Recent research shows living in foreign nations brings greater clarity about who we are as individuals. Furthermore, those who study abroad reap benefits that translate to greater employability and success in most chosen careers. These results seem strongest when the student goes beyond the area of matriculation and explores the host nation’s culture. So, how do international students take their learning off-campus and into the wider world? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Arts and Culture
From galleries and museums to historic sites and points of architectural interest, colleges and universities are often located in areas rich with cultural attractions to explore. Take the time to tour local museums from the large and well known to the smaller and more specialized. Visit fairs, festivals, patriotic celebrations, and religious observances you are unlikely to find at home. Treat yourself to plays, concerts, and other performing arts.
Natural and Outdoor Pursuits
Although many campuses include green spaces, you may find great pleasure in expeditions to outside attractions off-campus. Nature centers and wilderness areas offer insight into the local flora, fauna, and geology, which may be very different than what you have at home. Public pools, golf courses, zoos, and parks offer spaces to exercise or relax, as you wish. For the more adventurous, kayaking and canoeing, skiing, aerial parks, rock climbing, caving, or other excursions might provide the perfect way to learn about your new locale and entertainment options, while getting some exercise at the same time.
Local and Regional History
What do you know about the history of the town and region where you will be living? Historic sites and parks, or a stroll through an old cemetery, offer deeper insight. Heritage societies specialize in curating and sharing the history of their area of expertise. Some cities and towns offer walking tours and events that showcase the history of the area.
The Social Scene
An excellent way to get to know the people in your host nation is to go out among them and learn what they do for entertainment. For the health conscious, there are indoor athletics arenas, spas, and wellness centers. The more adventurous might enjoy physical or game-centered pastimes. If you are artistic, arts centers and communal creation events might be more to your taste. For the eclectic student, community centers and shopping venues provide opportunities to interact with the native culture.
Broaden Your Horizons
However you choose to experience your host nation during your international studies, look for the life of the place and the people who inhabit it. In learning more about them, you will also learn more about yourself, and how your own culture shaped you. This is knowledge you can carry home with you and have as your own for the rest of your life. Even though it is likely to be uncomfortable at first, immersing yourself in this new culture will undoubtedly expand your horizons and offer rich experiences unlike those you had at home.