We often talk about the profound benefits of studying abroad. Think that ship has sailed if you are not a traditional college student? Think again. The truth is that there are many study abroad options out there, and -- regardless of where you are in your life -- one of them is perfectly suited to your wants and needs. Still need convincing that it’s not too late? Read on for a roundup of six reasons why the timing may be right to study abroad.
1. Many flexible programs are designed for adults.
While you might think of the typical college student demographic when you think about studying abroad, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, many study abroad programs are designed for 'adults.' From short-term study abroad programs to summer abroad programs for adults, these opportunities offer everything from language immersion to adventure travel.
James Moses, president and chief executive of non-profit adult educational travel firm Road Scholar, which offers around 6,500 programs, says, “These [programs] rethink the traditional university study abroad experience and mold it to an adult’s interests. Road Scholar’s new extended immersion learning adventure is the natural evolution of our Founder’s vision for Elderhostel when they created the lifelong learning movement almost 40 years ago. Elderhostel and now Road Scholar empower and inspire adults to move beyond their comfort zones, overcome stereotypes, expand their thinking, engage with new friends, share ideas and fulfill lifelong dreams.”
2. The experience may boost your career.
Today’s employers are looking for workers with international experience and cultural competencies. The good news? These can be acquired at any age and at any stage of your career.
If you are planning to transition to a different line of work, meanwhile, using your time studying abroad to pick up new skills can position you for success on your job hunt.
3. You are more mature and stable.
Sure, plenty of 18-year-olds have their acts together. However, do you remember what you were like at 18? If so, you may suddenly become aware of the degree to which your current maturity level makes you a better candidate to take full advantage of everything that studying abroad has to offer.
Plus, if you have been working for a while, you may have more funds set aside to enjoy the experience without worrying about money.
4. You will regret it if you don’t.
Regrets do not go away as time passes. In fact, they amplify. If you already lament the fact that you did not get to study abroad, this feeling will not magically subside. The reality is that there will never be a 'perfect' time to study abroad. If it is something you want to do, making the time to do it can change your life.
5. It will help keep you young.
Did you know that traveling abroad has scientifically proven health benefits? These include lowered risk of heart attack, stress relief, enhanced creativity, improved happiness and satisfaction, and less risk of depression. Not to mention that we all know older people who are so set in their lives that they can’t deviate from them -- even if doing so would be to their own benefit. Traveling, by very definition, means moving toward new and fulfilling experiences, which helps keep you young.
Add studying abroad to the equation, and the opportunities for personal growth are near endless.
6. Because 81-year-old Ruth says to.
When deciding between a cruise in the Mediterranean or a study abroad trip to Hawaii to celebrate her 80th birthday, a woman called Ruth, from Lugano, Switzerland, chose the latter.
She told EF of her decision, “I’ve watched a lot of movies about Hawaii, and I have been fascinated by the island for a long time. That’s why I decided that it’s time to explore Hawaii myself. Plus, I wanted to improve my English, even though I can speak pretty well already.”
Ruth's experience was uncategorically a success. Not only is she still in touch with many of the people she met on the trip, but, at the grand old age of 81, she is already planning a second study abroad adventure.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong time to study abroad. Whether you have always fantasized about doing so or the inclination/inspiration has just struck, there is no better time than the present to bring your study abroad dream to life!