The Surprisingly Top 6 Studying Abroad Pros And Cons (2024)

A woman is standing on a grassy hill.

Are you thinking about studying abroad? Curious to know what it’s really like beyond the glossy brochures and Instagram posts? As an experienced traveler and someone who studied abroad in Italy during my college years, I’ve been through it all – the highs, the lows, and everything in between. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing the untold truths of studying abroad pros and cons that nobody tells you about.

When I embarked on my 90-day adventure in a small Renaissance town in Italy, little did I know the impact it would have on my life. It opened my eyes to a newfound love for travel and ignited a sense of confidence in myself that I never knew existed. But let me be real with you – studying abroad can be exhausting, especially if you’re an introvert like me. The constant socializing, adapting to a new culture, and being away from the familiar can take a toll on your energy reserves.

Now, I want to make it clear that everyone’s experience will be different. These advantages and disadvantages I’m about to share are based on my personal journey, but they might resonate with you too. So, if you’re about to leave for a semester abroad, this blog post is here to equip you with the knowledge you need before setting off on your program.

ProsCons
A New Deep Love For TravelPost Return Depression
Find Confidence In YourselfIt’s Exhausting For Introverts
Gaining Personal GrowthYour Schedule Is Packed

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Let’s Go Over The Pros And Con List!

Pro 1- You Might Have A New Deep Love For Travel

A woman in glasses standing in front of a pyramid.

Like I just said I ended up with a passion for travel and am consumed by it. It’s all that’s on my Pinterest and Instagram and I even started to learn more about geography! I even created a bucket list of more places I want to visit soon. I love learning about new countries, their landscapes, architecture, foods, culture, and what they offer in the world. Language is something that I’m still struggling with but I am trying to learn Spanish. 

Italy will always hold a place in my heart and I hope to make it a regular place I visit. I just can’t get over the food, cobblestone streets, and the scenery. The friendly people and street cats help as well. Plus the fact that they have so many different topographies amazes me. Studying abroad has opened my eyes to how big the world actually is and how easy it is to go to different parts of it.

Before this whenever I traveled it was always a family trip that someone else planned and I just handed over my money. Since then, it’s brought into perspective that most countries (for Americans at least) are just a flight booking away!

Yes, you have to plan where you’re going to sleep and how to get there but the process is simpler than I thought. Like most things, unknown experiences always seem harder than they are. Also, is it just me or do places you’ve never been to seem fake until you’re actually there?

Check out The Best Gifts for Study Abroad Students!

Pro 2- You May Find Confidence In Yourself!

Cliffs of moher, ireland.

Something I did not prepare for studying abroad was finding confidence in myself after. When I came home and found myself in stressful situations I would find I was saying “You can get through this Kaylee! You walked the streets of Pairs by yourself for 4 whole days!” in my head. I would say things like this when I needed to get through tough times or was scared when I was alone out at night.

I used this method to remind myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. Sometimes I still can’t believe I was just walking around the streests of Europe alone. I got most of my confidence when I had the opportunity to solo travel on weekend trips and let me tell you, they were life-changing.

You have probably heard of female solo travel before and how it’s the best thing in the world, well it 100% is and I highly recommend it to every woman out there! You just gain so much mentally and emotionally afterward and grow as a human. Another way I gained confidence is by remembering the fact that I hopped on a plane and flew to a different country to live full-time, all by myself.

Travel in general forces you to leave your comfort zone and expand your thinking, there is no one way to do things, and experiencing different cultures shows you this. The more we open up to leaving our comfort zone and trying new experiences the more our confidence in ourselves will grow.

Find Out The Best Places To Study Abroad In Europe!

Pro 3- You May Gain Personal Growth

A woman holding an umbrella in front of the colossion.

One of the undeniable benefits of studying abroad is the personal growth that you experience. Being away from home and in a new environment can be challenging at times, but it also pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to adapt and grow. Personally, I have been amazed by how much I have grown during my study abroad experience and even after returning home.

One aspect of personal growth that I have noticed is my increased ability to embrace empathy. By living in a different country and interacting with people from diverse backgrounds, I have learned to see things from different perspectives. This has not only helped me understand others better but has also allowed me to become more empathetic towards their struggles.

Studying abroad has taught me valuable techniques for managing stress. Living independently in a foreign country requires a lot of responsibility and can be overwhelming at times. However, through this experience, I have learned effective ways to cope with stress such as time management, prioritizing tasks, and seeking support when needed.

Cultivating a growth mindset is another aspect of personal growth that I have gained through studying abroad. Being in a new environment comes with its own set of challenges and setbacks. However, instead of seeing them as failures, I have learned to view them as opportunities for learning and improvement.

Lastly, studying abroad has taught me the importance of self-care. With all the excitement and new experiences that come with living in a different country, it’s easy to neglect our own well-being. But by taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally, we can come back home feeling refreshed and ready to take on any challenges that come our way.

Con 1- It’s Exhausting For Introverts!

A woman standing on a wall with a view of a city.

As an introvert and homebody, I knew I would be around people in classes. A normal school semester is about 4 hours a day of classes, and school in Italy was no different. But abroad it felt as if I was around people and socializing from sun up to sun down. 

The difference was that 1. the school day stretched due to having morning and afternoon classes. And 2. we had to walk in and around town to get to different places throughout the day. See I usually pack my classes in the morning so I have the rest of the day to myself. Plus living in a dorm with 7 other girls was something I was not used to. 

Here my day went like this. I would wake up and share a bathroom with girls, walk to the cafeteria, and socialize with people at breakfast. Then walk to my morning class and be around all my classmates. Afterward, I would go back to the cafeteria and be around more people for lunch. I would repeat the same thing for the afternoon; class then cafeteria for dinner. 

Before you know it, it was 8 pm and dark outside. I’d head back to the dorms where I got ready for bed around (you guessed it) more people. Then finally I got my few hours of alone time in my room before dozing off to do it again the next day.

My hack for this was cutting out the number of times I had to walk to the cafeteria in town. I would buy cup noodles, croissants, and orange juice from the grocery store. This way I could eat breakfast and lunch in my room alone a few days a week and only have to go into town for dinner.

Here Are My 2 Regrets When Studying Abroad. Don’t Make The Same!

Con 2- Your Schedule Is Packed!

A woman is standing on a bridge overlooking a river, reflecting on her study abroad experiences.

There are so many study abroad bucket list things to do. Aside from classes and school work during the week, we also had field trips almost every Thursday. Plus some weekends were class trips to cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence. That left most weekends to myself, BUT when in Europe you don’t want to pass up the opportunity to see other countries.

I was lucky enough to visit 4 other countries on my free extended weekends. They were Spain, France, Switzerland, and Ireland. This meant that I only had a handful of free restful weekends that I was grateful for. I used them to do laundry, sleep in, be a loaf in my room, and watch shows on Netflix.

Something that I noticed is that when you get back home, you feel uneasy not being so busy all the time. It’s a lifestyle that you get used to and want to keep at it. I spoke with my friend that I made while there after getting back home and she felt the same way. We were both filling our schedules trying to create the same effect and 3 years later it still hasn’t worn off!

The amount of travel you do in a short amount of time also affected the need for travel I feel now at home. Before studying abroad I was quite content with my once-a-year vacation to the same destinations. But now after an adventure, it’s not long before I’m starting to crave the next new place to see!

Here Are My 6 Study Abroad Weekend Trips and Their Budget Breakdowns!

Con 3- You May Develop Post Return Depression!

A woman in a bikini enjoying a beach study abroad trips in front of a building.

Lastly when returning, having reverse culture shock could lead to post-return depression and that was definitely the case for me. I was shocked that I lived this totally different life for the past 3 months where almost every single thing was different. But when I got back home literally every single thing was the same and exactly how I left it. 

While I was gone I was extremely worried that my cat Willy (like a son to me) would forget who I was! Thankfully but surprisingly he didn’t and treated me just like the day he did that I left. It’s hard to write out what I went through but it was difficult to wrap my head around how nothing changed while I was gone. Yet I had changed and seen so much.

One of the struggles that I went through was that I wanted to talk about studying abroad soooo much even months after returning but I stopped myself for fear of sounding annoying or like “that girl that travels.” It took me almost more than a year to get back to a “normal” state.

Another obstacle I went through was I feared that those 3 months would end up being the best times of my life and there would be nothing as great or better to come and I was only 23 years old! I knew I could continue to travel but I felt like I would never be able to travel for 3 months straight and not worry about anything other than “where should I travel to this weekend”. 

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

– Mary Anne Radmacher (MORE STUDY ABROAD QUOTES HERE)

What I’d Do Differently

If I could give any study abroad tips to myself back then it would honestly be to start my blog sooner! Having a blog is a great creative outlet and I could have channeled all of that “after experience” into it to help me deal with what I was going through. I eventually found that travel was my passion and started the blog either way, so things worked out!

FAQs

Is Studying Abroad Stressful?

While studying abroad offers exciting opportunities for personal growth and cultural immersion, it can also bring about some challenges. From navigating a new culture and language to adjusting to a different education system, studying abroad requires adaptability and resilience.

However, with proper preparation and support, these potential stressors can be overcome, making the experience of studying abroad well worth it in the end.

Does Studying Abroad Make You Happier?

Studying abroad has its pros and cons, but one potential benefit is the increase in happiness it can bring. Immersing oneself in a new culture, making new friends, and gaining valuable experiences can lead to personal growth and fulfillment.

However, struggling with homesickness or adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings may present challenges. Consider weighing the studying abroad pros and cons carefully before embarking on this exciting journey.

I love my Travel Planner because it has everything I need to make a great trip!

Final Thoughts-

Knowing my studying abroad pros and cons you can have an incredible journey. It offers the opportunity to discover a love for travel and gain confidence in oneself. However, it can be tiring for introverts and comes with the challenge of managing a packed school schedule. I can attest to the life-changing experiences that await. Remember that personal experiences may vary, but the overall growth and cultural immersion make it a worthwhile adventure.

Happy exploring!

Kaylee Janell's signature

Read More About Studying Abroad!

43 Easy Study Abroad Bucket List Items To Do This Year!

43 Best Study Abroad Gifts For Students

Here Are My Top 2 Study Abroad Regrets: Don’t Do The Same!

6 Ultimate Study Abroad Weekend Trips On A Budget!

The Surprisingly Top 6 Studying Abroad Pros And Cons

How To Prepare For Study Abroad (Includes Checklist)

Best 15 Tips For Studying Abroad In Europe

The Best 50 Inspiring Quotes About Studying Abroad!

The Best Places In Europe To Study Abroad: Told By Students!

What they don't tell you about studying abroad.

What Are My Recommended Resources For Planning A Trip?

When planning my trip, I use my trusted trio of CheapOair, Viator, and Booking.com to provide a comprehensive solution for everything I need.

CheapOair is a go-to resource for affordable flight tickets. With its extensive network of over 600 airlines, it offers a wide array of choices, enabling you to easily compare prices and select the best deal that suits your budget and travel schedule.

Viator on the other hand, is an excellent platform for booking tours and activities. It provides access to thousands of sightseeing tours, attractions, and events in over 1,500 locations worldwide. It ensures you don’t miss out on the unique experiences each destination has to offer.

Booking.com is your reliable partner for accommodations. With over 28 million listings including hotels, apartments, and hostels, you can find the perfect place to stay that fits your budget and preference.

Together, these platforms make trip planning convenient, cost-effective, and fun. They ensure you have everything you need, from flights and accommodations to activities – at your fingertips.

Check Out My Resources Page For All My Recommended Travel Tools!

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