Studying abroad during your university degree gives you invaluable life experience. University exchange programs make spending a semester abroad really achievable, but making the decision about where to go and if it’s worth it isn’t quite so simple. To help you along your way, here are ten reasons why you should consider an exchange.

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#1. You really get to know a country

You might leave a city after a week-long holiday knowing all of the best food spots, but when you spend a four to six months in the place, you become an honorary local. By the end of your time, you’ll be taking short-cuts, hopping on public transport, and cruising around town with your friends like you’ve lived there forever.

italy coastline

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#2. You will make new lifelong friends

One of the best reasons to go on exchange is to make new friends from all over the world. As well as local friends who will show you all the best places to eat, drink, and hang out, there will also be people from all over the world on exchange. You will learn so much about different cultures, and when you next travel, you’ll have so many new places (with free accommodation) to visit.

#3. Just think of the independence!

If you’ve lived with your family throughout your studies, going on exchange might just be what you need to gain some independence as you move into your adult years. Navigating a new city, living in a share house or on campus, and braving all of the challenges of travel can do wonders for your self-confidence. After all, you can’t live with your parents forever so you might have to get used to the idea!

#4. You could pick up a new language

If you’ve been struggling with learning another language and hardly know the basics, spending a semester in a foreign-speaking country might just be the push that you need. There is nothing like being fully immersed in a language - you just have to make sure you don’t spend all your time socialising with other Indian speakers.

paris eiffel tower

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#5. You can use your town as a base to see other places

While your weekdays might be spent bent over the books, the weekends are free for exploration. For places like Europe, cheap flights mean that one weekend can see you eating up some pasta on a street corner in Naples and the next standing at the base of the Eiffel tower. When you’re done for the weekend, you can come home to a cozy, familiar space and start the school week again.

#6. You’ll leave your comfort zone behind

We’re all guilty of having our comforting routines and daily habits, but stepping out of your comfort zone might just be what life is all about. If you don’t leave the security of home, you might never know what it feels like to watch the sunrise over the water in Croatia after a night spent dancing, or the rush of cold water from a wild leap off rocks into the sea in Greece. When it’s all said and done, these are the moments you will remember forever.

#7. You will have the chance to study some new and different subjects

Every university has different specialties so going on exchange might be the perfect time to learn something completely new and different. Always been interested in conservation? Why not try and get into an African university where heading out onto a game reserve is part of the curriculum. Interested in marine biology? Why not use your exchange to learn to dive somewhere like the Australian Great Barrier Reef. The world is your oyster! Just make sure it has a little something to do with your current university degree.

coastline reef

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#8. It looks great on your resume

Doing a semester abroad shows future employees that you have an adventurous spirit and a willingness to do new things. Who knows, you might even meet a future employer or useful contact during your semester abroad. If you can tack on an internship or a side-gig while you’re there, even better!

#9. You won’t have the opportunity again

There aren’t many times in life when you get the opportunity to pack up and spend months overseas. Life after university can bring a whole lot of responsibilities. This might be one of the only times when you can be a little reckless and run off to a foreign country.

#10. You will come back with so many stories

You’ll never run out of things to say on date or at a dinner party when you have a whole arsenal of travel stories up your sleeve. Even if all your stories start with “One time, during my semester abroad...”.

There’s one thing for certain, you’re much more likely to regret not going on exchange than if you do end up going. There is so much of the world out there to see, and this might be your perfect time to get out and explore it!

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