Everyone keeps asking me why I want to study abroad when my family is right here along with my friends, and nice, free universities - especially when I already have "had the experience" multiple times.
As a 16-year-old I went abroad to the U.S. to go to High School and to live with a host family. Here, I became a part of the society, experienced a different schooling system compared to the one in Denmark, made friends for life, and, now, I see it as my second home. Then, three years later, I did it again - I went abroad. However, this time it wasn't to study, but to travel; sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, chilling on Caribbean beaches, getting lost in huge cities like Hong Kong, doing a road trip through the U.S., hiking through unique national parks in New Zealand, and so much more.
So you could argue, as many people do, that I don’t have to go aboard again because I already have done it before. "Why should you go when you have everything right here?" is the question often hear.
Of course, everyone will tell you the obvious and same benefits of going abroad, like meeting friends for life, seeing a new part of the world, growing as a person, and that it looks great on your CV. In this blog post, however, I will tell you why I want to go on exchange in the fifth semester of my bachelor and possibly take my masters outside of the Nordic countries.
Some people are very content just playing with a few keys on the piano and don’t have a wish to discover more of it because they are happy right where they are. I’m not like that. I want to play with all the keys on the piano, but don’t get me wrong, I’m completely tone-deaf, but I want to experience something new and different and to pop the Nordic bubble because I feel like I have already seen everything in here.
We all know the schooling system in our countries, but do we think it’s the best? In my mind, that's almost never the case because I find that all schooling systems vary from each other and, therefore, it’s necessary to find the one that works best for you. For instance, as a high schooler in the U.S., you can pick your own classes, so that you can customize your education instead of everyone having to take advanced English, even though only half of the year think it’s interesting. Then, on the downside, Americans have a lot of standardized tests which, for some, are harder than the exams we have here in Denmark. It's important to find out where you fit in.
Culture is a fluffy thing, and no one can really define a culture because of the fact that it’s ever-changing. Furthermore, everybody also has different perceptions of it, since we don't have the same norms and values. The only way to get to know a culture is to submerge yourself into it. Imagine what a powerful tool it is to be able to understand other people and their background because you understand their culture.
In closing, I would like to tell you that not everyone will have the same experience when they go abroad, and that there are many hidden benefits to it. They are in fact so well hidden that you can only see them once you actually go do it. So, please, do!