Traveling has always been a passion of mine, and studying abroad was always my greatest dream. Last summer I had the opportunity to explore my passion and make my dream a reality when I spent eight weeks studying in Barcelona, Spain.
Living in such a vibrant city with immense historical and artistic influences was a dream come true! From the tapas and sangria to the fantastic street art, Barcelona was everything I ever hoped for and more. But my time spent in this mediterranean metropolis also taught me more about my major than I expected.
I could write all day about the plethora of reasons why everyone studying Communications should study abroad, but for the sake of your time and mine, I’ll highlight my top three reasons.
American journalist Ashlan Gorse Cousteau wrote, “The planet is a vast and beautiful place, full of exciting and wonderful people.” This statement has never rung more true. Every day our world becomes more and more connected socially, politically, and economically. Businesses are creating relationships across seas and therefore as students we need to prepare for the growing influence of international interests.
Students who study abroad have an advantage over those who don’t because of the increasingly diverse and international world we live in. Studying abroad provides students with the opportunity to experience foreign cultures and societies that. Developing an awareness of foreign cultures is not something easily learned in a class. It’s something many have to experience to understand.
2. Language Skills
Just as business has become more interconnected and now functions on a more global scale than local, language is seeing international changes, as well.
To be a competitive candidate in an increasingly international job market, being bilingual is a necessity. According to the LA Times, California is "the most linguistically diverse state in the nation.” With more than 220 languages spoken and 44% of residents reportedly speaking another language other than English at home, California has a linguistic climate like no other.
If you are considering living in California while pursuing a career in communications, you should seriously consider picking up another language. Especially because of seven million residents of California say they are not proficient in English. Studying abroad provides students with the means of learning another language on a basic level at least. Being bilingual is a greatly sought after trait that not only could get you hired but get you a higher paycheck, as well.
3. Personal Growth
Being alone in a foreign country where you may not understand the language, culture, or even how to use the public transpiration may sound like your worst nightmare, but it is actually a great opportunity to do some soul searching. When studying abroad you have the rare opportunity to explore who you are without the temptation of returning to your comfort zone. Being surrounded by new and exciting experiences is like being surrounded by an abundance of avenues that all lead to personal growth and development.
The life lessons I learned while studying abroad are invaluable. Being able to not only survive but thrive in a foreign environment has given me the opportunity to truly become more confident in myself.
While studying abroad is a luxury not all can afford or accommodate with their schedule, it is a life changing experience that should be taken advantage of, if possible. There’s no better time than now, especially while we’re all students. Not only has my time in Barcelona taught me about myself, but it also taught me crucial skills that will aid me in my future employment. I hope you can take these key points and be persuaded to spend time abroad and explore not only the world, but yourself in the process too!
You slaved over your resume, you landed a couple of interviews, and you finally got your first public relations internship. You may be wondering, now...