Did you know that studying abroad makes you a better leader? Getting to know different culture, learning foreign language, expanding your world view, making new friends – there is certainly more than one thing to gain when you choose to study abroad.
If you are thinking about choosing a university outside your home country, but are not sure if studies abroad are for you, below are some benefits of studying abroad. Be assured – studying overseas is a great addition both to your personal development and to your career.
1 BECOMING MORE INDEPENDENT
The experience of university is already a huge step in gaining independence. But studying abroad takes this even further, challenging students to really develop as individuals.
“Personal experience is much more important than studies. The six months here in Kaunas made me understand that I love studying abroad. Now I know that I can just move to another country and study there, that I can live anywhere. This is a huge asset to my personal development”, says Felix Ebberg from Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, who studied informatics at KTU for a semester.
Living abroad makes you challenge your preconceptions and get out from your comfort zone – in order to make new friends, and to find how things work in different culture, you need to make additional effort. By learning to rely on your own you find out your strengths and weaknesses, and you grow as a personality.
2 GETTING CULTURALLY WISE
Usually it is being said that living abroad makes you more aware of different cultures, it helps you learn to adapt more easily to culturally challenging situations. However, vice-versa is also true – by experiencing other cultures you become more tolerant to people from other cultures in your environment.
“There are no cultural differences. Of course, we are born different and we are from different places, but this is not an obstacle for communication. I like to communicate with various people, my friends are from different places in the world and I value this experience as I can learn a lot from everyone”, says Basant Kumar Bajpai, KTU graduate from India.
In today’s global business environment, it is difficult to find an office where at least part of the job is not related to international experience. More often than not one has to work in international teams, discuss projects in international context, and this is when the knowledge of cultural variety becomes very useful.
3 LEARNING NEW LANGUAGE
For many international students, studying abroad is a chance to develop language skills through studying in a second language or by practicing the language spoken locally.
Research shows that people who speak more than one language have more active brain, better memory and stay cognitively active into their later years. Therefore, the more languages you speak, the better.
Besides, speaking local language opens up doors into local circles.
“While talking to local people, I try to use basic Lithuanian phrases to be more approachable, to show that I am open to communicate. I believe, that even if you are not intending to stay somewhere, you need to make an attempt to integrate into the society”, says Fallon Manhanga from Zimbabwe, studying Civil Engineering at KTU.
4 IMPROVING YOUR LEADERSHIP SKILLS
“Studying and living abroad is a must,” says Alain Benichou, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in France and vice president of Strategy & Solutions at IBM in Paris. “Not just to acquire language skill, but in order to become truly bi-cultural. In a global economy even if the business is done with less boundaries the culture remains local”, as quoted in Shellie Karabell’s article in Forbes.
Experts say that by studying abroad you become aware that there is more to the world that just your city or your country. By training to think globally one becomes aware of challenges and problems that are common to all humanity, to look at bigger picture, which is an essential quality for leaders.
International study and work experience teaches you self-confidence, you learn to adapt in ambiguous situations without clear outcomes or when not all variables are defined (for example, when all communication is in different language and you have to cope not understanding everything). While living in different linguistic environment you learn to listen carefully and to pay attention to detail, which eventually pays off communicating in your own language. And, of course, exposure to different cultures makes you more tolerant to the variety of people and of their ways of thinking.
5 YOU CAN GET FUNDING
International experience is strongly encouraged both on state and on institutional level. If you are from EU or EEA country, you might be eligible for state-funded studies at KTU. Read more here.
Also, you might want to look at these funding opportunities – you might be eligible to a tuition fee discount, or to a scholarship. The deadline for applying for Scholarship for International Students ends on Tuesday, 31 July 2018.