It takes the average American student 17 years to go from kindergarten to a bachelor’s degree. In all that time, they hear a lot about other countries, but rarely get to experience them firsthand. That may be why so many of them get a case of wanderlust after they graduate college. But instead of taking a year off to backpack through Europe or surf in Australia, why not make the most of your time abroad by earning your master’s degree? Here are a few reasons to consider it.
There are some things you can’t learn from a book. Studying and living in a foreign nation lets you experience a different culture not as a tourist or visitor, but as an active participant. Many who complete their education abroad discover that they are much stronger and more independent than they thought they were. After all, it isn’t easy to go from a comfortable, familiar environment to a foreign one. The lessons you learn making this rewarding transition may leave you feeling more capable and confident in your ability to handle any situation you may meet.
Master A Foreign Language
If you make the decision to earn your master’s degree abroad, odds are you have at least some experience with that nation’s native tongue. But learning to speak as the locals do is a different story. There is, of course, no better way to master a language than to go to a country where everyone uses it. It may take a couple of months, maybe even longer, but most international students make remarkable progress when forced to speak a second language on a daily basis. Not only do they improve their language skills in academic settings, but also in social and professional ones.
Become A Better Leader
In addition to improved language skills, learning to work with others also requires an understanding of local customs and traditions. For example, failing to remove your shoes before you enter most businesses in Japan is considered insulting. A well-travelled business executive is expected to know those rules in order to avoid possible incidents. And for those who are planning to work in the country they are studying in, gaining a better understanding of local leadership styles can be an immense benefit.
Improve Your Job Prospects
As we touched on in the previous section, there are skills that can only be gained through direct experience with people from other cultures. Earning your master’s degree abroad will make it much easier for you to work with foreigners on global or multinational projects. That simple fact will help you stand out from the other job candidates who have not gained the international experience needed to deal with foreign clients and partners.
Make New Friends
In addition to meeting lots of locals, the college or university where you choose to earn your master’s degree likely has a large student community from around the globe. If you embrace the opportunity to expand your horizons, you can graduate having formed long and lasting friendships with studious sorts from all over. Not only would that give you a great excuse to travel to see them in the future, but it would also help you expand your professional network by leaps and bounds.
Although we have merely scratched the surface on the personal and professional benefits that come with earning your master’s degree overseas, we hope we’ve given you something to think about.