Studying abroad is more than an enriching experience from a personal point of view, it has also been shown to be the most effective way to master a language in a short time and, at the same time, to immerse oneself in the culture of that country, something that is not taught in the classroom.
Although its effects will be greater the longer you spend in another country, the fact is that its benefits are noticeable even for short stays of a couple of weeks, and will help you to see life from a different perspective and gain self-confidence; take note of the advantages of studying a language abroad!
1. The best gymnastics for the brain
Studying a new language is one of the best exercises for our brain. To learn it we need not only to invest time, but also to activate different parts that we would not put into operation in other circumstances. Add to that the fact that you are in contact with that language all day and every day of the week, and this mental gymnastics is even more effective, especially if you sign up for a language course. A linguistic stay with important benefits also for your mind.
2. You will gain fluency in the language
It’s no secret: the longer you study abroad, the more fluent you will be in that new language. Even more so if we add to the classes (better if they are daily) interactions with local people in which it is necessary to use this language: moving around the city, shopping, sightseeing… The more you take your Spanish, French or the language you are learning, the more your knowledge of this language will advance and the more effective your stay abroad will be.
3. Boost your self-esteem
Living in a foreign country where you also don’t know the language is a challenge for your self-confidence. After a first (and inevitable) phase of adjusting to your new home, the first frustrations of talking to locals and the nostalgia of family and friends, you will experience a real boost in self-esteem. Not only will your communication skills be strengthened, but you will be able to overcome every obstacle (linguistic and cultural) that comes your way, make new friends and learn to manage the budget and other basic survival issues will make you a confident, autonomous and independent person.
5. You may get credits for your college
If one of your goals is to get into a university, studying a language abroad can help you achieve it. Not only because it will give you a broader view of the world, but also because many universities value very positively the applications of candidates who have been abroad (to learn a language, do an internship, find a job, live a sabbatical year…). If you are already studying, keep in mind that you can earn university credits while traveling in other countries, for example to learn Spanish in Latin America, one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
6. Enrich your CV
Although more and more people are deciding to study a language, not many still decide to do so abroad. Something that can help enrich your CV and make a difference in a job interview. For example, why not travel to Europe to study French or do an internship in a company in Montpellier during the summer? In addition to being one of the five most widely spoken languages in the world, learning French can help you because it is the second language after English of international organizations and the third language of business. Having such experience can add points to your future career.
7. You will explore new horizons
Language stays abroad will not only allow you to get to know yourself better, they will also open the door to exploring new horizons. It’s not just about getting to know the city you’re living in depth, but about going beyond the urban boundaries and into the rest of the country. The longer you are abroad, the more opportunities you will have to go on excursions and discover more about that destination and its people. You may even get a few visits from friends or family and be able to guide them around the city like a local. Cities like Madrid, Spain have an endless offer of cultural activities, which complement the classes with experiences outside the classroom to help you find out where to start exploring.
8. Expand your network of contacts
Living abroad for a while will naturally expand your network. Some will be colleagues of different nationalities that you will meet in your language classes, others will be locals with whom you will interact on a daily basis in your new destination, others will be temporary visitors to the city. All of them will help you build a global network of contacts, with multinational connections. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a good relationship with your teachers, tutors or employers abroad. You may have to turn to them in the future if you are looking for good references for a new job, a scholarship or a place in the University.