Study abroad has been a dream for many students. Being able to study while experiencing a new culture and meet people from all over the globe is an exciting prospect, not to mention all the benefits we could gain from studying abroad.
It was a big and bold decision for many of us. There are plenty of things to be consider and prepare before we are finally able to pack our suitcases and start a new adventure abroad.
Because of that, many of us decided to put the dream aside and chose a more realistic path of studying in our country.
But if continuing your study abroad has been a lifelong dream for you, don’t give up on it just yet. You might think that it will be too late for you since you are an adult now, even a parent, and has many responsibilities.
Even though perhaps in one way or another, studying abroad will be easier for us when we were younger, it doesn’t mean it is impossible. After all, it is always better late than never anyway.
In this post, we will talk about the advantages of continuing your study abroad, even if you are a mature student, already an adult, and perhaps also a mom or dad. It will not be going to be easy, but the advantages you could gain from the experience are priceless and will be worth all the sacrifices.
Since there are plenty of advantages you could have, I’ve decided to divide this post into two parts, therefore, I will have a chance to share with you my opinion on this topic in more specific ways without exhausting you with plenty of words and long texts.
So, let’s get started. Below are the advantages of continuing your study abroad, even if you are a mature student:
1. Expand Your Horizon
Before you arrived in another country and ready for your new adventure, your experience abroad perhaps limited to traveling occasionally, for a short period of time, for holidays or business travels. Soon, you will realize this experience is completely different than anything you have experienced before.
Some things might be the same as the way they were back home, but most of them will be totally different. Instead of just dive in headfirst like you would if you came to another country to study when you were younger, you might have a bit of reservation, and have a more careful approach towards all the new things you encountered in this new place.
Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to try on new things, embrace all the unfamiliar and the unusual way this new country with all its culture and people has to offer. More importantly, stop comparing how different things are from the way they were back home.
You are there to learn, and the learning process will not only be going to happen in the classroom. Once you try to accept and absorb as much as you can, you will find the adaptation process a lot easier, your horizon broadened and you will be ready to fully embark on your new adventure.
2. Learning New Language
It goes without saying, when you study abroad, your language skill will be improved. If you study abroad, most likely the program will be conducted in English.
Even though you speak English fluently before, despite English is not your native language, you will have to use English every day in a formal setting during attending your classes. Something that you might not need to do back home.
If you want to study abroad in a non-English speaking country, you will need to have that specific country’s language competency of a certain level, depending on the country or university.
Usually, they will ask for proof of said language competency certificate equal to B2 or C1 Level (Intermediate-Advanced level)
Alternatively, you can attend an international program taught in English in a non-English speaking country. This was what I did. I went to Italy for my Graduate school. It was an international program taught in English.
You will have no problem with the lessons in classes. But outside the classroom, you need to speak at least a basic level of the country’s language to survive.
Like it or not, when you study abroad in a non-English speaking country, you need to attend classes to learn the language.
Whether you choose to study in an English-speaking country, in an international program taught in English in a non-English speaking country, or a program taught in the country’s native language, study abroad will give you an enormous advantage of language competency, especially as a mature student.
Most likely, you already have a career before you decided to go back to college to pursue higher education. If you decide to return to your home country after completing your education, mastering a new language will make you stand out among your peers. And if you decide to stay in the new country, mastering their language will give you more chance of employment.
3. Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence
When you study abroad, you will find yourself in a completely new environment, among new people with a language, custom, and culture which might be completely different than yours. You will be forced to adapt.
Being outside your comfort zone, you will tend to acquire flexibility and maturity which will benefit you, especially in a professional environment.
Over time, your empathy will naturally be enhanced. Before say or do something, you will process everything first in your head “is it acceptable here? should I do this? can I do that?” And so on.
By doing this on a regular basis for a certain period of time, you will enhance the ability to understand both your feelings, value, and norms as well as the feelings, value, and norms of others, an ability which will be beneficial in the workplace and for your future career.
4. Develop Your Confidence and Self Awareness
Studying in a foreign country will develop your self-confidence when it comes to deciding things. You will start trusting your own capabilities because most likely you will be on your own. While being abroad, you will also learn to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.
You will be forced out of your comfort zone and you have no choice but to overcome it. Being in a completely different environment will raise your awareness about your surroundings and in time you learn how to act accordingly.
The more time you spend abroad, the more you will have a better understanding of yourself, you will know what kind of things you will accept and tolerate, and which ones didn’t work for you, both in your professional and personal development.
5. Global Network and Competence
Whether or not you choose an international program, you will meet different kinds of people from many different countries, cultures, and backgrounds.
Each will bring their own authenticity and uniqueness which going to enrich your study abroad experience.
Embraces this opportunity, try to mingle and networking with them as often as you could, with your classmates, with their friends outside the classroom, your professors, the alumni of your university et cetera. Be genuine and kind.
When you have the opportunity to work with them, in a group project or internship, for example, do the best you can. Learn as much as you can from them. It will develop your competencies.
Besides, an opportunity to work in a global environment with an international team is not something that comes every day to everyone.
So, make the most of it. Most importantly, impress them. Make them remember your willingness to go the extra mile to give maximum results, show them your hunger to learn, make them see how trustworthy and reliable you are.
Chances are, you are walking away from this study abroad experience with friends and connections from all around the globe.
Use this printable workbook to record your Back to School Research. Don’t make all that Campus Visits, Virtual Tours, Webinars, and Q&A with the school’s admission personnel go to waste !! Write down the information you have collected in this workbook.
Study them later carefully to help you weigh in the pros and cons of each university and decide the best place for you to continue your study.
Over To You
When I decided to continue my education, I had no doubts that I wanted to do it abroad. To be able to study abroad had been a lifelong dream for me. I was already 32 at the moment, my daughter was 4 years old.
My hands were full and adding another responsibility as a student sounded crazy and wanting to do it abroad as an international student was almost impossible.
But I didn’t give up though, I kept doing my research on how to make it possible, and less than a year after I started to work on making my dream of studying abroad came true, I landed in Milan, Italy, ready to start my new adventure as a Master/graduate student.
A few weeks later, my husband and daughter joined me, and we have lived here in Milan for more than 5 years now.
I will share my journeys to moving abroad and going back to school as a mature student and a mom by giving tips and advice which I hope will be beneficial for you.
So, if you are interested in doing the same thing, stay tuned and keep checking on my blog, and feel free to contact me, I will be happy to chat with you!
If you need information on study abroad and scholarships, you can check them here.
As for now, we have reached the end of part one, let’s move on to part 2. Click on this link to know more about other benefits of studying abroad you could have as a mature student.
What do you think so far? Has any of the points mentioned above pique your interest? Do you have any feedback? Leave a comment down below! Share this on social media and pin this for later!