At one point or another, we’ve probably all entertained the idea of studying abroad. The thought of moving to a new place to further our education can be exciting, but also a little scary.
On the one hand, studying abroad can come at a steep price. What assures us that it will be a good investment? And on the other hand, moving to a city where you don’t know anyone (and perhaps don’t even speak the language) can be pretty nerve-racking.
But there are so many benefits to studying abroad! And you don’t have to take our word for it. Below, we’ll walk you through some of the main perks you get from study abroad programs, alongside testimonials of Ria employees who’ve lived the experience in the flesh.
Benefits of Studying Abroad
1. Developing soft skills
There’s nothing quite like leaving behind your support system to prompt your soft skills into high gear. In case you’re wondering what soft skills are, they are the more personal skills, such as communication, teamwork, flexibility, among others, that are usually learned through experience as opposed to courses. And those skills are probably among the most important ones you’ll gain from studying abroad.
Parents often note that there are certain aptitudes their kids won’t master until after they leave home, and studying abroad is a surefire way to get yourself out of your comfort zone.
“I did a semester abroad in Germany while attending school in Spain. It was a rewarding experience, but it had its challenges. There were a lot of things I needed to consider when it came to choosing courses that could count towards my degree in Spain. While it was uphill at the beginning, it offered me a good opportunity to learn how to organize myself and be responsible for my decisions,” shared Jeff Bryan Tanguilig, Marketing Coordinator for Ria UK.
2. Learning a new language
While this one will depend on where you choose to study, learning a new language can be a great incentive for taking the leap to go abroad! You can either learn a new language from scratch or work on your fluency among locals.
“While I was comfortable with my level of English before doing a semester abroad in the US, it was amazing what it did to my overall knowledge of the language. I went from merely speaking English in language classes in my home country to interacting with it daily. It was incredibly challenging, but the value it added to my English skills cannot be overstated. I’m now much more confident when it matters most, such as job interviews both in Brazil and abroad. English is a critical requirement for any position across the globe,” said Arthur Guzzo, SEO Strategist at Ria Money Transfer.
For more tips, you can check out our blog post on how to learn a new language.
3. Unlock career opportunities
Studying abroad is often the perfect gateway to secure a job abroad, one of the many reasons why studying abroad is so important. While in school, you can network and land internships. Everything you do will count towards making a name for yourself in your new community. Many companies will appreciate your more global outlook as well as your growing knowledge of the local market.
“Thanks to living and studying abroad, I was able to develop a multicultural perspective. I’m now enjoying being part of an international company. It’s been rewarding not only to overcome the challenge of living outside of my home country but also to work successfully in another context and workplace culture,” shared Giulia Pagliero, Retail Marketing Coordinator at Ria.
4. Making friends
When you spend your whole childhood, and even early adulthood, in one place, you’ll find that you’ve probably maxed out on the amount of people you can meet. Wanting to shake up your social circle can be one of many reasons to study abroad. In fact, universities tend to attract people from all over the world, often offering scholarships for international students. So, regardless of the country you choose, you’ll probably end up making many international friends.
Beyond the gratifying social aspect of making new friends, venturing outside of your immediate circle can help you broaden your understanding of the world. Your international friends can teach you about their culture and why they see things in a different way sometimes. You’ll also have an opportunity to reexamine where you come from and teach others about your own background.
“International friendships are enriching to the point where you start gravitating towards multinational work environments. I feel more at home in our offices, where I get to work with people from over 50 nationalities, than anywhere else. Once you’ve lived abroad, you start valuing and longing for in-between places, where you get to experience more than one culture at a time,” shared Gabrielle van Welie, Global Content Manager at Ria.
5. Learning about new cultures
As we mentioned above, you’ll learn about all sorts of cultures while studying abroad, but nothing will beat the level of total immersion you’ll have in your host country. Usually, universities plan activities for international students so that they can get to know the locals and their communities. While living abroad, you’ll have access to locals who can show you the real customs and places to visit that stem beyond what you get from a travel brochure.
This insider knowledge can be extremely valuable for people looking to work for foreign companies or in international positions. For example, if you’re from Colombia but want to learn more about Brazil so you can work with Brazilian clients, a stay in Sao Paulo can help you work on your Portuguese and get to know Brazilians better.
“Everything taught in an MBA program is useful for your professional development, but nothing compares to how much you can learn from doing your MBA abroad. While in China, I was able to get to know a culture that is completely different from my own. For example, sometimes ‘yes’ can mean ‘no,’ weekends are not necessarily for taking a break, and networking is even more crucial than it is in the west. You also must be extremely careful about not embarrassing a business partner. In this way, the MBA provided me with a space to learn about navigating a different culture before joining the workforce, where slips ups matter much more,” shared Fernanda Mendes, Marketing Manager for Ria Spain.
6. Amp up your CV
While studying abroad doesn’t inherently mean you’ll gain work experience, the mere fact that you’ve lived in different countries can add a lot to your resume. Adding a study abroad experience to your resume will communicate to any future employer that you can work outside your comfort zone, have probably picked up a new language, and can collaborate with people from different walks of life.
In this global world, these skills are all in high demand!
“I consider my time studying abroad in Italy to be a very enriching learning experience. It helped me develop valuable life skills that go beyond learning a new language. As soon as I stepped out of class, I was able to apply everything I had learned to the real world. The time I spent living abroad made me a more independent and confident person. The skills I acquired gave me a competitive edge after graduation and helped start my career working for multi-national companies,” shared María Adriana Colella, Comms Project Coordinator at Ria.
At Ria, we’re always looking for diverse talent, and we’ve got offices all over the world! Check out our jobs portal to see if there are any open positions matching your profile.