This blog post describes the 10 most important reasons to study in the United States and how you can make the most of your stay abroad. Living abroad will make you a different person and it will change you forever… in a good way!!! Check out now the 10 best reasons, why you should study at an American University or College!
#1 Improve your English skills
Learning or improving your English skills are the main reasons why many students go abroad. Certainly, being surrounded by English and using it on a daily basis can be a great and easy way to improve your language skills. English is the language of business and if you want to be successful in your career, you need to speak it well! But the success depends on many factors.
– Have a basic understanding of the English language and vocabulary before you go to avoid frustration
– Go to a dialect-free region to learn the purest language! Even though it does not sound too exciting, consider Ohio, where the purest form of English is spoken in the US.
– Try to avoid speaking in your mother tongue
– Practice English as often as you can. May be you can get a tutor for free, when you teach him or her your native language?
– Learn the conversational language as well as some terminology of your field of study to make the most out of your stay abroad
#2 Experience the American Way of Life
Living in the US will show you a new culture from a deeper perspective than ever before. As life in the US is very different from the life that you are used to, the adjustment process will be anything from easy to nerve wrecking and frustrating. But dealing with this new situation will make you grow and become more open to other perspectives on life. Remember when you come home, shaking your head about the strange behavior of the people around you: Your way is not better than theirs, it’s just different.
#3 Extend your network
Networking is a buzz word of our times. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are just a few social and professional networking sites that help us to stay connected and use our connections as potential resources. Imagine in a couple of years, you are working in your job and suddenly your company wants to expand to the US. Guess who will be a valuable resource for your company, because you can just pick up the phone and connect with several American friends that can give you valid and accurate information in an instant?
#4 Improve your career chances
Yes, experience abroad will give you an advantage over other applicants on the job market. HR managers value international experience highly, as this set of candidates is known as adaptable, independent, problem solvers and open. Having spent time in the US will definitely give you a competitive advantage over your competitors in the job market, especially as a degree from an American university is still considered the best education that you can get. Universities in the US are outstanding in the field of research and education and provide the best facilities and professors.
In addition to that, you can gain valuable work experience in the US. Every foreign student, who has completed at least 9 months at an American University and received a degree, can apply for the Optional Practical Training, more or less a “Green Card” that permits you to work in the US for one year. The OPT allows you to gain hands-on experience in the US, a major competitive advantage, once you return to your home country.
#5 Get away from home
Living in the US can have another simple advantage for some of us. Getting out of your comfort zone is certainly not easy, but it will help you to grow. Go out there and experience the world, see it as an adventure that you will tell your grandkids about! You will learn a lot about the American culture and meet interesting people. Most of the people also appreciate their home countries a lot more, when they have spent time abroad. You will see that some things are really not as bad as they seemed and that not everything in the US is as good as you had imagined. Being all by yourself in a foreign country is a very daunting task, but sometimes you have to push yourself and then you will be rewarded with this awesome feeling of accomplishment. Trust me, it’s worth it!!!
#6 Become independent
Living in a foreign country all by yourself will inevitably make you independent. You are forced to as you don’t have another choice, swim or drown, live or die… no, it’s not that bad, in fact, it is a great chance. Show yourself, your parents and friends that you can do it- DIY-Style! Show them that they were all so wrong about you being a mama’s boy (or girl)! It will feel great! But don’t be afraid, in case of emergency, you can hop on a plane and be home within 24 hours.
#7 Create a memory of a lifetime
Spending time in the US will be an adventure and those memories will last a lifetime. You will always remember the people you met, the things you experienced and the instances where you made a complete fool out of yourself. I know a lot of people that lived abroad and none of them regrets the time they spent abroad. Yes, there will be difficult times, when you don’t understand the people around you, everything is foreign and nothing makes sense and everyday tasks seem like a major problem. But I can tell you from my experience, it is definitely worth it!
#8 Change your perspective
Your time in the US will put you in a foreign and new situation and you will have to deal with this to succeed. But experiencing the American culture will open your eyes and your mind. You will understand that there is not just one way to achieve things, but many of equal value. One of the most fascinating things about the American culture is its diversity. Even though the American culture is known as a “Melting Pot”, I prefer to compare it to a salad bowl. Many different cultures live side by side, each with their own characteristics, but they harmonize with each other and the mix of them makes the US culture unique. In my eyes, this is one of the most important lessons I have learned during my time abroad and I hope you will too!
#9 Improve your cultural understanding
When you immerse yourself into the American culture, you will have to adapt to make every day life easier. The American culture has a variety of perspectives, values, traditions and customs and living in this culture will teach you how to behave in this new cultural situation. Living in the US will help you to adapt to different behaviors and cultural settings. Cultural awareness and adaptability will be a major asset for you and for your future employer in this globalized world.
#10 Learn about yourself
When I went abroad for the first time, I was stunned how much I learned about myself and about my own (German) culture. It is very fascinating to see, how people in other countries see your country, learn about the stereotypes they associate with them and how you can influence their impression by your actions. Many people that go abroad also say that they have learned a great deal about themselves, what is important to them and where they want to go in their life. What will you discover about yourself?
I hope you enjoyed this post and that I provided you with some insights why you should study in the US!
About the Author:
Maria Berneiser is originally from Germany, but has lived in the US and China for many years. She studied Business at the California International Business University in San Diego, California and recently received her MBA. Maria is working for several German companies that help students to go abroad and she shares her advice and experience on living abroad on her website www.MariaAbroad.com. You can also contact her by email: Maria@MariaAbroad.com