How to Leverage Study Abroad to Become a Global Citizen

The world faces global challenges that require global solutions.

It needs leaders who have the knowledge, understanding, and passion to make a difference on an international stage. It is more important than ever to develop your sense of global citizenship to have a lasting impact.

What is global citizenship? It is an attitude towards the world that involves seeing yourself as part of a wider global community and developing an understanding of the needs, desires, and challenges faced by others. Global citizenship will change the way you see the world and will open the way for exciting international opportunities throughout your life.

So how can you best leverage your time abroad to become a global citizen? Here are our top tips:

1. Immerse yourself in local communities by continuing a hobby abroad.

What do you spend your time doing on your home campus? Seek out opportunities to pursue your favorite activity in your host community as well. There’s no better way to make connections while you’re abroad than to find people who share your passions. Through your hobbies, you’ll make important personal connections and you may even learn to see your hobby in a new light.

2. Immerse yourself in local communities by trying something new.

Get out there and challenge yourself to experience something you’ve never done before. Take a dance class, join a local sports team, or learn to cook. The activities that your host communities place the most importance on offer incredible insights into their value systems and will give you unparalleled access to local cultures.

3. Document and reflect on your experiences.

One of the key attributes that sets global citizens apart from their peers is an acute awareness of their relationship to their surroundings. They understand their own values, perspectives, and biases and approach the world with an open mind. This understanding must be cultivated through reflection. Keep a journal, start a blog, or find a partner to actively process your experiences and the ways your perspectives are changing.

4. Learn a language.

Language is the key to culture. By learning to speak someone’s language, you will also learn to see the world through their eyes. By investing in your language skills, you will become a better communicator and will gain access to new opportunities for exploration, discovery, and personal connection.

5. Take an intercultural communication course.

Finding ways to get involved, reflect, and learn in an unfamiliar environment can be quite challenging to navigate on your own. The best way to maximize your time abroad is to enroll in an intercultural communication course that guides you through the process of immersing yourself in the local community and reflecting on your experiences. One such option is IFSA-Butler’s signature Community and Culture program, designed specifically to ensure that you come away from study abroad with a valuable new set of skills, experiences, and understandings to add to your toolbox. Through an intercultural education course, you will learn to articulate your experiences abroad in a way that will resonate with future colleagues and employers.

For more tips on how to maximize your semester abroad, sign up for your free study abroad consultation. We’ll help you articulate your goals and set you on track to picking the perfect study abroad program.

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