4 Reasons Why I Decided to Study English Abroad (And Why You Should Too)
Take a good look at a world map. At first glance, can you tell how big the world really is? Now imagine yourself living and studying in a completely foreign city; a place you’ve never been. How do you think that experience can shape your life?
It took years of studying and working for me to realize that the best product I could ever invest in was myself. True, you can achieve a temporary sense of happiness when you spend money on a new pair of shoes or a bag, but when you invest in yourself you build the foundation for a happier and more successful life. And it was the drive for that long-lasting happiness that pushed me to study English abroad.
I knew it was an experience that would help me with my career progression and prepare me for the professional world, but little did I know that this experience would impact so many other aspects of my life and shape how I define myself as a person.
1. A new city to explore
It didn’t take me long to decide on the destination. London had all the things I was looking for, from theatre and art to its historic culture. But it was a bit scary making the move; I didn’t want to visit landmarks by myself, my ability to read a map was not as strong as I would like it to be and even using my smartphone would prove to be difficult.
Luckily, the Kaplan program included a social program, which is a complete schedule of activities during the week based around the specific city you are studying in. I got to live the life of a tourist and the life of a local simultaneously, discovering historic landmarks and nearby cities through the social program, while getting to know the ins-and-outs of the city just by living there for a long period of time.
2. Becoming a citizen of the world
Studying English abroad not only helped me get the language skills I needed to keep exploring the world, but it was also my first immersive experience in a new country. Coming to London on my own was a bit unnerving at first, but I now have friends from all over the world and we still keep in touch.
We’ve planned Kaplan reunions in thee different countries to get to know each other’s cities and cultures, we have a WhatsApp group to update each other on our lives and every time someone comes to London we meet again in one of the pubs close to the schools. As an added bonus, they are all working professionals and I’m now part of that extended network.
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3. A chance to experience the world in English
The longer you live in any new place, the more it starts to feel like second home. When you study abroad, you’re not just a student, you’re a local. I got to know the English life and fell in love with it; the city and the atmosphere here were essential to my studies, but they also proved to be so much more.
I have seen at least six of the musicals in the city, from Lion King to Phantom of the Opera. I went to an England vs. Portugal football game. I did the Harry Potter walking tour, explored the city every day after classes and studied in the city center. I even tried real Korean food with a Korean friend (it was really spicy!), went to clubs, bars and restaurant and shared many toasts with my friends.
We were surrounded by the language. Even going to the pub for a few drinks forced me to exercise my English skills. Learning to speak English made me feel confident enough to truly experience London.
4. An investment in my future
I studied at Kaplan in London for 3 months, starting in Upper Intermediate and finishing in Proficiency. I spent a few weeks on the Business English course, which was really good preparation for applying to jobs in the UK.
Job candidates that are fluent in English have better access to well-paid international careers and can even earn up to 50% more just because of their skills. Learning English was the key ingredient to making my dream a reality. I’ve now been working for the same company for a year and a half and I’ve had the chance to progress through different departments and positions.
Ultimately, my time abroad reminded that the world goes so much further than my own backyard. Trust me, it’s not hard to get lost in your daily life and forget there is so much more to be discovered. So what’s holding you back? Get out – learn and see the world. I promise it will a better experience than you ever could have imagined.