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How Living Abroad Helps You Develop a Clearer Sense of Self

  • Otilia Obodaru,
  • Jackson G. Lu,
  • William Maddux,
  • Adam D. Galinsky

studying and living abroad essay

Research finds it’s driven by how long you’ve lived abroad, not where.

In today’s increasingly globalized world, more and more people are choosing to live, work and study abroad — and this trend appears to be a good thing: Social science studies have shown that international experiences can enhance creativity, reduce intergroup bias, and promote career success. Researchers set out to examine whether and how international experiences can transform a person’s sense of self. Specifically, they focused on “self-concept clarity,” the extent to which someone’s understanding of himself or herself is “clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and temporally stable” — a trait that has been linked to increased well-being and job performance. In six studies with 1,874 participants, they found that living abroad leads to greater self-concept clarity — which can lead to clearer career decisions — and what matters is depth rather than breadth of living abroad experiences.

In today’s increasingly globalized world, more and more people are choosing to live, work and study abroad —and this trend appears to be a good thing: social science studies have shown that international experiences can enhance creativity , reduce intergroup bias , and promote career success .

studying and living abroad essay

  • HA Hajo Adam is an assistant professor of management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.
  • OO Otilia Obodaru is an assistant professor of management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.
  • JL Jackson G. Lu is an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
  • WM William Maddux is a professor of organizational behavior at the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Adam D. Galinsky is the chair of the Management Division at the Columbia Business School. He co-authored the critically acclaimed and best-selling book,  Friend & Foe  (Penguin Random House, 2015), and delivered a popular TED talk,  How to Speak Up for Yourself .

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Your Study Abroad Essay Made Easy

by Danielle DeSimone - Last updated on July 3, 2017

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  • Before You Go

How to write a unique study abroad essay

Sometimes, the process of studying abroad can feel almost as difficult as applying for college. You have to choose the country you want to study in, compare and contrast programs (hint: MyGoAbroad ), collect your transcripts and references and, inevitably, you will have to write a personal statement and study abroad essay for your application. 

When applying for a study abroad program —especially a competitive one—your personal statement and/or study abroad essay can make or break your application. After all, your program wants to know who it is exactly that will be representing their program in another country! They want to know exactly why you’ve decided to make the life-changing decision to spend a summer, semester, or even a year abroad.

Sound intimidating? Don’t you fret. We’re here to give you 10 study abroad essay tips so you can WOW your study abroad program with your application.

Your Study Abroad Essay Made Easy

10 awesome study abroad application tips

1. brainstorm .

Most study abroad applications will ask you something along the lines of, “Tell us about yourself,” and “Why do you want to study abroad?” Simple questions, right?

Actually, these can be pretty tough, when you consider how many ideas you need to narrow down to fit into a 500 word response. Remember that writing is a process. And, the best first step to streamline your study abroad essay-writing process is to just scribble some ideas down and do some good ol’ fashioned brainstorming.  

[ Read 5 More Ways to Ace Your Study Abroad Application ]

Write down the things you’re excited to see, do, eat while abroad. Think about what intimidates you or what will be challenging in a new country. Doodle some of your goals for your summer/semester/year abroad, and really think about what it is that has made studying abroad so important to you .

Is it the idea of finally exploring that country you’ve been reading about since you were seven? Is it because this will be your first time living independently and far away from home? Are you just over the moon to be learning about your favorite subject in a place that is relevant to your studies? Whatever it is, write it, draw it, sing it— but get those ideas out there, so you can plan out the best essay you can possibly write. 

[ Browse study abroad programs here ]

notes written in cursive with fountain pen

Take some time to brainstorm and jot a few things down.

2. Outlines, Outlines, Outlines

Yeah, yeah, we know: since day one, your teachers and professors have pushed the idea of an essay outline. You’ve done about a billion of them, but breaking down your study abroad essay and knowing exactly where you’re going to go in your writing can help you have a more concise argument as to why your chosen study abroad program should choose you. We repeat: writing. Is. A. Process. 

3. First Impressions Matter

You always want to have that eye-grabbing introduction: who are you as a student, a person, and a traveler? In just one to two sentences, try to summarize and explain exactly who you are and why you want to study abroad (easy-peasy, right?). Don’t be afraid to get personal and really let your true colors fly — this is how you’ll stand out to the admissions counselors who are reading hundreds of personal statements and essays!

For example: “My grandparents emigrated from Argentina at the ripe, young age of 20 years-old, and throughout my entire life, I have been taught to love a country I have never met. My passion for studying the Spanish language, and gaining a deeper understanding of where my family comes from, has inspired me to apply to ______ study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina .”

two girls laughing in the sunshine

Don’t forget to sprinkle in your sparkling personality.

4. Supporting Statements

Up next in our study abroad essay tips: support your statement on why you want to study abroad by expanding on the ideas you presented in your introduction.

This is where your brainstorming comes in! What has brought you to this point? What subjects studied, projects completed, or passions followed have made you choose to not only study abroad, but study abroad with this particular program?

Be honest and sincere. It’s okay if the main reason why you want to study literature in England is because you spent your childhood reading Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia . It’s perfectly acceptable if your love of the ocean comes from an obsession with sea turtles, which is why you’ve decided to study marine conservation in Costa Rica . 

Maybe you want to study in Germany because you’ve always had the goal of working in international business! These are the things that make you a unique and interesting prospective study abroad student! Just be sure to always tie your passions, goals, and dreams back to how this study abroad experience will help you expand on these things and carry them with you through the rest of your life.

5. Get Detailed

close up of hands typing on mac keyboard with headphones plugged in

Organize your outline and start on Draft 1!

When you’re describing the who, what, when, and why of your decision to study abroad, be sure to state your goals clearly .

Passion is one thing, but your study abroad program also wants to know what it is exactly that you plan on gaining from this experience. How will this summer , semester , or year abroad bring you closer to your academic or career goals in the future?

Example: “Through this study abroad program in Israel , I will expand my worldview and understanding of Middle Eastern cultures, which will, in turn, prepare me for my plans to pursue a graduate degree in Global Peace and Conflict Studies. With this, I hope to eventually utilize my experience and passion to work for the United Nations. Studying abroad will help me achieve these goals.” 

[ Get Matched with 5 Study Abroad Programs for FREE ]

6. be yourself.

In the world of academia, being formal and professional is key, but in the world of study abroad, it’s all about making those human connections beyond the borders of your own country! That’s why it’s so important to be yourself when writing your study abroad essay.

Of course, always put in the time and effort so that your writing sounds smart, but don’t be afraid to add a little pizzaz and let your personality shine through! This will set you apart from other study abroad applications, and will give your study abroad program a much clearer sense of who you are as a student and a person.

silhouettes of business-people sitting in front of full length windows looking out on London

Always related your study abroad essay back to your long-term #GOALS and how this program will help you reach them.

7. A Two-Way Street

Ask not what you can do for your study abroad program, but what your study abroad program can do for you! Studying abroad isn’t just about what your study abroad program can provide you — you also need to prove your worth to the program’s officials .

After all, you’ll be serving as an ambassador of your home country and this program in a completely different country. They want to be sure that they’re accepting dedicated and deserving students into their program, so that years from now, when you’re a famous scientist or a world-leading politician, they can point to you and say: “See that person? They studied abroad on our program!” 

A study abroad program’s reputation is dependent not only on the opportunities they build for their students, but also on the caliber of students that they bring in. So when writing your personal essay, be sure to highlight what you bring to the table and how you look forward to continuing your study abroad program’s mission.

Example: “As a participant in this program, I know that I could expand my worldview and continue <Insert Study Abroad Program Provider’s Namer>’s mission of creating global citizens by creating bridges between myself and other cultures.” 

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No need to go totally analog when writing your study abroad essay. Stay in the 21st century!

8. A Solid Sprint to the Finish Line

As you conclude your study abroad essay, be sure to nail the point home and finish with a strong conclusion . You’ll have to tie together your original introduction, the reasons for studying abroad, and your goals for the future all together in a nice, clean, concluding two to three sentences.

Don’t repeat yourself, but be sure that these final sentences pack a punch, and leave your study abroad program admissions officers ready to buy you your plane ticket outta here.

9. Edits & Revisions

Never hit submit without first revising and editing your essay two or three times! You might notice typos or awkward sentences at second glance, and you might also think of an exciting new idea you want to add in after your third look-over! It’s also always a good idea to have someone else to look at your essay (or maybe even write it for you ...), to get a fresh pair of eyes on your writing.

[ Use MyGoAbroad to Find & Compare Study Abroad Programs ]

10. submit (on time).

Once you’ve cleaned up your essay, upload that application and click submit! But, don’t forget to pay attention to all of the application deadlines, and be sure to get all of your relevant documents to the study abroad program on time! There’s no worse feeling in the world than having spent weeks perfecting an essay and application, only to have missed the deadline. 

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A Pulitzer Prize-Winning study abroad essay

With all of these study abroad essay tips, you might as well start packing! You’re well on your way to your grand adventure abroad, and by investing so much time and effort into your writing, your chosen study abroad program will be sure to accept you! Applying to study abroad can seem like a lot of work, but the minute you step off that plane and into your new home, you’ll realize that it was all worth it. 

Find a Study Abroad Program & Get Writing!

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Essay on Living Abroad

Students are often asked to write an essay on Living Abroad in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Living Abroad

The adventure of living abroad.

Living abroad is like a thrilling adventure. It means moving out of your home country to another, experiencing a different culture, language, and lifestyle.

Learning New Cultures

When you live abroad, you get to learn about new cultures. You’ll eat different foods, celebrate unique festivals, and understand diverse traditions.

Language Skills

Living abroad can also help improve language skills. You’ll have the chance to learn and practice a new language every day.

Personal Growth

Lastly, living abroad can lead to personal growth. You’ll become more independent, adaptable, and open-minded. It’s a journey of self-discovery.

250 Words Essay on Living Abroad

The allure of living abroad.

Living abroad is an enticing prospect, a journey that promises growth and transformation. It’s an experience that can be simultaneously exhilarating and intimidating, offering the opportunity to explore unfamiliar cultures and environments.

Personal Growth and Cultural Exposure

Living abroad fosters personal growth in an unparalleled manner. It thrusts individuals out of their comfort zones, compelling them to adapt to different cultural norms and practices. This exposure to diversity can foster a more nuanced worldview, promoting empathy and understanding.

Academic and Professional Development

From an academic and professional perspective, living abroad can be a significant asset. It provides access to unique educational opportunities and can enhance one’s career prospects. Employers often value the adaptability, resilience, and cross-cultural communication skills that come from living abroad.

Challenges of Living Abroad

However, the experience is not without challenges. Homesickness, language barriers, and cultural misunderstandings can make the transition difficult. It’s crucial to approach these challenges with an open mind, viewing them as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles.

In conclusion, living abroad is a transformative experience that provides myriad opportunities for personal and professional development. Despite the challenges, the rewards are plentiful, making it a worthwhile endeavor for those seeking to broaden their horizons.

500 Words Essay on Living Abroad

Introduction: the allure of living abroad.

The prospect of living abroad often conjures up images of adventure, exploration, and personal growth. It offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture, language, and way of life. However, like any significant life decision, it comes with its share of challenges and rewards.

The Benefits of Living Abroad

Living abroad provides an unparalleled educational experience. It allows individuals to gain a broader perspective on the world, fostering a deeper understanding of global issues and diverse cultures. It is a chance to experience firsthand the customs, traditions, and social atmospheres of different nations.

Furthermore, living abroad can significantly enhance one’s language skills. While learning a new language in a classroom can be beneficial, nothing compares to the immersive experience of living in a place where that language is spoken.

Additionally, it offers an opportunity for personal growth. The challenges one faces while living abroad, such as navigating a new city or adapting to a different lifestyle, can build resilience and self-reliance. It also encourages the development of problem-solving skills, adaptability, and cultural sensitivity.

The Challenges of Living Abroad

Despite the numerous benefits, living abroad is not without its difficulties. One of the primary challenges is culture shock, the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture or way of life. It can be overwhelming to adapt to new social norms, customs, and languages.

Another challenge is homesickness. Being far away from family, friends, and familiar surroundings can be emotionally taxing. The difference in time zones can also make communication with loved ones challenging.

Financial concerns are another significant challenge. The cost of living, exchange rates, and finding employment can add stress to the experience.

Preparation: The Key to Successful Living Abroad

Preparation is crucial for a successful experience living abroad. This includes researching the destination’s culture, language, and customs, as well as practical aspects such as cost of living, healthcare, and local laws.

Building a support network is also vital. This could involve reaching out to expat communities, joining local clubs or organizations, or maintaining regular contact with friends and family back home.

Furthermore, setting realistic expectations is key. It’s important to remember that living abroad is not a perpetual vacation. There will be difficulties and mundane tasks, just like at home.

Conclusion: The Transformative Power of Living Abroad

Living abroad can be a transformative experience, offering opportunities for personal, academic, and professional growth. It provides a unique lens through which to view the world, fostering a deeper understanding of global diversity. Despite the challenges, the rewards of living abroad often outweigh the difficulties, making it a worthwhile endeavor for those willing to step outside their comfort zone and embrace the unknown.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

  • Essay on Live-in Relationship
  • Essay on Live and Let Live
  • Essay on Life

Apart from these, you can look at all the essays by clicking here .

Happy studying!

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studying and living abroad essay

June 9, 2022

Writing About Your Experiences Abroad

Writing about your experiences abroad

You studied, worked, or volunteered abroad. Now you want to include part of this in your personal statement as part of an undergrad, AMCAS or other application. Maybe you want to show that you’ve experienced a different culture and expanded your perspective through your eye-opening experiences meeting new people, mountain-climbing, assisting in a rural community, or some other opportunity to help people who genuinely need it.

Don’t forget the most important question: WHY?

But, at this point, you’ve also realized that many other applicants have had similar experiences. While the experience may have been transformative for you, requiring you to learn how to operate without your usual safety net in a foreign environment, you need to ensure that your study abroad experience serves a role in your essay as something other than window-dressing.

But you also know that your experiences aren’t unique to you; other applicants will have had similar adventures. 

There’s an old Onion article that jokes about a person whose short work experience in Africa allowed her to post a better Facebook photo. Without asking yourself the most important question of why your experience was transformative in some way, your travel descriptions might resemble the person parodied in that article.

I’ve read many essays with lush descriptions of exotic scenery and people who speak different languages, yet the writer does not seem to have changed. Unless you can articulate how you have changed from these experiences, your stories will simply blend together with those of other applicants. The admissions committee will get the impression that you traveled simply to add another notch to your resume.

You may consider that your travel experience really was transformative for you, requiring you to learn how to operate without your usual safety net in a foreign environment, a pivotal moment in your life journey. The key is for you to be able to explain in your personal statement exactly why . 

[Click here to read a sample diversity essay]

What, specifically, did you learn from your immersion in another culture? It can’t be enough to just tell a story about someone you met on a bus, train, or in a classroom. Explain why and how that person’s influence changed you. How do you think, act, and perhaps even plan differently now as a result of this exposure?

An admissions committee member once told me that an applicant’s actual experience mattered less than how they talked about it . Even a seemingly dull experience can be transformative to someone who is really paying attention.

Do you need help taking your experiences and using them to create a unique, compelling – even exciting – personal statement? Explore our Admissions Consulting & Editing Services and work one-on-one with an expert advisor who will guide you through the admissions process to acceptance.

From Example to Exemplary - Download your guide today!

Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s Postbac Program and is a former Accepted admissions consultant.  Want an admissions expert help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

  • Leadership in Admissions , a free guide
  • 9 Secrets to Telling an Attention-Grabbing Story
  • 7 Simple Steps to Writing an Excellent Diversity Essay

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What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad?

January 26, 2023

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@cieestudyabroad These are the pros and cons of studying abroad! #cieestudyabroad #studyabroad #studyabroadadvice #studyabroadprograms #wheretostudyabroad #howtostudyabroad #college Sunshine - WIRA

Studying abroad is a big decision. On one hand, it’s a life-changing opportunity that only comes around during your college years. On the other hand, it can feel like a total leap of faith. 

If you’re on the fence about taking the next step with CIEE Study Abroad, keep reading! W e’ve created the ultimate list of the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad . Why? So, you can make an informed decision about whether studying abroad is the right choice for YOU.  


Read More: Is Studying Abroad Worth It? 10 Outcomes of Studying Abroad  

The Pros  of Study Abroad

Studying abroad opens the door to a world of new possibilities. We couldn't be more passionate about that. The benefits of living and learning in a new culture will impact all parts of your life, from the day you enroll to every day thereafter.  

You will be surprised at the impact this one experience will have on you. And you will be so glad you took that leap of faith, after all. 

The Top Advantages of Studying Abroad  

As you weigh the pros of studying abroad, add these to your list:  

1. You will learn to think more broadly.    

By immersing yourself in a new culture, you will be exposed to a new language, new perspectives, foreign foods, and life-changing experiences. All of this will change the way you see the world and your role in it. 

2. You will make lifelong connections.    

By sharing new experiences, you can’t help but connect deeply with other students in your cohort and at your partner institutions. And trust us, you will share many new experiences while studying abroad. These are the kind of friendships that last a lifetime. 

ciee study abroad excursion in the middle east

3. You will gain a competitive edge.    

Ninety-seven percent of students who study abroad find employment within 12 months of graduation and 25 percent earn higher salaries than their peers. How’s that for standing out in today’s competitive job market?  

Bonus : You can even boost your resume by gaining real-world experience through a global internship ! We offer full- and part-time international internship opportunities across a wide variety of industries. So, if it’s a competitive edge you want, then a competitive edge is exactly what you’ll get. 

4. You will build your language skills.    

Whether your goal is to master a new language or just get by with a conversational understanding of the local language, studying abroad will help you do it. There is nothing quite like cultural immersion for optimal language learning.  

Do note , however, that most CIEE programs are delivered in English unless you’re in a language class or program for advanced speakers.  

student learning chinese from a language tutor abroad with ciee

5. You will step out of your comfort zone.    

Trying new things helps you learn how to adapt to new situations. A key life skill for our rapidly changing world.  

Just think, you will be working with new professors, new peers, a new currency, a new language, a new transit system, new food, and more – you get the idea. And just know, CIEE will be there to support you every step of the way, 24/7. Our program is a truly great way to safely take that leap of faith. 

6. You will be better for it.    

We hear it all the time : “study abroad changed my life.” And it’s so true. Studying abroad teaches you leadership, cross-cultural communication, adaptability, and so much more. Mark this down as a key advantage to studying abroad.  

advantages and disadvantages of study abroad

The Cons  of Study Abroad

Charting new territory is not in everyone’s comfort zone. And studying abroad, for many students, is definitely classified as uncharted territory. We know the unknown can be intimidating, and we also know studying abroad comes with a bit of sacrifice.  

This is why we’re sharing some of the disadvantages of studying abroad. So you can make the most informed decision possible.  

The Main Disadvantages of Studying Abroad  

Here are the cons of studying abroad you should address when weighing your decision:  

1. Studying abroad can be expensive.    

It can be . But there are scholarships and grants available to help you make studying abroad a reality . Your college or university may offer their own scholarship and grant options. Others you can apply for at CIEE directly in your CIEE Study Abroad application . We offer millions each year for students with demonstrated financial need, proven academic merit, or who’ve enrolled in specific programs as well.  

On average, a semester with CIEE costs $18,861 . A little less when studying abroad in Latin America ($17,291) . A little more when heading to Europe ($19,968) .   

Our Open Campus Block program option, in which you can choose one, two, or three consecutive six-week study abroad sessions, costs about $18,750 but drops significantly to a little over $6,000 for students who choose to pursue only one block (6 weeks) or about $12,000 for two blocks (12 weeks).  

Bear in mind, too, that CIEE tuition provides a high level of student support. Not every program can say the same. Our program fee covers most of the essentials, outside of airfare and meals, and typically includes: 

  • Pre-departure advising  
  • Orientation  
  • On-site staff + 24/7 emergency on-site support  
  • Cultural + co-curricular activities  
  • Travel protection  

students on cultural excursion at throne hall korea

Read More: How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in 2023?  

2. There will be language barriers.   

Even for the most advanced speakers, immersion into a new culture will stretch your language capabilities. We see that as a really good thing. And we believe that if you go abroad with us, you will, too.  

But there’s no getting around the fact that there will be a steep language learning curve as you make your way through the program. We bet you’re up for the challenge. Plus, most of our classes are taught in English, so you will still make big gains academically. 

3. You may experience culture shock.   

The food will be different. The language will be different. The architecture will be different. The style of communication will be different. The local customs and social norms will be different, too. You will have to adjust. But isn’t that at least some of the point? You will return home with a new perspective! 

4. You might get homesick.  

Most of our students are traveling for the first time without their family or friends. And that’s a huge step.   

Just know that CIEE offers a ton of support, including around-the-clock on-site staff. So, we’re always available. Plus, you’ll have a cohort of new friends to keep you company when those homesick feeling begin creeping up.  

And remember , you can always call home when you need to hear a familiar voice. Our students love to FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and so on to virtually connect with their loved ones whenever they want. 

cape town dorm student meeting

5. Re-integration can be hard.    

This is an adjustment most students don’t anticipate.   

Often, when the study abroad experience is really great and there’s a ton of personal growth, students have a hard time adjusting back into their typical routine back home. You may experience this, too. It’s a sort of homesickness for the study abroad culture.  

Just know it will get better once you’ve had time to adjust to your routine again. And, for those who just can’t shake the feeling, there’s the opportunity to apply to join CIEE’s Student Ambassador Program to get paid to talk about your study abroad experience! 

Learn More: Become a CIEE Student Ambassador  

The Choice is Yours  

Thinking through the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad is an important first step in your study abroad experience. If you have any questions or want to talk through your personal list of studying abroad pros and cons, we ’re happy to connect .   

In the meantime, check out t he 170+ incredible programs we have to offer to begin planning your perfect study abroad experience! 


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Crafting the Perfect Study Abroad Essay

Follow these tips to make your study abroad essay stand out.

  • Applying to Study Abroad

studying and living abroad essay

Whether you just want to do a semester or an entire program abroad, it’s likely a study abroad essay will be required. Students are beginning to realize what a great opportunity it is to take their studies abroad. Not only is it a great way to make new friends, practice your language skills, and travel while studying, it’s also great to put on a resume . So, it’s no wonder students are lining up to pick their top destinations and programs to study abroad.

To make sure they pick students who are ready and serious about studying abroad , most schools will, therefore, require a study abroad essay. The essay is a chance to make a great first impression and show the university administration that you’re ready to make the commitment to take your education even further by going abroad.

Consider some of the following tips to really make your study abroad essay stand out!

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1) Explain Why Study Abroad Will Make a Difference for Your Studies

A lot of students want to study abroad just for the experience and the excitement of living and learning abroad. These are important aspects, of course; however, school administration wants to know why going to your top study abroad destination will make a difference to your education.

Be specific! Explain the impact studying abroad will have on your personal and professional growth. Don’t just highlight how you think you will learn a lot. What do you expect to get from the program specifically? Is there a reason you picked one country over another to study in?

The more specific you are the better. It shows the university that you have given serious thought to your studies and that you are ready for the commitment!

2) Let Them Know Why You Picked Where You Want to Study

study abroad

Instead of just saying you will study anywhere, as long as it’s abroad, tell the university why you picked your top study abroad destination. Write with enthusiasm and let admissions know what you are excited to see and do in your new home.

Make sure you do the research in advance! Name some museums you would be interested in exploring or some monument you would be interested in seeing. It’s in your favor if you can also tie these back to your study program!

This will show your school that you will not take your study abroad experience for granted, and that you already have things to do to integrate into your new home easier.

3) Describe Why You’re Qualified

Whether you've recently entered college or are ready to graduate, your experience says a lot about what you will accomplish on your study abroad. If you want to make your study abroad essay stand out, make sure to make mention of your previous experience.

Mention major academic accomplishments, work experience, or skills that you might find useful abroad, such as knowledge of a second language.

The university knows you will learn a lot during your time abroad, but the more you can bring to the program, the better!

4) Show Your Personality


The best study abroad essays are the ones with a little bit of personality! Your essay should still sound professional, but don’t be afraid to let yourself shine through as well. Studying abroad comes with challenges, and if the university gets a sense you are ready for them, you will move to the top of the list.

Add a personal story about something relevant to living and studying abroad. Describe a time you traveled somewhere new or met a friend from a different country. A well-rounded individual with some experience is the perfect candidate for studying abroad.

Showing some enthusiasm while also keeping your expectations realistic is the right way to show the admissions team that you have thought long and hard about your decision to study abroad, and that you are ready to pack up and move abroad.

5) Follow Instructions

It might sound simple, but if you don’t want your study abroad essay to be immediately tossed aside, make sure to read and follow all the instructions given. Some universities will ask specific questions or ask students to format their essays in a particular way.

Don’t ignore these instructions! It’s the first step to making a great impression.

If the essay is open-ended — great! Follow our tips to get inspired. But, if there are specific questions, make sure you answer them clearly and concisely. There might not be any right or wrong answers, but your school will still be looking for students who are able to express themselves and get their point across.

The Perfect Study Abroad Essay

If you followed our advice so far, you’ll be looking at the study abroad essay that’s going to get you into the program of your choice at the study abroad destination of your dreams!

Don't forget to proofread before handing in your essay. If possible, it's great to have someone take a look over it as well, especially if it's a professor or someone who has written a study abroad essay before.

Unsure of where to study abroad?

Check out our handy country guides!

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How to Write an Outstanding Study Abroad Application Essay

The study abroad application essay is an important part of the college application process.It is a great opportunity to provide valuable information about yourself and your career interests. The content is significant because it gives insight on why you should be selected for a program or school.It provides why you want to participate in the program and why you are the best candidate.Completing the assignment is easy when planning ahead. Here are the basics to help you get started.

Collect Ideas via Brainstorming

How can I write my essay online and get the help I need for my paper? Start by reviewing guidelines and instructions for the paper. Based on the topic information they provide start coming up with ideas for writing.Think about the course or school you are applying. Consider the atmosphere and your career goals and personal interests. Use these aspirations to create original topics for writing.Think about the importance of studying abroad and why it is significant to your learning needs and experience.Narrow down the list of ideas until you find something you can write in full detail.

Develop an Outline

An outline is essential for writing and it breaks up the task into easier segments. Your paper will have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Your outline will have each of these sections but you can mention significant points to discuss. You can focus on developing each one at a time. Your intro will mention your thesis statement. The body will mention three points each having its own paragraph. The conclusion is last summarizing main and supporting points discussed throughout your paper. Essay help through writing tools such as an outline is beneficial for any form of writing.

Explore Supporting Details

As you work on your outline your attention will turn toward supporting statements for your main idea or thesis statement .You'll brainstorm information to support your idea.You will discuss why you want to study abroad and mention experiences or things you have learned contributing to your decision.What you are passionate about should be connected to your main and supporting points to give insight about your educational intentions. Spend time developing a solid thesis statement and supporting details to help your paper come together.

Be Comfortable with Yourself

Comfortable with Yourself

As you provide information about your career goals, be true to who you are and what you aspire to be.It is important to be professional and formal with your content, but don't lose the essence of who you are. Let your personality come through your words.It will help distinguish your application from the others.Sharing who you are lets the school know why you are a match. Be creative to make a connection but at the same time be you.

Provide Proof You Are a Fit

Give a clear reason why you should be considered for the school or program.Detail your self-worth and show why you are deserving of the opportunity.The program wants to make sure they have the best students for what they have to offer. They want assurance whoever they choose will complete the program successfully.Use this essay to highlight your abilities by discussing what you have to offer and how it fits in with the school or program mission. An essay writing service can assist if needed.

Finish Your Paper Strong

Your conclusion will provide a summary of what you discussed earlier in the paper.It is your last chance to make a good impression and bring your paper to a strong close.You should have a few sentences that are solid, clean, and clear about you are and why you qualify.Make these last few words stand out. Use this time to connect the main idea (thesis statement) with supporting points (body paragraphs) to complete your personal statement.

Revise and Edit

revise study abroad application

Did you know it is recommended to review your work at least two or three times before you submit it? Much time and effort was spent developing content for your essay. It deserves to be reviewed for typos and errors.Make necessary changes to improve chances of approval.Take a break after writing your draft and come back to it for review. How can I get help with my essay writing ? Hire an editor to do it for you if don't have time. Whatever you do, don't submit without reviewing it first.

In conclusion, planning your work is easy when familiar with essential steps of the writing process.Brainstorming, outline creation, developing discussion points, and revising your work are all important steps to complete for your study abroad application. The time spent planning and writing will be worth it. Make sure to submit your work on time by the deadline.

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Ielts writing task 2 sample 549 - advantages and disadvantages of leaving country to live or study abroad, ielts writing task 2/ ielts essay:, nowadays many people prefer to study or live in foreign countries. while studying and living abroad brings many benefits to individuals, it also has a number of disadvantages. what are the advantages and disadvantages of leaving your country to live or study abroad.

studying and living abroad essay

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Home / Essay Samples / Education / Student Life

Studying Abroad Essay Examples and Topics

Contemplating studying abroad: benefits and drawbacks.

At the begnning, there are numerous new encounters you will learn while traveling to another country. To begin with, you will see an alternate world, so on the off chance that you go to expansive to the US for instance, that will assist you with…

The Reasons to Study Abroad

“Great things never came from comfort zones” An individual always dreams of a certain kind of exposure which would give them a kick-start beginning and eventually a competent future. An international setting outside one’s comfort zone brings forward challenges which would yield you to become…

Study Abroad Scholarship: Benefits and Drawbacks

  Study abroad scholarship spins around the minds of many students. But the international experiences start with boundless research about various aspects. The Ticking Clock. When you are in your freshman year, you feel like you have the world in your hands. There are just…

The Perks of and Reasons Why to Study Abroad

Studying abroad isn’t any doubt life-changing expertise for many individuals. So, it’s no marvel that over the past twenty-five years, the number of scholars opting to review outside their home country had vastly tripled. learning abroad throughout your university education has benefits on many fronts….

Reflection on the Year Ahead: Why I Want to Study Abroad

At University College Cork, Erasmus is a vital part of learning a language. I am currently in the early stages of preparing to study for a year in Germany, with this comes expectations and aims that I wish to set for myself. Next year I…

The Preference of Abroad Education as Opposed to Home Country

Why education abroad? People nowadays go abroad for their studies, especially, for their higher studies. This is mainly because there are a lot of benefits of getting a degree from abroad. In this era, people prefer a standard way of living, which is available abroad….

Studying Abroad as an Opportunity to Open Mind

All Students Should Study Abroad Studying abroad is critical experience of anybody’s life. Students who take up foreign exchange programs return home with new information, development, social comprehension, and new companions. It has profound impact on students in light of the fact that students who…

Full Story of My Life: Autobiography

From moving to a different country to learning a new language to being through some verbal bullying at school, to who I am today. This is my autobiography and story from when I first moved to the United Kingdom. Most of my childhood was spent…

The Overwhelming Positives About Living and Studying in Canada

I love Canada with the whole of my heart, it has been my dream country since I was in secondary school, I used to have this Indian-mathematics teacher in my secondary school then who is always telling us about Canada, that has made me to…

My Academic Goals for Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is a transformative experience that offers unique opportunities for personal and academic growth. In this essay, I will outline my academic goals for studying abroad. These goals represent my aspirations and ambitions as I embark on this exciting journey. Whether it’s broadening my…

Why Do Students Want to Study Abroad

Studying abroad nowadays is a tendency in young people and their family, especially for the ones come from developing countries as Vietnam. So why do students want to study abroad? This essay shows some examples both of advantages and disadvantages of applying for International Universities….

Taking Advantage from Studying Abroad

I thank you for considering my request to study abroad during the winter semester of 2021. If selected, I will be a third year student in International Management. There are countless reasons that studying abroad will allow me to grow both professionally and personally. Choosing…

Personal Experience on Studying Abroad: My Life in Kuwait

Introduction In this essay I want to share about my study abroad experience. I was born to a middle-class Hindu family, on a rainy day, in the deserted and usually scorching land of Kuwait. My father’s entire family was settled in Kuwait from the 1960s….

My Experience Moving from Ethiopia to USA

For the first seven years of my life I lived in Ethiopia, a country located at the east coast of Africa. Ethiopian is known for being a culturally oriented nation that values respect, honesty and integrity. Being raised with these values I have been able…

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Foreign Students Living in Toronto

When I came to Toronto I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of foreign students. I saw people from India and China, form South Korea and Russia, but what surprised me the most was that they all live as one nation. No any disputes because…

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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad? IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay

The IELTS writing task 2 requires an individual to present their views on a topic that has been assigned to them. They are required to go through the topic and present their side of the argument. One such example of it could be: “What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad?”

So, whenever you are presented with such topics, all you are required to do is present your side of the argument. There is no right or wrong in these answers – all an individual is required to do is to let the examiner know their understanding of the topic that they are provided with.

So, let’s move forward to learn a little about this topic and present an amazing essay answer afterwards to let you know how it’s done.


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad? 

The decision to study abroad depends solely on the different advantages and disadvantages of that thing.

So, let’s move forward to know all about them.

What are the Advantages of Studying in a Foreign Country? 

Studying abroad has today become the new normal, every other child wishes to move out of their resident country to enjoy among a bunch of completely new people to study between them and to gain as much knowledge as possible with the help of this.

Given below are a few advantages of studying abroad:

#1. Improved Language 

The greatest benefit of studying abroad is that it helps you to improve your language skills to a great extent. you get to learn some new words each day and among a bunch of people who speak this language on a regular basis, you get to enjoy the benefits of learning a language completely.

Talking to your friends on a daily basis in the same language helps you to have that fluency in the language which you were not able to achieve before.

#2. New Friends and Career Opportunities

Another benefit that one gets to enjoy after studying abroad is that it really helps an individual to expand his/her network and have some really good friends which can also turn into friends for life. One gets to enjoy their time with people they have not known before and have a great time in their company.

It also helps one to expand their network for some great business or job opportunities overseas. A wider network helps one to connect to some really amazing people and have the benefits of so many new opportunities in life.

#3. Confidence Booster

When you enjoy time among people from a different country and culture altogether, you get to learn so many new things from them on a regular basis. Along with this, it helps one to practice the language on a daily basis which helps in boosting their confidence.

With a great and built-up confidence level, it’s easy to then achieve the heights that you want to.

Also Read: Important Points to Keep in Mind while Answering IELTS Writing Task 2

#4. Explore the World

Moving out of your resident country provides you with an opportunity to live in a new city altogether which also comes with the benefit of exploring a new city and a place never seen before.

When you live in a completely new place, you get to enjoy the scenic beauty of that place, the unexplored yet the most famous places at the same time which serves as an amazing experience.

Now, let’s move forward to learn some of the disadvantages of studying abroad.

What are the Disadvantages of Studying Abroad?

Everything that has some advantages comes with some disadvantages too. So, while there are many advantages of studying abroad, there are many disadvantages of the same too.

So, let’s check them out.

#1. Highly-Priced

Studying abroad might look fascinating to you but it is extremely expensive. Bearing all the expenses of studying abroad for an individual can be quite expensive and tiring at the same time.

The expenses of studying abroad depend solely on the place that you have chosen for yourself and the university that you’re going to get your degree from. The more advanced the country, the higher the expenses.

Also Read: Guide to Ace The Advantages & Disadvantages Essay Questions in IELTS Writing Task 2

#2.   Language as a Barrier

One of the biggest problems that many students face while studying abroad is the language that they are not fluent in. It is extremely important for one to learn the official language of the country that you have decided to move to in order to enjoy the benefits of having meaningful conversations.

Many times students have a lot of difficulty in speaking the native language or even understanding it. There are many cases in which teachers prefer to teach the entire lessons in the local language of the city. Therefore, it’s extremely important to have a good grasp of the language.

#3.   You’re Dependent on Your Own

Living in a foreign country means you are completely on your own. All the work that you need to do, right from washing your clothes to doing all the household chores, all need to be done by yourself.

There are many students who have never lived out of their home for a long period of time and studying abroad requires them to have such experiences for the first time. While this may have a lot of benefits like you learn so many new things, it can also have some serious demerits too. Many times it has been noticed that students who live alone tend to suffer from loneliness or in some cases, even depression.

IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Model Essay 

So, let’s move ahead to discuss one such advantage disadvantage essay in order to know how to present an answer while in the examination hall.

The question for today is: With more and more people moving out of their own country to study abroad, it has been a trend these days. What do you think are the advantages or disadvantages of the same? Share your opinions with us.

Also Read: Want Band 9? Check These Previous IELTS Writing Task 2 Exam Questions and Answers

Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad – IELTS Model Essay

With changing times, more and more students wish to move out of their native country to a completely new place where they can study among a bunch of students who are new to them. And this has certainly given a rise to the number of students moving abroad to study among them. While the idea of going out seems fun, is it actually true in real scenarios?

Elaborate – IELTS Model Essay Answer

There are many benefits of studying abroad but according to me, I believe the number of demerits of studying abroad is more than its advantages. Starting with knowing about its benefits, it feels great to study abroad. When one starts studying abroad, they become more independent as a person. This is because everything, right from all the household chores to outdoor things needs to be done on one’s own and this helps an individual to become a better version of himself/herself. They learn to be better and dependent on themselves. Living abroad allows an individual to learn different foreign languages in order to converse with their peers and fellow classmates. This further helps them to broaden their horizon, that by learning new languages and living for a period of 2-3 years in a foreign country, they tend to learn new cultures and how things are done differently in their country. They learn about their customs, traditions, and values.

Talk about the Disadvantages

But despite having so many advantages, the number of disadvantages succeed them. Though it is true that students get to learn new languages while living in a foreign country, with that comes the possibility of isolation and loneliness. There are many students who face difficulty while speaking in languages other than their native ones and while learning these languages, there are times when they are not able to converse fluently and swiftly as other students. And this leads to the different language barriers that arise among them. Thus, these children tend to spend most of their time alone without anyone’s company which can further lead to failure in examination and also depression.

Move towards Conclusion of the IELTS Essay Model Answer

Another demerit of studying abroad is that one has to do all of their work on their own which can be quite tiring at times and can lead to fatigue. This can also affect the students psychologically and they can suffer from various mental illnesses. Further, living abroad for a long time alone without being with anyone from your family or loved one can lead to homesickness and even lead to depression among many students. Along with this, studying abroad can be extremely expensive as compared to the cost one bears when he/she decided to study in their native country.

In conclusion, I believe it’s always better to study in one’s own country while being in the company of your loved ones and it should be encouraged more than moving out to study.

Hopefully, you must have found this article useful and if you have any doubts regarding the same, feel free to comment down below and let us know about the same.

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Studying Abroad - IELTS Essay

Many students now have the opportunity to study in other countries. Studying abroad may bring some benefits to some students, but it also has a significant number of disadvantages. Discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion. Studying abroad has become an extremely popular study option amongst university students. While studying abroad is extremely expensive, it exposes students to a wide range of people, cultures and experiences that will reward them later on in their careers. In my opinion, students are far better off studying abroad even though it might be a bit costly. One of the greatest advantages of studying in a foreign country is that it exposes students to essential life experiences that will develop them professionally, impossible if they have studied only in their own country. Being in another country forces people to pop and come out of their bubble of comfort, opening them to a plethora of opportunities, which can help them advance in their careers. For example, when I went to study in the UK as an eighteen-year-old, I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and become self-reliant, making me much more mentally and emotionally mature. These ultra-challenging experiences are what develops a person. A negative aspect of studying overseas is that it is extremely expensive. It is not just high university fees that drive up the expenses; it includes stationery and study material expenses, travelling costs, rent, money spent on food, and other miscellaneous expenses. For example, I had to take an education loan of 30000 pounds to fund my tuition fees. Moreover, during my stay in the UK, I had to take up a job as a part-time waiter to earn enough to pay my monthly rent and meet a part of my monthly expenses. An increasing number of students are opting to study overseas. Although studying abroad can make a hole in your pocket, it will test and challenge you mentally and emotionally, helping your overall personal and professional development. In my opinion, long-term professional and personal gains from overseas studies justify every penny spent on it.

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Should Students Study Abroad? Essay

Introduction, new cultural experiences, opportunities to learn new languages, travel opportunities, enhancement of employment opportunities, arguments against studying abroad, works cited.

Studying abroad refers to the act of pursuing primary, secondary, or post-secondary education in a foreign country. In the United States, foreign students comprise approximately 1 percent of the student population (Byram 34). Many students study aboard especially for their post-secondary education that includes university and postgraduate studies. In certain cases, students enroll for short study programs.

For instance, many institutions conduct academic exchange programs that aim to expose students to new cultures and educational environments (Cressey 52). The issue of studying abroad has been debated among experts in the academic field for a long time.

Opponents argue that it is expensive and introduces students to new cultural experiences that alter their perspectives and values in negative ways. On the other hand, proponents argue that studying abroad is good for cultural exposure and new educational experiences. Students should study abroad because it exposes them to new cultural experiences, provides travel opportunities, increases their chances of employment, and expands their perspectives of different cultures and countries (Cressey 22).

One of the advantages of studying abroad is exposure to new cultures and learning environments (Byram 37). Globalization has increased competition for employment opportunities among graduates in international labor markets. As a result, it has initiated changes in learning approaches because of the need to work in different cultures and among people who speak different languages (Cressey 62).

It is necessary for students to study abroad in order for them to gain cross-cultural communication skills, learn different languages, and get international exposure. A common challenge among international workers is ineffective communication due to language barriers (Williamson 29). For instance, American graduates who secure employment in countries such as China and Japan find it difficult to communicate with natives because of language barrier.

In order to work in such countries, learning native languages is a necessity because few people speak English. Studying in China is an opportunity for American students to learn the language and culture of the Japanese. The global economy has numerous challenges that can be overcome by studying abroad. Statistics show that only 10 percent of American students study abroad at one point in their academic lives (Williamson 30).

Experiencing new cultures and environments pushes students out of their comfort zones and facilitates acquisition of skills that are necessary for the attainment of success in the global economy (Byram 39). Countries have different educational systems that encourage diversity through cross-cultural interactions. Exposure to different cultures is important in eradicating ingrained stereotypes and misconceptions about certain races and cultures.

Interacting with people from other cultures equips students with skills that are important in solving challenges that developing countries face (Williamson 33). For instance, foreign students who study in Africa experience the challenges that poor people face. Examples of these challenges include poverty, hunger, and diseases. This increases their compassion and willingness to offer viable solutions to solve the challenges.

The most effective way of learning a new language is through interaction with people who speak that language. In countries that do not use English as the official language, foreign students are required to study the language used by the educational systems of those countries.

Even though some programs are offered in English, students learn local languages in order to ensure proper communication and interaction with other students. One of the advantages of studying a new language is the opportunities it offers with regard to communication, interactions, and socialization with natives (Williamson 39). It is easy to learn a new language through interactions with people who use it.

Studying abroad offers students an opportunity to travel to new countries and have new experiences that expand their perceptions of the world (Williamson 41). Foreign students get the opportunity to visit places that they could not have otherwise visited in their lives had they not traveled abroad to study. Some study programs include field trips that allow students to master their surroundings.

In addition to travel experiences, students make new friends because they interact with both natives and foreign students from other countries (Cressey 72). International media outlets usually present distorted images of certain countries by focusing on the challenges that their citizens face such as poverty, hunger, and diseases.

Studying aboard equips students with firsthand experience regarding the lifestyles and economic endeavors of such countries and as such gain new perspectives and ideas (Williamson 46). One of the challenges that American students face is a constricted view of the world. The United States is the largest economy in the world that offers innumerable opportunities to its citizens.

Studying abroad offers American students an opportunity to live in countries that do not offer as many opportunities to citizens as their country does. Such experiences change their perspectives regarding their culture and the cultures of other countries. Cross-cultural interactions shift or validate some of their perspectives and beliefs.

Students who study abroad increase their opportunities for employment especially by international organizations. Employers are more attracted to individuals who possess international experience that is gained form living in different cultures and countries (McKeown 54).

Examples of job opportunities that require international experience include international relations, diplomacy, medicine, and governance. Students should use their experiences in foreign countries to gain communication skills and other abilities that will give them competitive edge in the labor market. Many students choose to study abroad because of the high quality of education offered in certain educational systems (Cressey 63).

Students from developing countries travel to developed countries for higher education because of the high quality of education offered by the systems in those countries. Another aspect that increases employment opportunities is the creation of professional networks during the study period (Williamson 73). Students form professional networks that they use after graduation to find employment.

Studying abroad increases students’ their opportunities to volunteer, find internships, and work part-time (McKeown 55). Many institutions help students find internships and work placements after completing their programs. Forming professional networks gives students an edge over students who complete their studies in their home countries.

Opponents argue that studying abroad exposes foreign students to homesickness, culture shock, and new cultures that might change their perspectives in negative ways (McKeown 58). In addition, they argue that it is expensive and students might enroll in institutions whose educational systems are not as rigorous as those in their home countries. Even though foreign students experience homesickness, the opportunity to study abroad helps to develop independence and learn how to live without influence from their families.

The process of seeking foreign educational opportunities involves a through scrutiny of the educational systems of different institutions. Therefore, before students enroll to foreign institutions, they are usually aware of the value and quality of their educational systems (McKeown 64).

In many cases, students who study abroad receive government grants and scholarships that reduce financial pressure. On the other hand, the quality of education that students receive is far more important than the cost incurred. The benefits of studying abroad outweigh the disadvantages. Finally, the value of international exposure and acquisition of skills that enhance cross-cultural communication overshadows the cost of studying abroad.

Students usually have many options with regard to pursuing their post-secondary education. One of the options is to study abroad. Some of the benefits of studying abroad include exposure to new cultures and educational experiences, enhancement of employment opportunities, and creation of professional networks that are important for career development.

Opponents argue that studying abroad is expensive and posses the potential to affect the cultural perspectives of students negatively. In addition, they claim that students might be subjected to inferior educational systems that fail to equip them with quality academic and professional experience to navigate their careers. An important step in choosing an institution is a through scrutiny of its educational system.

Therefore, it is difficult to enroll into an inferior educational system. On the other hand, many governments and institutions offer scholarships to students. Therefore, those who cannot afford to pay for their study abroad can apply for scholarships and government grants.

Students who study abroad increase their opportunities for employment especially by international organizations because of their experiences with different cultures and cross-cultural communication skills. Another benefit of studying abroad is the opportunity for international travel. Students visit other countries and cultures that facilitated the development of new perspectives. Finally, students get an opportunity to learn new languages that give them competitive edge in different labor markets.

Byram, Michael and Feng Anwei. Living and Studying Abroad: Research and Practice . New York: Multilingual Matters, 2006. Print.

Cressey, William. Guide to Studying Abroad . New York: The Princeton Review, 2004. Print.

McKeown, Joshua. The First Time Effect: the Impact of Study Abroad on College Student Intellectual Development . New York: SUNY Press, 2009. Print.

Williamson, Wendy. Study Abroad 101 . New York: Agapy Publishers, 2008. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, March 28). Should Students Study Abroad?

"Should Students Study Abroad?" IvyPanda , 28 Mar. 2020,

IvyPanda . (2020) 'Should Students Study Abroad'. 28 March.

IvyPanda . 2020. "Should Students Study Abroad?" March 28, 2020.

1. IvyPanda . "Should Students Study Abroad?" March 28, 2020.


IvyPanda . "Should Students Study Abroad?" March 28, 2020.

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Maryland Global logo

“A national scholarship? I’m just Alyssa from Frederick!”

Meet Alyssa Taylor '24—she spent the 2022-23 school year in Korea as a Gilman scholar at Seoul National University. Now, she's connecting students to their own study abroad journeys as a Global Learning Ambassador for Education Abroad.

Alyssa Taylor takes a selfie behind the ocean.

From a beginner’s interest in K-pop, a high school teacher showing her hangul (the Korean alphabet), and the Gilman scholars program—each step led her to an unforgettable year in Korea at Seoul National University (SNU). As a Government and Politics major with a concentration in International Relations, her experience in Korea was essential to exploring international diplomacy. Now, as a Global Learning Ambassador with the Education Abroad (EA) office, she’s connecting students to their own pathways towards international education, and challenging the assumption that studying abroad is only for students of means. 

“In sophomore year, even freshman year, I was like, ‘Oh, it’d be really cool, but I can’t afford [study abroad] and I don’t want to burden my parents. So I put it on the back burner, and then I started learning about different opportunities—but there’s still another kind of imposter syndrome with that. A national scholarship? I’m just Alyssa from Frederick!” said Taylor.  

At Maryland, studying abroad is more accessible than you might think. EA offers many programs that cost the same or less than a semester in College Park. And further, Taylor wasn’t alone in finding the resources to help her get there—EA staff even met with Alyssa’s parents to reassure them that it wasn’t outrageous for their daughter to spend a year on the other side of the world. 

“When I told my parents I was going to study abroad in Korea for a year, they said heck no…I felt that having someone of authority sit with them, they felt more at ease for me to go abroad.”

Once her parents were on board, the National Scholarship Office on campus connected her to The Gilman International Scholarship Program, a big name in the world of international scholarships. Nearly 3,000 students are awarded up to $8,000 annually towards the study abroad program of their choice. One of the bigger requirements, a personal essay, triggered that imposter syndrome for Taylor. However, now one year out, she advises students not to let those feelings get in the way of their application. One in four Maryland student applicants are selected to receive a Gilman award, and in 2021, the University of Maryland was recognized as a top 20 producer of Gilman scholars with 323 UMD students having received the award since the scholarship program’s inception in 2001. 

“Start early, don’t take yourself out, and know that you have a story to tell,” said Taylor. 

Beyond the thrill of living abroad, Taylor’s time in Korea was essential to her long-term goals of making a place for herself in the international relations world and forming connections with American diplomats in Seoul, fostering both friendships and professional relationships. 

“My mentor introduced me to a Foreign Service officer that was working in the U.S. Embassy in Seoul at the time, and he took me under his wing…he introduced me to an opportunity where I participated in a roundtable discussion with other American and Korean students, talking about different areas we bonded over, like finding jobs after college,” said Taylor.  

Notably, Alyssa also served as an English teacher for a North Korean defector (refugee). 

“She really humanized North Korean people for me, just having someone sit in front of you and talking to them, hearing about their life story and their dreams for the future—it made me, now that I’m back at UMD, want to be more of an advocate for North Korean people,” said Taylor.

Universally, students return stronger and sharper from their time abroad, the eye-opening experiences and the challenges they encounter. The same was true for Taylor, who after losing the housing lottery at SNU had to find her own accommodations. Additionally, she did not get into the classes she had painstakingly selected, forcing her to start from scratch and abandon her best laid plans. 

“Looking back on my experience, I really did have a lot of things thrown at me, having to figure out where I was going to live and the language barrier…and then traveling around, especially as a Black woman. I’ve definitely had a, ‘Oh, you really haven’t seen people like me before’, and navigating that,” and continues, “But now that I’ve done it, I’m surprised by how much I was able to do, and the courage that got me out of [the challenges she faced] it,” said Taylor. 

Upon her return to Maryland, she made a home in the Korean cluster of the Language House, and continues to enjoy the foods she had in Korea (tteokbokki and kimbap) as she looks to her final semester at Maryland. Taylor aims to return to Korea someday to continue her interests in social justice, explore research related to feminism and gender issues in Korea, and pursue her career aspirations of becoming a public diplomacy foreign service officer. For now, she’s sharing her story with other Maryland students, encouraging them all to see what’s out there.

“There’s just something about being abroad and meeting people from different cultures, even just being in a different setting is really impactful, just to learn that the world’s way different from wherever they come from,” said Taylor. 

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Home / Essay Samples / Education / Studying Abroad / Effects Of Studying Abroad

Effects Of Studying Abroad

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  • Topic: Maturity , Student , Studying Abroad

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