Have you dreamed of beach days in Australia? Exploring local markets in Thailand? Tramping in New Zealand’s South Island? Choosing to go abroad is the first step to making your travel goals a reality. Here are just a few of the many reasons why we strongly believe that everyone should study abroad at least once:


With so much out there to see and do, why spend your life in the same place? There is endless beauty to be discovered in the world, and you have the opportunity to see it for yourself. Spend some time out exploring nature, or visiting the city’s art museums. Walk down to the beach or duck into a café for a few hours. The possibilities are endless! Go ahead and check some items off your bucket list (and get a few Instagram pictures while you’re at it).

Home will still be there when you get back.


Thai dance class
Thai Dance class final performance in Chiang Mai, Thailand | Photo by TEAN staff

When you let yourself be open to new experiences, you’ll be able to get the most out of your time abroad. Being surrounded by an unfamiliar culture is unique, and though it can be uncomfortable at times, it is an incredible learning opportunity. Things like dining etiquette, personal space, appropriate dress and proper greetings may all be different than what you’re used to in America. You’ll be able to come back home and appreciate all the cultural differences you noticed while you were abroad.

Getting to interact with local people while in a foreign country is one of the most special parts of an international experience. Whether or not you speak the same language, you’ll find ways to connect with people from all walks of life. Take a moment to ask how someone’s day has been (even if it’s all you know how to say). Help someone carry groceries to their car. Tip a little extra at your favorite café. The little things go a long way…you may even make a new friend!


A big part of experiencing a different culture is eating the food. An entirely new array of choices will be available to you and with adventurous spirit you can try them all! From fried street foods to delicious desserts, you’ll have plenty of options to explore. If you have your own kitchen, you can even try making your own version!

Korean food in Seoul
A meal in Seoul | Photo by Yusra Adam, University of Colorado Denver


You’ll meet tons of people on your program who all have the same mindset about wanting to see the world and have an adventure. Making friends in this environment allows for you to really connect with people because you’re all open to new things and wanting to make the most of your experience. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your peers–chances are they’ll be excited to meet new people, too! You’ll have the opportunity to meet other Americans as well as local students and make lifelong friends. From late nights studying to late nights out on the town, your peers are with you through it all.

Jumping people on Wye Creek trail Queenstown New Zealand
Hiking the Wye Creek Trail in Queenstown, New Zealand. | Photo by TEAN alum Teagan Hipp, University of Wisconsin-Madison who studied at the University of Otago in Fall 2018


Whether you complete an internship abroad or earn credits at a highly ranked university, international experience will look great to future employers (and is a great talking point to form connections). We are living in an increasingly globalized world, so widening your worldview and being able to display cultural sensitivity is a valuable asset in your professional life. It also shows that you are willing to take risks and be bold.

When you return home, be sure to find a Lessons From Abroad conference near you to learn how to process and articulate your overseas experience.

ICMS campus and student
Last day of classes at ICMS. | Photo by TEAN alum Arial Aarness, Iowa State University


Studying in a different country means having access to courses that are not offered at American universities. Take advantage of the learning opportunities that are out there! While it’s important to make sure you are taking courses that will count towards your home university’s requirements, you will likely also be able to choose unique elective courses. This is also a great way to better understand the country you are studying in. Here are some of our insider course recommendations:


Studying abroad forces you out of your comfort zone and changes the way you think about the world. You’ll gain a renewed feeling of independence. Learn to rely on yourself to navigate the world and work through difficult situations, and come back home with a better understanding of who you are and what you are capable of (and be able to tell all your friends about the time you bungee jumped in New Zealand or hung out with elephants at an animal sanctuary in Thailand!).

There’s a certain sense of finding yourself that only comes from getting out of your element and being open to experiences and ways of thinking. No wonder you’ve probably heard someone say “study abroad changed my life” –it’s a cliché for a reason!

Don’t hesitate to take the leap (and a flight or two) and get out there. We’re here to help you along the way. The world is waiting!

Start planning your semester or summer with our Program Finder.