BY ANTON LUCANUS
Studying abroad is steadily gaining traction as a popular experience for students, but it is still not nearly as highly popular as it should be. While it can be more expensive than a student may like, the benefits speak for themselves and give students that have studied abroad new experiences and lessons that students that stay rooted in their home areas just don’t have access to. Students that study abroad come back with a new sense of direction, a newfound thirst for life, and a stronger, more confident perception of who they are and the world around them. A new awareness of the world in all its colours is invaluable for students, particularly because those students are then able to take that newfound knowledge and incorporate it into their mindset and their very being. This makes them prime candidates for jobs as they move into the real world after they graduate (or even before, for those students that take the initiative to do internships as they study).
Additionally, students that opt to study abroad in recent years have taken on remote internships, meaning that they can work from their laptops when they have time or even as they have layovers in airports on their way to new destinations. The world is now global, and more and more companies are embracing remote employees. Here’s the thing…if you study abroad now and work from your laptop as a passion project or to build up your CV and experience, later down the line you could do that for your career. You could literally live the dream and travel and work simultaneously, with nothing holding you anchored in one location. The reasons to start now are simple; even for entry-level jobs, most employers require experience (even if it is a blog or a vlog, for example). Start now – race ahead.
While there are thousands of students that have taken the big leap and studied abroad, the experience is still not as highly sought after and pursued as one might think. The appeal is highly popular, but the will to make the experience happen holds students back – specifically, the financial costs of studying abroad. It shouldn’t. You might think that the experience will cost you an arm and a leg, and if you do it without any forethought or searching around, it probably will. But there are so many ways for you to study abroad on a budget, and they are more easily accessible than you might think. The first thing that you usually book when you go overseas to study is your passport. That is easy. But then come the flights – that is more difficult. It is easy to go for the most direct route to your destination (and definitely less of a hassle). But if you don’t mind working from your laptop as you wait in airports for your next flight in six hours, then you can get the flights hundreds, even thousands, of dollars cheaper. It isn’t always about the destination – sometimes it is about the journey.
The second way to save big on studying abroad is by applying for International Student Status. Not many students have heard of this, but it is a diamond in the ruff when it comes to saving on studying abroad. Issued in over 130 countries, ISS gives students discounts on any product, service, or experience that is relevant to student life, as well as doubling as proof of student status (two birds with one stone!). It can be a long process, but when you are taking your online English classes from your room in downtown Brooklyn, a little outback town in Australia, the snowy mountains in Canada’s Banff, or a balcony overlooking the Tuscan countryside, it is entirely and wholeheartedly worth it.
The third (and perhaps most obvious) way to save big when considering studying abroad is to travel off the beaten path. Yes, the tourist hot spots are brilliant and yes, you should visit them at some point in your life. But instead of breaking the bank and spending your weekends travelling to all the most expensive tourist destinations around you, pepper in some hidden gems and unexpected adventures with some of your bucket list sights and experiences – you do not have to see the whole (expensive) world when you study abroad. Start with the big ticks, and the rest can come later when you revisit – after all, the travel bug never sleeps.
To put it simply; prospective employers go through countless applications when they are searching for the perfect new addition to their team. If every single applicant is from the area, and has only studied in the area, then chances are that they have worked similar jobs, had have similar hobbies and drives, and have all had similar life experiences. When every potential candidate has the same CV, it is nearly impossible to stand out among the masses. If you study abroad, you gain life experience and you learn lessons that you can speak with your interviewers about and pour into your career, making you better at your job and a more interesting, desirable candidate. Studying abroad exposes you to a world outside your little world, and it is undeniably one of the best, most worthwhile experiences that you can do for yourself now, and for your future self.
There are so many reasons to study abroad, to pack your suitcase and update the laptop and buy a plane ticket. Not only will you get to travel and study at the same time (if that isn’t living the dream, I don’t know what is), but you can gain life experience that truly makes you unique in employer’s eyes, and in your own identity. You will come back more confident, more strong, more well-rounded – and you will have the best stories to tell in any room. The world is big, the world is wide, why wait until you graduate to start exploring it? You have the whole wide world in your hands…take it and run with it. Run until you have no idea where you are. Run until you see the world through a new set of eyes. Run, and when you do, create experiences and stories that will set you apart – that is how you become the front runner for future jobs.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and