Why You Should Study Abroad - According to Science
It's decision-making time. You've gotten hold of your IB, Diploma or A level results and are mulling over what's next.
There's the option of applying for a local university but you’ve always wondered what studying abroad would be like (insert link to “the truth about studying in Australia”).
You’ve heard about the cousin who became a dog walker while studying in Melbourne. Or the aunt who told you to check out an upcoming international education fair. “When you’re there, you get to apply for multiple unis without having to pay application fees!” she said.
Apparently, these education expos are useful gateways to studying abroad.
But of course, uncertainty can creep in when it comes to uprooting yourself – even if it’s for just a couple of years.
What if you get homesick? What if you can’t cook?
If you’re still sitting on the fence, science has this to say: Studying abroad is great.
To make it easier, we’ve compiled research that shows why you might want to start registering for the upcoming March international education fair.
According to research from the University of Florida, Gainesville, a semester abroad can boost creativity. In one test, participants were involved in a “cultural creativity task” and asked to generate as many ideas as possible in a series of challenges. The participants were divided into three groups: those who have studied abroad, students who plan to study abroad and those who have no interest. The study revealed that those who studied abroad produced ideas that were “richer in description, detail and humour”.
Improves language learning
A variety of research papers have concluded that studying abroad can help improve fluency and pronunciation of the target language. One study showed that international students are able to improve their abilities at oral expression – specifically in terms of “fluency, speed of speech, grammatical correctness, pronunciation and richness of vocabulary used”. If you’re aiming to improve your command of the English language, studying in an English-speaking country would be ideal.
Fosters intercultural understanding
Based on a study from The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, international students are better equipped when it comes to understanding the complexity of global issues and intercultural learnings. Essentially, studying abroad can give you the advantage of being a global citizen. Another study from the same journal also concluded that an overseas education is vital in encouraging “intercultural competence, intercultural maturity, and intercultural sensitivity of students”.
An Australian study says that increasing globalisation has raised the need for graduates who possess the ability to thrive in culturally diverse environments. It suggests there are clear connections between study abroad and its outcomes – in particular, employability - as well as other aspects such as forging global networks, experiential learning as well as soft skills that are related to cultural understanding and ways of thinking.
Written by Mcken Wong, February 2019
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