For many students, the college years they spend in Germany are the most exciting and interesting times of their lives, but there are also academic benefits to studying abroad. Here are five interesting ways that studying abroad improves your education.
Changing your surroundings pays dividends
Studying in Germany means studying in a completely different educational environment. At first everything will seem strange. You may not have to come to class, and your instructor may tell you that your final grade will depend on one exam. You'll also find that expectations are very different - in Germany, your success depends almost entirely on how much work you put in.
Ultimately, though, you'll find that change can be a good thing. You'll grow intellectually as your brain adjusts to the new standards, and you'll gain valuable interpersonal skills by learning to navigate an unfamiliar system. You'll also realize something very important about the world - just because something is different from what you're used to, doesn't mean it's bad.
Routines are creatively stifling
There are many benefits to routine - regularity allows your to focus and helps to ease stress. But it can also limit your ability to learn and grow. When you move to Germany, you'll have to throw your regular routine out the window, and this can be a first step in developing a new, more creative outlook on your studies.
Experience a new world of ideas
Within the United States, we have certain assumptions about the way the world works, and this is reflected in our educational institutions. By studying abroad, you can break out your received worldview and see the world through new lenses. Regardless of what you decide to study, you can expect a different perspective from your professors and classmates in Germany than what you'd experience in the United States, and these opinions and values will help to give you a better understanding of the rich diversity of ideas out there.
Bilinguals see the world differently
A recent study found that German and English speakers literally see the world differently. When given a picture of a woman walking, German tended to see the action holistically, including both the action and destination, while English speakers only saw the action. By studying in German, you'll be able to see both vision of the world, an ability that will not only help you to grow as a person, but also see the different avenues that your education can open up.
Learn how to learn
Everyone has a different learning style, just like each teacher has a different approach. Unfortunately, many of us grow up without learning the best approach for ourselves. Maybe you're an auditory learner, but you've grown up with teachers who focused on the visual.
By going abroad, you'll have the opportunity to explore new techniques by experiencing the way that students from another country approach education. You may not like what you see, but adapting and finding out what works best for you is also part of the experience. This is a skill that will prove beneficial throughout your life - oftentimes the learning climate won't suit you, but if you can pivot and make it work for you, then you'll have dramatically improved results.