Observing is not the same thing as experiencing. Although our world is now technologically interconnected, studying abroad is still an experience that cannot be conveyed through any other method. No matter how many pictures, online articles, books, or films one might read about another country; nothing can replace traveling abroad and being immersed in the culture of another country. Studying abroad is a unique experience that offers the opportunity for students to develop language proficiency, acquire first-hand knowledge of another culture, and gain a new perspective and world view.
One of the best ways to learn another language is to study abroad. The difference between learning a language in a classroom versus in an immersive experience is immense. One could spend four years studying a language throughout high school yet still not be fluent whereas one could study abroad for six weeks and return fluent in the language. Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to become immersed in another language and develop language fluency and proficiency. When a student goes abroad they are able to use the language as a means of actual communication as opposed to viewing it as just another subject.
Another benefit of studying abroad is that it gives students the opportunity to witness and experience another culture. If someone were to say that they knew all about Latin American, without ever having been there, then people would not likely take that person very seriously. There is much to be learned from traveling to another country. For example, what the people are actually like, what the food is like, what people enjoy, there country’s politics and how it affects their lives, and so much more. The world may be technologically interconnected, but technology has yet to supersede hands-on experience. Looking at a picture of a churro dipped in chocolate is by no means the same thing as eating the chocolate-covered churro in a cute café in Spain.