Hanh has a Master's Degree in Economics. She spent six years studying and working in the United States.
As human beings are racing towards conquering the space and the term “global citizen” becomes the hottest trend, studying abroad is not only easier to do than ever before but also an essential part of a comprehensive education. After graduating from high school, I was offered an opportunity to pursue my further education in the United States, and it was the journey that completely changed my life. When I decided to return to my hometown after completing my Master’s Degree, I knew that I came back as a new person, seeing my old hometown with new eyes, having known the richness of growing and loving people in more than one place. So here are the reasons why my studying in the United States has been beneficial to my personal growth and future potentials.
- Best Learning Environment
- Explore 50 States in one Country
- Abundant Extra-curriculum Activities
- See New Wonderful Horizons with Your Own Eyes
- Acquire Useful Skills for Your Future Career
- Gain an Insightful Understanding of the Country’s Politics, Economy and Culture
- Spread Your Own Culture to the World
- Push Personal Limits
- Challenge Your Previous Perspectives
- See Kindness Everywhere
1. Best Learning Environment
It is no coincidence that the United States is the most popular studying abroad destination among international students. Glancing at any university ranking website, it is easy to see that the top positions are occupied by American universities. Combining with the freedom of expression, strict intellectual protection, transparent evaluation system and student inclusion in school governance, the United States certainly has the best learning environment. In addition to modern teaching equipment and the easy availability of research resources and materials, at an American university, you can always talk and share your ideas with professors who are the leading experts in their fields or your fellow college friends who are highly competent and share the same ambitions and ideas like you. When being surrounded by a purely academic environment, you can apply yourself to your study and advance quickly in your pursuit of knowledge.
In addition, a degree from an accredited college/ university in the United States is highly valued around the world, opening doors for you to pursue higher education or find employment in other countries. Hence, after graduating from an American university, students have a lot of opportunities to consider. According to the current US regulations, foreign students are allowed to work in the United States after earning an associates/ bachelors/masters’ degree in accordance with the Optional Training Program. If they prove to be a worth-keeping employee, companies can sponsor work visa for them to become long-term employees. Many schools have network in countries around the world that can help students to find jobs overseas. If students choose to go back to the home country, with the knowledge and skills acquired abroad, they can easily land high-paying positions in their country.
2. Explore 50 States in one Country
The United States is so big and diverse, and sometimes travelling from one state to another can be comparable to travelling to another country. Each state has its own unique history, natural conditions, state legislation, culture, and interesting places. Consequently, the people and job markets are also different across states, giving international students more chances to find out the community that suits them the most, while still enjoying the overall economic well-being, political stability, and strong rules of law of the United States.
3. Abundant Extra-curriculum Activities
As for American students, there are more in life than just books and lecture halls. Since the first days of the orientation week, the university is already packed with fraternity and sorority representatives, sport clubs and other clubs coming to recruit new members for their organizations. Throughout the school year, the school and student-governed organizations hold plentiful events for students to join in the field of sports, music, art, charity, politics, and economics and so on. The professors also encourage their students to take part in some specific extra-curriculum activities by giving them extra credits should they attend those events. As a freshman, I volunteered to go on a trip organized by Habitat for Humanity to help build houses for needy people in another state. During the trip, not only did I make new friends and do something meaningful together, but I also had a chance to travel to new places for almost free.
4. See New Wonderful Horizons with Your Own Eyes
This world is beautiful, brimming with fairy tales and opportunities; you probably heard people say something like that for a million times. However, not until when you really see this world with your own eyes that you truly understand how profound those words are. I had seen pictures and heard tales about the splendid Grand Canyon, the picturesque Miami beaches, the crowded streets of New York that never sleeps, the lonely but peaceful highways taking me to new adventures… Nevertheless, when I was actually there, I was still overwhelmed with a great sense of achievement, a feeling of being fully alive, and a longing for finding the missing pieces that would fulfill me. Travelling to new destinations is not always a comfortable experience, especially when on a student budget; nonetheless, with careful plan and a little spontaneity, it can always be a meaningful event that transforms you, leaving marks on your body, on your heart, and on your perception of the world.
5. Acquire Useful Skills for Your Future Career
Studying abroad does not just simply look impressive on your resume, you can actually learn many skills that are critical to your professional developments, increasing competency and future career potential. First of all, mastering a new language while living in a country where it is spoken will give you an edge over other candidates when applying for the same position. As for me, I had learnt English since I was in elementary school and was considered one of the top students in my class. However, I felt like that during my first year in the U.S, my English skills were enhanced more quickly than ever before because I lived with it every minute of the day. In addition, as you live in a foreign country, you will gain valuable multi-cultural understanding skills and experiences that allow you to work with people from different cultures. In today’s interconnected world, globally-minded employees are highly desired.
6. Gain an Insightful Understanding of the Country’s Politics, Economy and Culture
Although the United States is one of the most powerful countries in the world, extending its influence to the farthest corner on Earth, there is no better way to learn the core of its political, economic and cultural system than by living in America. During my study in the United States from 2006 to 2012, I personally witnessed the Great Recession which officially started at the end of 2007 with the housing bubble burst. Though it was one of the darkest times for Americans with falling income, rising unemployment and poverty, it provided economic students, and researchers with an exclusive opportunity to study a unique economic event, literally enriching the volumes of economic literature and allowing economists to bring up and test various hypotheses and theories. I also observed the Presidential Election in 2008, and 2012 from its beginning until its end and followed the heated presidential debates to understand how elections worked in the U.S and how the whole country was involved in the big national moments.
7. Spread Your Own Culture to the World
Going and residing in another country also means a chance to promote and spread your own culture and values to the world. There are various opportunities to do so in the United States, ranging from participating in numerous international student clubs, holding seasonal international festivals celebrating cultures from around the world to just simply being friends with Americans who are surprisingly friendly and genuinely interested in learning about the world. Through conversations with friends, presentations in class, and interaction with people, you can represent your own culture, introduce and foster your values and help to resolve many cultural myths and misunderstandings.
8. Push Personal Limits
When you live within your comfort zone, in your familiar town with your favorite people, there is little chance for you to find out how strong you are and what sort of extra-ordinariness that you can accomplish. Studying and living in the United States enable you to do things that you might never imagine you would, and you learn so much more from the times you stepped outside your comfort zones than any other times. Living in a foreign country constantly exposed you to risks and challenges, pushing you to perform at your peak and eventually forcing you to mature. In the United States, I learnt to be at peace with myself when feeling lonely, making friends with people speaking different languages and races, embracing diversity and differences, and standing up on my own after falling.
9. Challenge Your Previous Perspectives
At the beginning, newcomers will work hard to integrate into the new society, understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings, and creating a new identity for themselves. They let go a part of them to welcome the new culture, establish new habits and learn to appreciate the way Americans think and act, the qualities that make American the most powerful country in the world. Once they were accustomed to the new way of living, grew up and gained more knowledge from their own studying and researching, they could look back at their own culture more critically. International students can recognize the values of the things they used to take for granted such as their traditional family relationships, the complexity of their own language, or the reason why they do certain things in their countries. By being immersed in another culture, they understand and identify elements of their own traditions that are worth keeping and passing over.
10. See Kindness Everywhere
When reading breaking news or watching brutal Hollywood action movie, you might have the idea that the world is full of violence and danger. In fact, the world I saw in real life, especially on college campus was quite the opposite. My college was located in a small town with a population of less than 100,000, and it was such a peaceful and serene town where you could hear birds singing all day long, watch the stunning sunset while walking home from class, smell the gentle fragrance of cherry blossom in spring, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee in a snowy day. More than that, American people and other international friends also always showed great kindness and were always eager to be friends, open their doors to invite guests to their home and provide support. I have made lifelong friends and various precious encounters during my time studying and living abroad.
Studying abroad is a valuable chance for you to not only explore the world for yourself but also to grow up and become a better person, well-prepared for your future career. So grab your chance if you can and just go!