Can you study abroad more than once? With preparation and planning, the answer is yes. It’s a big world out there; there’s a lot more to see and learn than can be experienced in one trip, and studying abroad more than once can have benefits you might not anticipate.
You can gain a global perspective or delve deep into the culture of a particular country. You can build a global network of friends and colleagues and give yourself a competitive edge on your chosen career path. Studying abroad is so powerfully positive that it may even spur you on to higher academic pursuits.
Try Studying Abroad for Different Lengths of Time
If you’re apprehensive about traveling to a different country for study, you could try a short-term study abroad program, maybe during the summer or over the winter break, to undergo the program and see if a longer-term program would be right for you. If you enjoy the experience and would like to try it on a long-term basis, you can apply for an upcoming semester or year-long program. If you decide that you would prefer not to pursue a long-term program, you will still reap the valuable benefits of having studied abroad once in your academic career.
Visit More Than One Country
Maybe you’ve decided to study abroad long term but haven’t yet decided which country to choose. Again, you can benefit from taking more than one short-term study abroad trip to a different country every time. Better yet, you can enroll in a multi-country study abroad program where you will visit several countries all in the same trip. This short-term, firsthand experience will help you decide which country you would like to spend more time in.
Increase Foreign Language Fluency
Study abroad can do wonders to enhance your facility with a foreign language, as you will be using it in a real-world context and learning directly from native speakers, who typically speak much differently than in a classroom context. Even the same language varies by the region where it is spoken, as anyone who has conversed in Spanish with people from both Spain and Mexico is well aware. Being exposed to different dialects can only improve your fluency and help you to communicate effectively with fellow speakers regardless of where they come from.
Gain Global Perspective
Once you gain fluency in a foreign language, you can use those skills in areas of the world that might push you outside your comfort zone. For example, having studied in France or Quebec, it would be of value to you to experience life in a francophone nation of Africa or Asia, where the culture is not only vastly different from your own but also significantly different from your previous study-abroad endeavor.
Explore Different Areas of the Same Country
Even if you study abroad more than once, you don’t have to visit a different country every time. Perhaps your initial experience was at a university in a large city, and now you want to try a smaller school in a more rural region. Maybe your first trip was to an inland region and now you’d like to study on the coast. Regional culture can vary dramatically even within the same country, and multiple trips to different areas of the same country can give you a deeper understanding of the country as a whole.
Build a Global Network
As you study abroad, you will make friends in the foreign countries that you visit. Participating in multiple study abroad programs will mean that you will make even more friends from all over the world. This global network of friends will not only enrich your life personally but may also benefit you professionally, as the friends that you make today may one day become valuable business contacts as well.
Enhance Your Career
Students who study abroad are always desirable to potential employers, regardless of the career. Needless to say, if your career is globally oriented to begin with, such as international business, your study abroad experience makes you even more appealing as a prospective employee. Therefore, it stands to reason that having studied abroad more than once can only benefit you when you finally embark upon your career path.
Pursue a Postgraduate Degree
In addition to the other personal and professional benefits, studying abroad may spur you on new heights of academic achievement. Fifty-two percent of students who study abroad go on to complete a postgraduate degree, compared with nine percent of Americans as a whole. Not only may the studying abroad inspire you to higher levels of learning, but having study-abroad experience can appeal to graduate school admissions team. After studying abroad as an undergraduate, you may decide to pursue your postgraduate degree overseas as well.
Your university years are the best possible time to take advantage of the study-abroad opportunities that are afforded to you. If studying abroad is a powerful, life-changing experience, then studying abroad multiple times can further enrich your life in ways that you may not be able to anticipate until you try it for yourself.