How Study Abroad Changes Your Perspective

Studying abroad can be a transformative experience that profoundly impacts your perspective on life, culture, and the rest of the world. The experience of living in and adjusting to a new place and culture is unlike any other! It can teach you lessons that prepare you for life after the exchange.

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Being in a new environment will force you out of your comfort zone. You’ll learn to navigate new and unfamiliar situations, embrace discomfort, and get to know yourself on a deeper level as you become more aware of your personal prejudices and biases.

Embracing the Unknown

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Leaving your comfort zone and entering an unfamiliar environment exposes you to different perspectives, lifestyles, and worldviews. You will interact with people from various backgrounds who constantly challenge your assumptions about the world. Being in unfamiliar situations will help you approach differences with curiosity and accept that it is okay to not always understand things.

Your ability to embrace unfamiliarity will help you adapt quickly to new things and persevere in challenging times. Adjusting to a new culture will teach you not to judge things just because they’re different from what you know. You will develop a sense of flexibility and resilience, which will help you navigate new jobs or lifestyle changes in the future with more ease. Change will seem less scary!

Developing Cultural Understanding and Empathy

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Living within a local community allows you to immerse yourself in their customs, traditions, and everyday life. Experiencing a new culture firsthand will help you develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for different ways of life and diverse perspectives.

As your cultural understanding grows and you interact with people from diverse backgrounds, you will develop empathy, tolerance, and respect for other cultures. By connecting with people of diverse cultures and listening to their stories, you will learn that people worldwide share more in common than you may have thought. You’ll grow more awareness of shared values across cultures while cultivating sensitivity to cultural differences.

Empathy also enables you to better connect with people who are different from you. It will make you more understanding of others and help you communicate more compassionately with people from all walks of life.

Cultivating Self-awareness

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Studying abroad will heighten your self-awareness as you adjust to your new environment. You might notice aspects of this new culture that you want to integrate into your own lifestyle. On the other hand, living in an unfamiliar culture can also lead you to analyze what you like or don’t like about your home culture and way of life.

Being in an unfamiliar country and culture can make you feel vulnerable. This vulnerability will lead you to examine your identity and think more about your values and who you want to be. Your new self-awareness will allow you to adopt new perspectives and question your beliefs. Through self-reflection, you will learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and priorities.

Know yourself napkin

Knowing your values and what you hold important will help you feel confident stepping out of your comfort zone to seek out opportunities for learning and discovery. The open-mindedness that comes with being more self-aware will help you embrace new challenges. You’ll also become more aware of how your beliefs reflect your culture.

Becoming a Global Citizen

Heart globe in the sun

Studying abroad increases your awareness of your role in a larger global community. As you engage with the local community and become aware of the issues happening in your host country, you will feel a greater sense of interconnectedness with other people and cultures.

This newfound sense of responsibility can motivate you to take an active role in addressing global issues. After studying abroad, you may feel an urge to participate in volunteer projects or advocacy efforts to positively impact the world you have just explored!

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Studying abroad allows you to develop crucial life skills extending far beyond the classroom. Once you return from studying abroad, you might see your own culture and home in a different light. You may feel like a changed person who is more mature and independent, having had the experience of adapting to an entirely different country. Although everyone’s experience is different, the lessons you learn while studying abroad will likely stick with you for the rest of your life!

Are You Ready for Some Fun?

Study abroad and allow yourself to immerse yourself in a new culture and make memories that will last a lifetime!

To learn more about studying abroad with ICES, or to start a Study Abroad Request Form, simply click the button below.

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Tags: Cultural Exchange, Exchange Student, Outbound, Study Abroad, Youth Exchange, cultural understanding

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