Why study abroad? Let us count the ways

Studying abroad isn’t something to be taken lightly. For many students, it’s their first time leaving the United States. For some, it’s their first time on an airplane. Yet, despite the fear of the unknown, almost every student who returns can’t help but rave about their travels and experiences.

As intimidating moving overseas for four months can seem, studying abroad has a surplus of benefits for both your personal and professional life. 

Here are eight reasons why you should consider studying abroad.

#1 You recognize how wonderfully big the world is

At a small school specifically, it can be easy to convince yourself that this small bubble is the reality of the entire world. However, by studying abroad, you come face-to-face with a different culture, language and scenery.

Not only do you get the opportunity to meet and engage with locals, but you also meet other students from around the world. It’s like looking at the stars on a clear summer night or staring into the vastness of the ocean; you feel small in the best way possible by remembering there is so much more than yourself.

Photo by Nathan Reichlin, fellow Rome Study Abroad Student 

#2 You get to engage your second-language skills

Whether you speak another language fluently or would be starting from scratch once you disembark the plane, it is extremely rewarding to communicate with others in their native language. While many other countries do speak English, don’t rely on it!

The best phrase to learn while studying abroad is, “How do you say ____ in (insert language)?” It allows you to connect with locals by showing that you’re attempting to learn about their culture, all while practicing your vocabulary.

#3 You eat really well

I’m partial to this one, as I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, but I strongly believe this to be true. One of the best ways to learn about another country is to eat their food. Grocery shop in their farmer’s markets, eat (almost) every meal that is put in front of you, and don’t skip dessert. Gathering around a table with others creates an amazing atmosphere for sharing stories and experiences that will enrich your cultural appreciation.

Take care of your body, but don’t lose the opportunity to feed your soul while dining abroad. And if you’re in Rome, make sure to order a supplì!

Photo by fellow study abroad student Nathan Reichlin

Photo by Nathan Reichlin, fellow Rome Study Abroad Student 

#4 You learn to be OK looking silly

You’re going to inevitably feel silly at least once (but probably many more times) while studying abroad. Walking down some streets you’ll look extremely touristy, you’ll mispronounce words, get lost – a lot – and feel extremely out of place for most of the beginning of your experience.


Anna (author) in Rome and Jessica on Oxford Study Abroad Trip

Learning to embrace looking silly is a great skill, though, and studying abroad is a great time to cultivate this. So many times in our lives, no matter where we are living, we do things that embarrass ourselves. Studying abroad is a great time to practice being able to laugh at yourself and keep moving forward despite our tendency to be self-conscious.

 #5 You see the world with a new perspective

You learn quickly that “common sense” is extremely subjective. I once spent 30 minutes in a grocery store trying to find eggs because everywhere that my past experiences told me they would be was not where they were.

Things that you once considered universal will be so no longer. The unspoken social laws or normalities of a culture will be completely different than what you grew up with, and it’ll push you to understand those from other cultures more. Remember: Being uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing – it’s a time to grow!

#6 Trains! 

Especially in Europe, the rail system allows for cheap, convenient transportation to many countries all around the continent. Studying in France? Visit Germany for the weekend!

The ability to travel is extremely accessible compared to living in large states like Oregon. Not only can you see so much of the country you’re studying in, but you can also visit others to widen your experience even further.


Capri, Italy by Nathan Reichlin

#7 You boost your resume 

Studying abroad doesn’t just give you fun memories, it also gives you a lot to add to your resume! You now have experience in effective cross-cultural communication, language skills, and flexibility.

Also, in a study done by IES Abroad, 90 percent of study abroad alumni found their first job within six months of graduating. Studying abroad gives you both soft and hard skills to improve your resume. 

#8 You gain a greater appreciation for home

Studying abroad makes you realize that there is so much more to see and experience, all while reminding you of how grateful you are to have a home here to come back to.

You will most likely find yourself missing things that you never considered before moving. Banana splits? I found myself craving these three months into living in Rome. The chaos of Costco? Weirdly missed that also. Home is home no matter how messy it may be, and sometimes you need to travel far to learn that you want to come back.


Home! (aka George Fox University)

These are just a few of the reasons to consider studying abroad. There are countless others. We here at George Fox encourage you to explore and find your own reasons! 

For more information or questions regarding the different programs, you can visit the study abroad page here.

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