It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing an internship or study abroad program, having an international experience is something that will change your life. Starting a journey in a different country may sound a bit scary—and it is—but when you overcome the challenges that are part of this experience, you become a different person.

International experiences give you the chance to discover a new country, language, culture, people, and a lot more. Every day is different and exciting when you’re living abroad. From small tasks like going to the supermarket to larger ones like creating a global network, there is a lot to gain from your time in a new country. 

Here are five ways that you’ll grow as a person from your international experience!

1. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

The same café, group of friends, and even route you take to walk back home—it’s really easy to get stuck in a comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone will be one of the main challenges of your international experience. However, it’s also the best way to learn, grow, and boost your self-confidence.

When you accept the challenge of stepping into a completely different environment, you have the chance to open new doors you didn’t even know existed. 

2. Become More Independent

When finishing high school and starting college, you take a big step into adult life. From one day to the next, you start living by yourself and suddenly have to learn how to handle your own problems. Of course, it is still fairly easy to get some support from your family and friends when you’re in the same country.

International Experience can give you more independence

When you live abroad, though, you need to rely on your own skills—from cooking your food to taking care of the paperwork. Each of your activities needs to be taken care of by yourself. It might be hard in the beginning, but it’ll help you to grow and become an independent person. 

3. Learn About Different Cultures

We all know that each country has its own culture, right? However, it’s only when you experience the difference that you open up and learn more. 

The challenges start from the moment you enter the house where you’ll stay for your international experience and continue until the time of your departure. You will discover new aspects of the culture in every single situation you come across while abroad.

Learning about foreign cultures will give you the capability to understand different behaviours and mindsets. In the long term, this means you’ll be more capable of working in international teams and multicultural companies. 

4. Improve Your Soft Skills

While doing an internship or study abroad program, people usually focus on developing their hard skills—also known as technical skills. Learning about marketing analytics, coding, and project management are all hard skills that can impact a career. When you have an international experience, however, you also develop soft skills.

Soft skills are personal attributes that help people interact, communicate, and consequently work better. Leadership, problem solving, adaptability, and teamwork are some of the soft skills you will develop during your international experience. 

5. Develop a Global Network

Having a global network is a valuable advantage in the digitized world. When you live abroad—for either study or work—you’ll have the chance to develop an international professional network. 

Global connections can open tons of doors for future opportunities. International experiences are highly regarded by employers and can lead you to jobs in the best companies. 

Taking the step to live an international experience may sound too complicated, but it’s definitely worth it. 

Check out how the European Innovation Academy can help you have a life-changing international experience.