Studying abroad is at an all-time high. Not only is it the latest coveted experience for employers, but studies have shown that studying abroad can have a substantial impact on one’s mind and creativity.
The role of learning a language pays off, according to the Huffington Post. Learning languages benefits the individual personally and professionally, as it increases one’s access to people, places, markets and ideas. Language formally benefits the environment through the ability to share environmental practices. Knowledge of another language also contributes to communication in the business and economic sectors. Language also contributes to political relations among governments and is indispensable in being assimilated into a new culture.
Learning a language can help an individual achieve his or her dreams in a variety of ways. Exploring a new language allows one to cultivate a more intimate experience when traveling, increases one’s accessibility to foreign recipes, art, literature and landscapes and can give vitality to new relationships.
To the delight of many students, scholars and societies, it has been recorded that learning a language influences the brain. A recent Swedish MRI study reveals that acquisition of a language increases the size of the brain, specifically in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.
Recent studies have also concluded that bilingualism improves the brain’s ability to multitask, delays the onset of Alzheimer’s and promotes creativity. Language learning assists in other intellectual areas, specifically math and music. Each language provides insight into a different society or worldview.
The benefits of studying abroad surpass the benefits of just learning a language, although language is a key aspect of the international experience. According to the Institute of International Education, or IIE, “international students in the United States and study abroad by American students are at an all-time high.” The number of U.S. students studying abroad has more than doubled over the past 15 years.
The IIE claims that international education is one of the most important components of contemporary society. “International education is crucial to building relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world. It is through these relationships that together we can solve global challenges like climate change, the spread of pandemic disease, and combating violent extremism,” said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We also need to expand access to international education for students from more diverse backgrounds.”
Studying abroad changes neurons, and it challenges one’s worldview in a way that may have not been previously acknowledged. Opportunities such as the Fulbright Scholarship, Critical Language Scholarship, Gilman Award and numerous others are renown for their prestigious international education programs. The focus on international education is steadily growing, and for earlier this year, the IIE launched Generation Study Abroad. This campaign aims to double the number of students who study abroad by the end of the decade, while increasing diversity and accessibility to international education.
– Neti Gupta
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