Living and studying in a country not your own can be an exciting experience. It’s certainly an adventure! In our current age of social media, coming in to contact with people from different backgrounds, languages, and cultures is easier than ever. At the same time, however, talking to someone or learning about something via technology (as amazing as it is) is not the same as being there in the flesh. Here are five things you’ll learn while studying abroad (in the flesh) at Hillsong College:
1. Communication Skills
Not everyone may be called to be a public speaker or preacher, but we’re definitely called to nurture and develop healthy communication skills in our local communities. Today’s world can be so polarised, and not everyone wants to listen to the other side. Studying abroad puts you into an environment where a lot of people will have different views that your own. This is a good thing! The world needs leaders who know how to listen, empathise, discuss, and respectfully disagree if necessary. Hillsong College is an environment where dialogue is encouraged, and healthy disagreement is valued, knowing that at the end of the day as the Church we’re here in spite of our differences to work together for the glory of Jesus Christ.
2. A Deeper Understanding of Different Cultures
Not everyone grows up the same way. Stepping outside of our own culture give us an opportunity to learn from the wisdom from others. There isn’t one way to lead a church, or to influence the business sector, or to produce an album. At Hillsong College you’ll have the opportunity to draw on a diversity of approaches, contexts, and methods. In the end, a greater understanding of other cultures actually works in your favour. If you’re only able to understand and navigate one environment then that’s going to limit your capacity and potential to fulfil what God has put in your hand.
3. A New Appreciation of Your Own Culture
While growing in your understanding of other cultures, you’ll also find a new appreciation of the culture that you come from. After realising the great things that are in every culture across the globe, you’ll begin to appreciate things that you’ve taken for granted growing up. Particularities of language, family traditions, social customs, and best of all the unique way that God has been working in the churches in your nation. This is a perspective on your own culture that can only be gained by interacting with cultures outside of your own.
4. Troubleshooting Skills
One of the things you quickly learn in an environment you’re not familiar with is how to deal with unexpected problems that arise. For example, moving to Sydney, you may not be able to have a car, so you have to quickly learn how to use the city’s great public transport system (buses, trains, ferries, etc.). Moving abroad teaches you to be both flexible and adaptable in almost every area of life, from time management, finances, serving in church, to pastoral care, building healthy relationships, and nurturing a strong and vibrant community around yourself. If you stay in the same place all the time, you’re likely to encounter the same sets of challenges. But, when you’re living abroad, you’re sure to encounter new challenges. These are opportunities for you to grow and become the versatile once-in-a-generation type leader you’re called to be.
5. International Career Appeal
The Church is a global movement and so it needs leaders who understand how to operate on an international level. Christian leaders who are making a global impact around the world are those who are able to embrace multiple perspectives, who can work collaboratively with people from a variety of (social, economic, cultural) backgrounds, and who can show both respect and openness for views other than their own. These skills cannot be gained by reading about other cultures from a textbook. They have to be lived. They have to be experienced for yourself.
Come study abroad with us at Hillsong College in Sydney!