66 Things You’ll Love About Studying Abroad

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Kiah Zellner-Smith
September 19, 2016

Today we’re celebrating our 66th birthday! Happy birthday to us!

We look young for our age, we know, but we’ve actually had more than six decades of extraordinary memories. Since our very first study abroad trip took place to Vienna in 1950 (when we were formerly known as the Institute of European Studies), we’ve changed the lives of more 110,000+ students!

From field trips and internships to film festivals and photo contests, the fun of learning and exploring hasn’t stopped, and we can’t wait to see what the next six decades have in store for us.

And we aren’t just celebrating ourselves, we’re also honoring the students, educators, travel experts, and industry leaders we’ve met along the way who have made IES Abroad who we are today.

In honor of this special day, we want to share with you 66 things you’re going to love about studying abroad. If you’re not sure what some of these mean exactly, we guess you’ll just have to study or intern abroad to find out!  

IES Abroad Student in Patagonia

1. Exploring ALL of Patagonia (see image, left)!
2. Realizing that you’re living your dream.
3. When you notice that strangers have turned into friends.
4. Food.
5. All the food.
6. Eating doner kebabs in the middle of Berlin.
7. Thinking you’re brave trying new food but actually don’t end up liking it (which is ok). 
8. Learning Irish dancing.
9. Getting lost somewhere, everywhere, and learning to appreciate it.
10. Seeing a show at the Sydney Opera House.

11. Feeding a wallaby an ice cream cone (see image, left).
12. Meeting your new best friend.
13. Accumulating lots of cool new stamps in your passport.
14. Being mistaken as a local.
15. Giving your friends major FOMO.
16. Crossing things off your bucket list (that you never even imagined would make the list).
17. Learning you can actually live out of a suitcase, and it’s awesome.
18. Realizing you like traditions other than your own (because Sunday Roast is amazing)!
19. Riding on the back of an ostrich in Cape Town.
20. Expanding your comfort zone.

21. Realizing that you’ve left home to better understand where you’re from.
22. Discovering that kindness has no boundaries.
23. Exploring new cafes and coffee drinks.
24. Shopping in a local bazaar and finding one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
25. Exploring nature like never before (see image, left). 
26. Learning a language by having conversations with the locals.
27. Giving directions in another language.
28. Conquering the local transportation system.
29. Learning how to make proper English tea.
30. Discovering who you really are.

31. When you start being inspired by the little things.
32. Gaining independence.
33. Learning you’re more resilient than you thought.
34. When you start learning as much outside the classroom as you do inside.
35. Being able to connect deeper with your new culture by disconnecting from what is familiar.
36. Learning that you can intern and be a valued part of a professional team.
37. Understanding that experiences are more valuable than things (see image, left).
38. When you discover that you need so little to truly live a lot.
39. Becoming a master at saving money so you can travel EVEN MORE!
40. Starting a new collection of memorabilia.

41. Finding your own hidden talents.
42. Reuniting with classmates abroad.
43. Gaining a second family. (Who says you can’t have two!?)
44. Homemade Spanish paella made by your host mother, or learning how to make your own (see image, left). 
45. Putting your GoPro to use.
46. Walking through the Louvre.
47. Climbing the Great Wall.
48. Riding a camel in the Sahara.
49. Tramping (aka hiking) in New Zealand.
50. Mastering "vosotros." 

51. Swimming with turtles in the Galápagos Islands.
52. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef (see image on left). 
53. Soaking up the Tuscan sun.
54. Hiking up Lion’s Head (Cape Town) to watch the sunset.
55. Participating in a Model EU.
56. Practicing calligraphy with a professional calligrapher in China.
57. Singing your heart out in a Vienna practice room.
58. Writing an article as an intern that makes the cover of the Dublin Daily Herald.
59. When you notice that your camera role looks like a magazine feed.
60. Learning the 24-clock and how to understand Celsius.

61. When your family or friends comes to visit and you’re the tour guide.
62. Punting in Oxford and learning how to make homemade scones (see image on left). 
63. Learning as much about a place as you do about yourself.
64. Finding all the best free activities and festivals.
65. Learning where all the free WiFi spots are.
66. When you return home and realize this is just the beginning of the rest of your traveling life.

You can do this—and so much more—when you study and intern with IES Abroad.

Ready to start your educational adventure? Apply now!

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Kiah Zellner-Smith

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