What would I say to other students thinking about studying abroad? I would say you simply must go and take the opportunity. I am not the only person who will tell you this. Every student who takes part in study abroad will say the same things.
But why would any ambassador say that “you need to study abroad?” We are all sending the same message because of all the incredible experiences we got to take part in for our semesters away. The positive influence has made it so we hope that future students will experience the same sort of things as we have, as they are unique in a comparison to normal travel or to staying all 4 years at Capilano.
But why go study abroad? There are loads of different reasons to want to study abroad; for some, it may have simply been to live in a foreign city for four months. And as those months go by, the city is no longer mysterious to them. It becomes a temporary home and a place of enjoyment and comfort. A place in which they know very well and wouldn’t have if they did not study abroad, a home away from home on another continent.
Other ambassadors may feel you need to study abroad because of the friendships to be gained. You’ll meet international students from around the world. With these people you will have something special. They will be your only friends who understand what your semester was like as you were side by side throughout the trip. It could also be the relationships you form from the locals. These people will create experiences for you that your friends at home can’t. You will be happy to share your cultures with each other as you open your mind to different ways of living life. They will be happy to host you at their place on the Mediterranean, in the Alps, or in the heart of a downtown in a city you always wanted to visit. As you are lucky to meet them, they are lucky to meet you, Making friends with a Canadian is a lot more exciting when the individual doesn’t share the same passport and the treatment to be received is something superior to what we often have at home. In the future these people may also help with career opportunities as your network has become more internationalized.
Another reason could be for the travel. Spending four months in a city offers time to have weekend trips to wherever you like. Some have week breaks in the semester and this only offers up more potential. After the semester, you may be lucky enough to do some travelling with the leftover cash from the scholarships you’ve received or the hours you’ve worked. The flight overseas has already been paid for so the main expense has been dealt with. Free accommodation will be easier to find with the friends you’ve made on your semester too so travelling to some destinations is now cheaper than it ever has been.
I could continue on with more influencing factors for studying abroad but the list does not need to be drawn out. The memories will be forever lasting and the months spent will be like none lived before. So, I think you shouldn’t ask yourself “Why should I study abroad” but instead ask “Why shouldn’t I study abroad?
Read Cole's full report (.pdf) on his semester abroad at INSEEC Business School in Bordeaux, France.