Five reasons why all students should consider studying abroad

Taking a chance and jumping out of a plane is not for everyone. But when you’ve taken a chance and landed in in another country, other out-of-the-box behaviors may follow — this was the case for Chloe Momphard, who checked skydiving off her list while on a study abroad trip in Australia. On Thursday Sept. 5, the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources hosted its annual study abroad fair. Students were able to discuss possible opportunities with representatives from universities abroad.

“Why should one study abroad?”

In addition to opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Shanon Dickerson, program director of CAFNR Study Abroad, and study abroad oficionado, Momphard, outline five reasons why every student should study abroad. 

#1: Experience new cultures

The first reason to study abroad is to experience new cultures. While almost all travel places you in a new culture, study abroad programs often allow students to immerse themselves more fully by the nature of the living arrangements. Some programs place students with families, and others provide housing on university campuses. Both options push students more completely into the actual lives of regular people.

#2: Take advantage of opportunities

“Right now is the time to do it,” Momphard said. Students can earn college credit; the travel price is discounted; and, generally, there are no ties such as a spouse, children, or a full-time job. With an adviser such as Dickerson, who organizes the trip, the process of studying abroad is almost stress free.

#3: Find adventure

Although college is an adventure in and of itself, studying abroad brings an entirely new meaning to the word. “When in a foreign place, an individual is so far out of your [their] comfort zone they are forced to do crazy things,” Momphard said. In her travels, Momphard has conquered her own adventure: skydiving. She would have never thought about this activity at home, but while in Australia, she dared to do the unthinkable. 

#4: Develop self-confidence and independence

Imagine this: You speak English, are in Italy, and at the bus station. You need to catch a bus, but the entire map is written in Italian. In this circumstance, Dickerson notes an important fact: you will have to figure out this problem on your own and trust your decision. Dickerson said this is the type of experience that builds independence. “If you know how to do it alone and in a foreign county, you know you can do it a familiar setting,” Dickerson said.

#5: Broaden career opportunities

Last, but not least, studying abroad will expand career opportunities. In a world where employers are seeking to hire just that right person, Dickerson said having a study abroad experience on a resume, can be the deciding factor. “Sometimes students of the same major take the same classes or are involved in the same clubs,” she said. “The only thing that could set them apart is the experience they had abroad.”