By: Marisa Bachetti
We can follow the news all we want, read novels about places overseas, histories and wars. But in order to fully understand the world around us, we need to experience it first-hand.
My understanding of the world grew tremendously while abroad, so I’ve decided to create a list of the benefits of studying overseas. However, I didn’t want to create the typical “10 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad,” so instead I’ve created a list of the deeper benefits in doing so.
Here are my top reasons as to why you should get to know the world – or at least a part of it – through a study abroad experience:
Exploring the world allows you to see how a culture actually lives, with limited bias. In television shows, movies, and the news we’re exposed to parts of the world, but the parts were exposed to are often shaped by western views and ideas, which lack full representation. Going abroad will help broaden your perspective of world cultures; developing a deeper understanding of the world we live in. While living in France I noticed the little differences in everyday life compared to Canada; the relaxed approach to daily life, the culinary experience, transportation, etc. Although difficult to adjust to, in the beginning, I eventually learned to appreciate their routines from the perspective of a local.
Cultural Understanding and Awareness
You will learn to relate to others by experiencing their cultures first hand. Meeting, speaking and learning from locals helps develop empathy and invites deeper cultural understanding from both sides.
Before studying in France I never understood, nor appreciated, the laid-back approach to daily life. Now, having experienced two-hour lunch breaks, it’s hard to go back to the usual grab-and-go north American style!
A Humbling Experience
You will become humbled by what you see. While traveling you will become exposed to a new world. You will see the challenges faced by locals, the way governments, school systems, and organizations run. You will see the struggles and tribulations others experience on a daily basis – most of which you’ll never face.
When traveling to Paris for the first time, I was humbled by what I saw on the outskirts of the city. The romanticized ideal of the city is all I knew, but in the reality, there is much more going on. I got lost on the peripheral of the city – an area I didn’t even know about. Here, I was exposed to the life of many refugees struggling in their daily lives. Although shocked at what I saw, I was able to understand their struggles in a new light.
Experiencing a new culture will allow for personal growth. Exploring a new place will allow time to yourself to explore new opportunities not available back home. You’ll have time to think, reflect and experience a new life. I, for example, developed a new interest in cooking and picked up a bit of French. Maybe you’ll do the same, or maybe you’ll adopt something completely different. Either way, these events may never happen without being somewhere new…
Not only will exploring a new place help you learn about the world around you, but it will help you learn about yourself and your place within it. Living, studying and working abroad will teach you what the textbooks can’t; it will expose you to the rare, real world, in which we live.
Marisa Bachetti is a fourth-year Communication Studies & Geography student. Studying abroad at the Université Jean Moulin Lyon III in 2017, she has chosen to be part of Stories From Abroad to share her stories and the stories of her fellow Marauders in hopes of sparking a curiosity within readers.