Keystone logo

How Studying Abroad Builds Your Character

If you want to challenge yourself to grow, experience new things, and develop a deeper sense of self, consider studying abroad. Making the leap to attend a university outside of your country can help you figure out who you are, where you’re going in life, as well as what you want to do for work or school.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Study Abroad
How Studying Abroad Builds Your Character

Grow your personality

While sometimes it might seem as though our personalities are fixed, this isn’t necessarily true. As humans, we have the ability to help grow our personalities, and make changes when we’re unhappy with something. University is a great time to start fresh, and challenge those aspects of yourself while working towards improvement. When studying abroad, you’ll learn to rely on others, become adaptable, and problem solve, all of which will help you keep advancing as a person.

Traveling is one of the best forms of education

While you’re sure to get a great education abroad, a classroom isn’t the only place to gain an education. Most of our most meaningful experiences happen while we're out living life. Studying abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of your host country, to learn about the customs, traditions, and experiences of others.You’ll try new foods, learn new skills, and meet new friends.

Punctuality and teamwork

Studying abroad is a great way to help you grow individually to prepare you for life after graduation when you enter the workforce. For example, in Japan punctuality is an expectation, whereas it might not be in other parts of the world. You’ll also learn the importance of relying on others, and working in a team to accomplish your goals. You're going to work with people who aren't from your country, and may have a different set of values or experiences. Embrace the opportunity to learn from others.

Get out of your comfort zone

Over time, we might find ourselves stuck in a rut, doing the same things day in and out. While there’s nothing wrong with having a comfort zone, it’s important for character development to get out of your comfort zone once in a while. Therefore, studying abroad can disrupt your regular patterns and routine, forcing you to become more flexible and adaptable.

Gain independence

Even though going to university is a big step towards independence, you can take it to the next level by deciding to study abroad. Generally, when you’re in your new country, you won’t know a lot of people right off the bat. You’ll need to navigate a new country, its laws, culture, and people, all without the safety of familiarity. It’s a sure fire way to help you gain critical independence skills.

Contribute to something bigger than yourself

It’s very easy for us to get wrapped up in the struggles of everyday life. However, studying abroad can help you start thinking more about your contributions to society. While going to school overseas, you can learn more about how you fit in, and what you want to do with your life. You can have the opportunity to give back to others in a country not your own, and understand more of what it’s like to be a global citizen. This will help you be more aware of where your skills and experiences will be best utilized when you return to your home country.

Choosing to study abroad isn’t a decision to be made lightly. You’re going to need to tap into your personal reserves to enhance your self motivation, and you’ll need to be ready to advocate for yourself. Additionally, you may need to learn a new language, figure out your way through school in a new country, as well as establish a life there. However, all of these experiences will help you continue to grow as a person, build your confidence in yourself, and help set you on a path to success.

Find your perfect program

Use our search to find and compare programs from universities all over the world!

Chelsea Castonguay


Chelsea is a Student Affairs expatriate, who now works as a freelance writer and editor. She homesteads in a small town in rural Maine, USA. She enjoys hiking, fishing, cooking, reading, all things Laura Ingalls Wilder, spending time with her family, and chasing her black lab puppy, Cash.

Find a program in these categories