7 ways going abroad shifts your worldview

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” ― Clifton Fadiman

 

Why go abroad next year?

 

1. Exposure to new languages

Hearing and speaking different languages affects how your brain works and how you perceive the world. It can cause a paradigm shift for your brain as you are exposed to a new set of metaphors, frames and concepts. As you learn new ways of expressing ideas, experiences and concepts you also become more open to new ideas, experiences and concepts. Living life in another language gives you a new lens through which you can view the world around you – a lens that will stay with you even after you return home.

 

2. You’ll establish friendships with people from different countries and cultural backgrounds

The best way to understand another culture and point of view is to befriend someone with a different cultural background. When you establish common ground with people from a different upbringing, you become aware of the many ways we are connected and alike as human beings. You realize that geographical and cultural boundaries do not have to separate us like they seem to do. Once you leave your comfort zone through an internship abroad, you can develop deep human relationships with people from around the world and through these friendships see beyond the constraints of our different cultures.

 

why go abroad

 

3. Your idea of “normal” will be challenged

Living abroad will expose you to a brand new normal. Each culture has its own ideas of priorities, what to eat, how to spend time and money, what constitutes a good friend, a good mother, a good worker… Seeing what is “normal” in a foreign culture makes you realize that there isn’t simply one right way to do things. Understanding the rules of a foreign culture will also help you understand your own culture in brand new light.

 

4. You get to experience the sensation of being the outsider

Everyone should feel like a foreigner at least once in their life. It can be an overwhelming sensation, being surrounded by a culture that you don’t really understand, in a place where you don’t really belong. When you get outside your comfort zone and throw yourself into a new cultural context, you get a better understanding of how other people feel when they’re new to your city or country. You become a more hospitable person because you’ve also had to rely on the kindness of strangers.

 

why go abroad

 

5. You’ll see the advantages of a different way of life

After venturing abroad, you realize that every culture can teach us something important about life. You may not feel 100% at home in a new country, but there are always lessons to be learned. One culture might place a strong emphasis on business, while another has a lively night life. Some cultures have exquisite and legendary gastronomy while others love to celebrate.

 

6. English speakers will realize the impact of their language and culture

An important lesson for native English speakers to learn is just how privileged they are to speak the international language. The scope of Anglo influence stretches wide and far and because of this, is not always welcome. Many cultures are struggling to retain their native languages because of the prominence of English while scrambling to teach their children English. Recognizing the gift of speaking and understanding English will help you count your blessings and hopefully encourage you to learn another tongue.

 

7. Improved awareness of globalization

Today’s economy is a global one. Globalization has changed business permanently as we trade outside our borders more and more frequently. We also constantly exchange our culture and entertainment, thanks to the World Wide Web, mass entertainment and immigration. During your international adventure, you’ll notice this more than ever.

 

 

Why go abroad? To launch your career and have the adventure of a lifetime. Apply now.

 

Photos

1. by Elizabeth Trovall

2. by Elizabeth Trovall

3. by Elizabeth Trovall

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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