truly care about. You might think that you’re going abroad to discover something new about the world out there, but more often the greatest discoveries will be about yourself and your place in the world.

Studying abroad changes you a lot and forms your personality for the future. For myself, the most important thing I’ve learned is: There is no need to be afraid! Just go for it. I never thought of studying abroad and when I look back, it was the best time of my life.

– Sarah (Germany), studied abroad in Bali

5. You become more creative and give your career a boost

Did you know that studying abroad can even make you smarter? Yup, that’s right. This is because living abroad exposes you to new situations and broadens your ways of thinking, which are otherwise limited by our culture, upbringing and familiar environments. You’ll be able to think more flexibly and creatively, which in turn makes you a better problem-solver.

Mental flexibility, creativity, problem-solving skills, language skills and intercultural competence – these are some of the skills that studying abroad teaches you, and all of them highly valuable in many kinds of career paths today. And if you’re aiming for an international career, studying abroad is not just a nice thing to have in your CV, but even a necessity.

One of the things I could never have imagined beforehand is how much this experience would contribute towards and benefit my career. I started to look for summer jobs and internships when I knew that I am coming to study here. I sent three applications to different places and I got all the jobs – all three!

– Jenna (Finland), studied abroad in China

You might also be interested in: How Studying Abroad Benefits Your Career

multicultural team
Studying abroad also allows you to build an international network that will be useful for your future career.

6. You make lifelong friends

Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Like all experiences, it’s best when shared. You’ll meet many people from all over the world who are in the same situation as you, placed in a new environment and eager to discover the world around them. You’ll make many like-minded friends who will often remain friends for life. Some of these contacts might provide invaluable for your future career as well.

Local students will also often be eager to make friends with you, and can introduce you to their country and culture. What’s a better way to learn?

This experience for me was really amazing and, of course, it was more than what I expected. I discovered a totally different world on the opposite part of the earth. I could also make friends with whom I know I will stay in contact forever. These kind of opportunities are also good for learning about yourself and for seeing what you like and what you want for your own future.

– Bianca (Argentina), studied abroad in China

7. You make the best possible investment into your own future

Going abroad is an investment that can give you huge returns long into your future. Studying abroad will expand your choices, interests and future visions. You see opportunities where none used to exist, and discover passions that can lead you down a whole new life path. That’s what happened to Harri and Tuomas, the founders of Asia Exchange, and the same has happened to countless of other students as well, like BiancaRoosa and Marvin.

Girl wearing a tank top using her laptop by the beach
Studying abroad helped Bianca land her dream job. The same has happened for many others as well.

Being an exchange student helped me build up a network. The more I traveled or went to another country to study, the more my network grew. One person introduces you to another. You walk on a tortuous path to meet people and the more you travel the wider your network gets. The bigger your network is, the higher is the possibility that someone knows someone who can recommend you. The most inspiring people who make you rethink about life are the ones you meet out there in the world.

Bianca (Germany), studied abroad in Bali 

As a student you still have the luxury of time and independence – use yours well.

Find out about study abroad destinations in Asia and New Zealand

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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