Why you should spend a semester studying abroad

Travelling or living abroad is the most exciting, enriching and all-round life-changing thing you will ever do. Fact. The reasons for travelling abroad are endless; there are literally hundred.!

Travelling or living abroad is the most exciting, enriching and all-round life-changing thing you will ever do. Fact. The reasons for travelling abroad are endless; there are literally hundred.! So if you’re one of many wondering if time away is really for you, whether you’re a student, graduate, or just someone who fancies a change of scene, here are a few good reasons to motivate you.

The exciting feeling of starting something new

All students will be familiar with ‘post-fresher’s blues’, going into second year and repeating the same old routine and wishing you were still a first-year without a care in the world. A semester abroad gives you that same buzz you had before starting university. But instead of a road-trip in a car packed to the brim with all your stuff, you’re on a plane flying across the world to an amazing destination of your choice!

New experiences

A new country brings with it endless possibilities, whether it’s trying new food, seeing the sights or playing a new sport. Whatever you’re interested in, there will be something new to get involved with. Of course, you will inevitably find yourself in situations that are daunting and alien to you, but this needn’t put you off. Through handling difficult situations and making independent decisions, it will require skills you didn’t even know you had, which brings me to my next point…


Living abroad requires independence and resourcefulness to negotiate difficult circumstances; you will also become more street-wise. Travelling alone means that you have no-one to rely on – a year abroad means taking responsibility for all of your own decisions and therefore really coming into your own as an adult. It sounds scary, but it’s crazy how much this can boost your self-confidence! If you’re particularly shy or nervous, and you have the opportunity to study abroad with your uni, then definitely take it.

Seeing the world

As well as life skills, you will undoubtedly gain cultural knowledge. No matter where you are in the world, there is always something to see and do, and with that comes a back-story of the country’s history. Not only does this enrich your own knowledge, it gives you interesting stories to share when you get home.

Experiencing a new culture

When travelling abroad, most cultures you encounter will be profoundly different to your own. When I was travelling through Eastern Europe, as a Brit who is used to over-politeness and obsessive queuing, it was quite a shock to find myself in a culture where zebra-crossings mean nothing, and friendly small talk is an unknown concept! The attitudes and customs that you know from home will be turned on their head; it will be strange at first, but you will probably become accustomed to a new way of living surprisingly quickly.

Life possibilities

Whether you’re working, volunteering, studying or teaching, anything worthwhile you do abroad looks amazing on your CV. Without you even having to list them, future employers will know the amazing skills you’ve acquired from your time abroad; they’ll understand that you’re an independent, confident candidate who is able to deal with new situations.

Meet amazing people

I speak from experience when I say that possibly the best thing about travelling is the people you meet. You’re sure to make loads of new friends and even potential career connections. While most people fear travelling alone, chances are you won’t be for long and you’ll probably end up with little time to yourself!

Learn a new language

It’s surprising how quickly a new language can be picked up, if you’re constantly hearing people speak and (attempting) to speak it yourself, you’ll find yourself at a basic conversational level in no time. Plus, if you’re studying abroad, there are plenty of courses that include lessons in the native tongue to help you on your way to becoming a master of a second language (again, great on the CV).

Bring your subject to life

If you’re going abroad to study, you can choose a world-renowned university and take a fresh approach to your chosen subject. It may be taught from a completely different angle in other countries, and you can therefore use new learning techniques that will help you in later life.


The main reason for spending time abroad is simply to have an incredible time, and believe me, you will. I’ve never heard anyone say they regret going travelling, EVER. It’s an amazing experience, and while it may even feel like a holiday, you’ll be gaining useful skills, making new friends and basically enriching your life. 

So, take the plunge and embark on the experience of a lifetime which you will be raving about for years to come.