By Deborah Vieyra
If you are sitting on the fence about whether to apply for a fellowship abroad, I have two words for you: do it! Traveling internationally to further your education in your chosen field is an experience that cannot be compared to any other. You will learn so much about yourself and others and be able to bring back knowledge to your home country that you cannot learn in any book. Not to mention, an international fellowship can provide you the financial and logistical resources needed for a professional or academic experience in a foreign country.
Should you need further convincing, here are five reasons why you should start working on your application for a fellowship abroad today:
#1 Gain a broader understanding of other cultures
In today’s increasingly globalized world, it is crucial that you gain a broad understanding of those whom you share this planet with. By doing a fellowship abroad, the experiences you have both in and outside of the classroom will bring you face to face with different ways of thinking. You will gain new insight into the perspectives of others, allowing you to find both surprising similarities and fascinating differences. Deepening your empathy towards people who are different from you is vital to fostering peaceful societies.
#2 Add invaluable experience to your resume
Yes, an international fellowship may be the ideal way to fund your postgraduate study, but this is not the only benefit. A fellowship abroad will stand out on your CV. Right off the bat, prospective employers will be impressed that you were selected from a large group of fellowship applicants to further your knowledge in your field. They will also be aware that you are more than likely adaptable to new environments and are able to effectively communicate with a range of different people.
#3 Connect with professors and mentors from the world’s top universities
By doing a fellowship abroad, you are sure to encounter those at the top of their disciplines. These meetings may very well form into lifelong connections with inspiring people who may be highly influential when it comes to the development of your career. These connections will help you stay in touch with the latest global trends and developments in your field, and provide a broad range of networking opportunities. You may even meet the real-life versions of the people whose work you have been devouring for all these years!
#4 Be an ambassador for your country
Sometimes it takes leaving your home country to fully understand what is so magical about it. Having some distance provides you with a unique perspective that you may not have gained when looking at the picture from too close-up. When you see the wonder of your home with new eyes, you will want to share it with others.
#5 Grow lifelong international connections
One of the best aspects of doing a fellowship abroad is that you will forge friendships that may last for the rest of your life. These may be with classmates, with mentors, or with other fellows whom you meet along the way. Some of these connections will survive distances and time, knitting you firmly into a global community.
Doing a fellowship abroad is an experience unparalleled to any other. While the application process may seem daunting at first, it is worth wading systematically through the steps that will get you there. If you need help getting started, ProFellow has outstanding resources available that will help you every step of the journey.
The internet is full of experiences that are billed as “life-changing,” to the point that the phrase often feels quite hollow. But to do a fellowship abroad is to have your life changed in the most positive way. Do yourself, and your future international friends, a favor, and get that fellowship application out today.
Deborah Vieyra is a Fulbright alumna from South Africa who completed her MA in Applied Theatre Arts at the University of Southern California. She now works as a writer, proofreader and performer in Vancouver, Canada.
© Victoria Johnson 2018, all rights reserved.