Deciding to forgo the comfort of home to pack up and take off for a foreign place is a scary decision. But studying abroad is an experience like no other and completely worth the leap of faith. If the thought of exploring a completely new part of the world isn’t enough to get you pumped about jet setting overseas, here are 8 reasons why studying abroad is the best:
1. Meet New People
Being in a new place exposes you to all types of people. During my semester abroad in Dublin, I was constantly surrounded by new and different people in classes and around the city, ranging from Irish locals to other international students. My grandparents were born in Ireland, so I even got to meet my Irish relatives! And of course, I left Dublin with 50 new ND friends from our program, some of whom are now among my closest friends.
ND Dublin Spring 2018
2. Immersion In A New Culture
Living in a new place is radically different than just dropping in on vacation. You truly get to know what it’s like to be a local - whether it be traversing the café scene, sharpening your language skills, exploring museums and galleries, or spending time with friends at the locally-loved pub, your new city becomes your home!
3. Personal Growth
Anyone that knows me knows that I struggle with change. Going into this experience, I knew a change as drastic as going from Notre Dame, where I was so comfortable, to a foreign country would be extremely challenging for me. My time in Dublin was the perfect chance for me to really push myself out of my comfort zone in this regard, and I found that I became more independent, self-reliant, and confident as a result.
5. Gain Practical Life Skills
Learning to communicate through language barriers, figure out public transportation systems, navigate city street and problem solve when things go wrong were just a few of the life skills I picked up while abroad. These make great stories for interviews, too!
Everywhere you turn is a new sight! From stunning landscapes to historical monuments, it’s hard to not be in awe of all the beauty the world has to offer.
6. Experiential Learning
The views themselves are incredible, but these excursions transcend simply being a tourist – often times they enhance and deepen your learning. It’s one thing to read about the Troubles, but to hear a firsthand story while standing in front of the peace wall in Belfast brings the meaning of experiential learning to another level.
7. The Food
A baguette in France? Fish & chips in England? Dumplings in China? Pastries in Denmark? Tacos in Mexico? Pasta in Italy? A Belgian waffle in Belgium? Need I say more? I think not.
8. An Opportunity of a Lifetime!
As cliché as it sounds, studying abroad truly is a once in a lifetime experience. Never again will you have the opportunity to spend several months living in a foreign city and exploring a new country with your only job being to learn – take hold of it!
Check out this list of all the abroad experiences Notre Dame has to offer. Adventure awaits, and don’t worry – Notre Dame will be here waiting when you get back!