A liberal arts degree is considered financial suicide once you graduate and enter the job market. The need for Dante scholars and deconstructionist film critics is at an all-time low, and the phrase job market instills about as much confidence in people these days as the chance the Chicago Cubs will one day win the World Series again. However, one of the best ways to get a liberal arts education as well as sweeten your prospects with future employers is to study abroad.
Europe has more art, architecture, music and history than you could ever see in a semester. At the same time, international internships, cross-cultural skills and global awareness are the types of bullet-points potential employers love to see on a new graduate’s resumé. In other words, it’s a win-win situation; you can have your liberal arts cake and eat it too. So apply for a passport and visa, pick a country, buy a reliable study abroad insurance policy and put to rest any worries that your thesis on Jacques Lacan will result in a lifetime of burger flipping and bartending. From the frivolously fun to the stoically serious, here are six reasons you should study in Europe.
1. Plopping yourself down in a foreign country without knowing a single soul takes confidence. In other words, it’s a character-building experience or—as the Germans say—a bildungsroman, which is a word you’re going to want to know if you’re studying in Berlin. Independence and self-awareness are characteristics no classroom can teach.
2. As the U.K. band the Eurythmics stated back in 1983, this is your chance to “travel the world and the seven seas.” Well, maybe not the seven seas; still, the chance to travel extensively is one of the highlights of studying abroad. From the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Great Wall of China and the ghats of Varanasi, if you see these attractions when you’re young, there will be no reason to make a bucket list later on. And if you opt to study in the U.K., chances are you’ll be singing that Eurythmics classic when you go out pub hopping on a Friday night.
3. Traveling abroad increases your career opportunities in the global marketplace. Simply getting your foot in the door is not enough anymore; you need to kick the door down. That’s competitive edge.
4. Learning a second language is one thing, but mastering a language and using it in everyday conversation is something else entirely. Whether it’s Spanish, German or Chinese, being fluid in a second language can be a career boost. Many companies have openings and positions around the world, so when that coveted IT firm wants to place you in the South of France, just say merci.
5. Isn’t it about time you understood what all the hoopla is about football (a.k.a. soccer) and why it’s considered the global game?
6. Ditto for techno music. You won’t go anywhere in Europe without hearing a 4/4 dance beat.
Traveling changes your perspective on the world. That’s the power of being introduced to new customs and cultures. At the same time, traveling also changes your perspective on America. To be able to see and understand America through the eyes of another culture is a valuable attribute to any future employer.