I had the opportunity to study abroad for six weeks in Seoul, South Korea over the summer. Now as I just arrived back home, I realized all the benefits I have gained from that short amount of time out of the country. In my reflections, I was asked what kind of professional skills I was expected to gain or what I needed to work on. Professional skills are a huge advantage, but I gained a lot more than that. The friendships you make are ones that can last a lifetime, even if you don’t live in the same state or country. You learn skills that can help you in your daily life or while traveling in future circumstances. Here are a few of the top skills or benefits I gained while abroad!
Making new Friends
Honestly, I was a little worried before studying abroad whether it will be difficult to make friends. But I realized I found it easier! You must realize that everyone else is in the same boat as you. We all are in a foreign country without our families and so the others that came through my program and I got close very fast partly, because of these circumstances. I became so close to these friends because we barely had any clue what we were doing, and we had to figure out our challenges together. I must say I learned a lot from them, and I feel very grateful to have met all of them. The friendships I have gained from study abroad is something I am so appreciative for!
Of course, one of the benefits of studying abroad is the professional experience you gain. Studying abroad can supply you with a multitude of different skills if you are considering any profession that involves international relations. Study abroad shows you can adapt and be resourceful in a totally different environment. It will refine your problem-solving skills when you run into some issue you’re not familiar with. As the world is becoming more interconnected, employers are in desperate need of these skills. Overall, I think it will give you a bigger perspective of the world and will help you in your future profession, whatever career you decide to pursue!
Learning More about Yourself
I think the biggest thing I must thank my study abroad time for, is the amount of confidence I have gained. I had numerous people tell me how leaving the country can really change your perception and make you a different person. I feel like I took that lightheartedly but now looking back, I know I am a different person. Being abroad over the summer really helped me gain a bigger picture of the world. But most importantly, I learned a lot about myself I didn’t realize before, which has helped me to be a more understanding person.
Wheaton Hardwick, University of Kentucky, is studying abroad in South Korea with TEAN.