Why students should consider becoming international students, and where to start.
Maybe you've been seduced by cities lights of Paris, maybe you’ve flirted with the idea of researching new animals in the faraway jungles of the Congo. Maybe you are just so done with your parents, and you want a little room to breathe. Whatever the motivation, studying internationally for college is great opportunity to not only experience learning in a new way, but also enhance your cultural knowledge, meet a diverse range of people, gain independence and self-reliance, and try new foods. But mostly try new foods, because c'mon. Food.
Write Your Own Story
On a more serious note, in the competitive society that rules our world today (and if you are applying, or even looking into college, you've experienced it first hand), anything that sets you apart from the next person is something you can use to your advantage. The American school system is very streamlined so it can be hard to break out of the groove that has been set in place for almost a century. However, an often overlooked method of developing your personal resume is to become an international student. An international student is a student that attends a college abroad for the duration of their studies. But let's be real. As easy as it is to read the definition of an international student, it is a whole other ballgame being one. College is a time of new knowledge, friendships, and to experience such an influential time in your life in a new country...well, that's anything but easy. But don't you dare be intimidated! International students are prized and coveted students of universities all over the world, often times increasing the diversity on campus that the staff, students, and institutions benefit from.
It’s All About Ambition
So what does it take to be a part of the population that earned their degrees abroad? Many sources claim that students need to know a second language to study internationally, but with the UK being the second most popular country for international students (with the United States leading), a language barrier is the least of worries. What's more, many colleges abroad (such as Universities in Germany, the Nordic countries, India, and Taiwan) do not charge a tuition. The only costs are a processing fee for the application, and the price of housing, food, and other necessities. So if the language barrier isn't a problem and money is not a prominent issue, what kind of student benefits from an international experience? In short, the type of student that truly benefits from studying international is a student who seizes the day and every opportunity that comes along as well. Becoming an international student is an ambitious feat, so naturally, the student also must be, well, ambitious! To be ambitious in the context of being an international student means consciously seeking opportunities to embrace foreign culture, striving to succeed in a new learning environment, empowering yourself to make smart, important (and sometimes life changing) decisions without the counsel of your parents, and graciously opening yourself up to new people, places, and ideas.
Just Get Off The Couch
At this point, you should be asking yourself, “Am I ambitious? Do I have what it takes to be an international student?” And the honest truth is, the answer to either of the questions above does not have to be “yes”... at least, not yet. Ambition can be an innate trait in people, but often times, ambition is learned. Ambitious people are not always the people who get straight “A”s, or the star athletes of your school. To be ambitious is to set a goal out of your comfort zone, and through trials and tribulations, eventually reach your goal and succeed in an environment you never thought you could. So, since there is no time like the present, start now; be a little more ambitious every day. Raise your hand in class, slay that speech in English class, make friends with the new kid at school, but whatever it is, just keep doing. Every time you pushed yourself to be a more ambitious person will add up, and soon you will be on your way to being an international student, and more importantly, a kick-butt adventure-taking, goal-achieving, all-around-interesting human being. Who could ask for more than that?
In the meantime, evaluate yourself. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Will studying internationally help you achieve your goals or help you be a better person? And, if the answer is yes, get going! Be ambitious, adventurous, every single thing in between! Use those city lights in Paris as motivation, or those new animals species in the Congo you will someday discover. Heck, if it comes to it, use your parents’ nagging as motivation to get up, and get going. A world of opportunity (and new food) is waiting for you. But mostly food, because c’mon. Food.
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