We all know how eye-opening and amazing traveling can be, but it doesn’t quite give you all the benefits that studying abroad does. If you study abroad, you’re spending an extended time in one place with what will soon become a close-knit group of peers coming from all different backgrounds.

While studying abroad you’re forced to create a routine for yourself in a foreign place and soon enough, you start living and breathing just like the locals, and these are only a few benefits of studying abroad. Benefits while studying abroad can be divided into different types of experiences, which we tried to present in this article.

Cultural Experiences

Studying abroad truly broadens your perspective about the world. No matter how many YouTube videos your watch or Instagram posts you see about a foreign country, nothing beats actually experiencing it for yourself. I can safely say that it is THE most educational experience you can have as a student, by far. As a study abroad participant, you spend every day immersed in the community. You take the local bus to class on a daily basis, do the groceries at the local supermarket and grab a quick bite from your favourite takeaway joint. Throughout everything, you’re essentially absorbing a new way of life and the more you allow yourself to learn about a particular culture, the more you’ll grow as a person.

Chinse Calligraphy - cultural experience

When it comes to communicating with different cultures, studying abroad helps you realise that it’s not only verbal language that differs but also non-verbal patterns, behaviors and approaches to life. When you’re on a summer program or exchange, you’re not only experiencing this with the locals but also the students in your study abroad program, who are likely from different backgrounds themselves.

[8 things you would never hear Shanghai Summer School participant say. ]

Academic and Business Experiences

Study abroad programs are unique to your standard university experience as they generally incorporate out-of-class activities such as company visits, excursions, cooking classes, museum visits and so on. This all adds a real-world context to the learning experience that you can’t get anywhere else. The benefits of studying abroad truly cannot be measured by a grade on your final exams or diploma. Having this real-world experience, especially in a foreign country, is so important when job-hunting as it separates you from the competition. International experience and cultural awareness plays a huge role in today’s globalized workforce and there is no better way to obtain this than by getting out of your comfort zone and studying abroad.

[Shanghai Summer School offers programs in partnership with Donghua University]

Life Experience

Not only will you learn so much academically, doing a study abroad program will change you forever as a person. While you’ll be taught what’s on the syllabus for your summer program, you will also gain so much confidence and a strong feeling of independence. By challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone and travel somewhere new to live and learn, you realise that this is what life is about. Living away from home, you of course also learn crucial things such as time and money management, how to foster strong relationships and simply how to take care of yourself. It might not seem so obvious at first, but these are some of the biggest benefits of studying abroad. 

Shanghai Summer School - life, experience

And to end with everybody’s favorite benefit while studying, you get to make friends with people from all walks of life. Going through something as impactful as studying abroad in a completely new environment together, the bonds that you create while on summer program or exchange are friendships that will honestly last a lifetime. It’s not a matter of simply saying bye to them at the end of your study abroad experience, but rather “see you soon.”

[Find out more about Shanghai Summer School’s summer ]