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Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Change, Guest Post, International Education, Study Abroad, Travel |

3 Reasons I Loved Studying Music Abroad

I love music, and I love to travel!  Who doesn’t?  So imagine how excited I was when I had the amazing opportunity to study music abroad.  Studying music abroad opened up my opportunities, my creativity, and my understanding of music in general.  Although there were trying times (language barriers, homesickness, etc), the pros far outweighed the cons.  I heartily encourage anyone who has the opportunity to study abroad to take it!  To show you what I mean, here are three reasons I loved studying music abroad.

Professional Contacts

From a career standpoint, studying music abroad was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.  I met many new people and was able to make substantial professional connections which have helped me greatly.  Having experience in a foreign country looks great on a resume.  It shows that I have cultural awareness, am not afraid of being in a new place, and am open to new experiences.  It also gives an added benefit of having professional references that span the globe!  But beyond the resume, I have real people, who are in my field, that I can draw on for support or for collaborations.

Renewed Creativity

Sometimes when you are stuck, you need to make a change.  Sometimes that change is in the way you think.  Sometimes it is a change in your relationships.  But sometimes you just need a change in your geological location.  Nothing is more freeing than moving to a new country.  Living abroad fosters creativity.  Every experience is new and different.  Even going to the grocery was eye-opening.  Being immersed in a different culture and listening to (and speaking) a different language creates new brain pathways which, I found, ultimately allowed me to be more creative in my musical pursuits.  I suddenly saw old theories in a new way.  I wrote differently, I spoke differently, and I played differently.  I was able to think ‘outside the box’ more than I ever had back home.

Historical Appreciation

Perhaps one of the best side-effects of studying music abroad was that I appreciated the history so much more.  Reading about people and places in a book is not the same as visiting a historically important place.  Listening to a concert in a 900 year old church is an experience I will never forget.  I could put myself in the shoes of the musical geniuses which had played there.  It was almost as good as performing in a castle, which is something else I got to do during my study abroad!

No matter where my career takes me, I know that studying music abroad has had a hand at getting me there.  The professional and personal connections I made abroad have been a source of help in all my endeavors.  I also feel like my creative side has blossomed since studying abroad.  Certainly my historical knowledge and appreciation for the talents that came before me has been heightened.  All in all, I wouldn’t exchange my time abroad for anything!

Amanda Perkins writes and edits the Study Abroad website She enjoys traveling, learning, and writing. She recently published a piece on Study Abroad in Norway.