When challenged to move out of your comfort zone, your brain’s defense mechanism makes you focus on all potential negatives so you can stay within the ‘safety’ of your comfort zone. This is quite common when introduced to the idea of studying medical courses abroad in Europe. Those who adopt the growth mindset to thrive would look at why leaving their comfort zone and going abroad would be beneficial for them. The way someone can develop through traveling to new countries couldn’t be achieved by someone who remained in the same environment all their lives.
This is important for healthcare professionals like doctors and dentists, as situations that demand you to go outside your comfort zone is something you will continually encounter in the healthcare profession. Not only this, doctors and dentists take care of people from all over the world. So being better equipped on how to approach different people and cultures is vital. This article will scrape the surface of the incredible advantages of moving to new countries, especially Europe.
Learning a new language
Learning a new European language is an incredible opportunity that not a lot of people get. On the surface level, it just seems really cool. On a deeper level, scientists have found a large amount of physical, psychological, and social benefits to traveling, living and studying abroad. Psychology professor Marian who has studied multilingualism for over 20 years, states: “Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that knowing multiple languages has cognitive, neurological, and even economic, professional, and interpersonal advantages.” For example, Bilingual individuals of all ages show faster thinking and improved memory compared to monolinguals.
I’m sure that would be useful, to say the least, when you’re studying a challenging course such as medicine or dentistry for five or six years. Especially when you consider that medical students are estimated to learn around 15,000 words in their medical education, and people who are fluent in a foreign language also know about 15,000 words of that language.
Moreover, multiple studies have found that bilingual individuals are able to allocate and store different types of stimuli more efficiently. You can already picture how practical this would be in high-pressure situations, like patients coming into the accident and emergency ward. Or even calculating your next move in surgery. Sign me up.
Adapting to life in another country abroad will grant you a unique development in character. You would meet a diverse range of people, especially at these universities with international students from all over the world, enabling you to be more open-minded and have broader perspectives. Being able to treat every patient the same with reduced biases because of how culturally enriched you are is not only incredible; it will help you excel in all the different working areas in your life.
The growth in character you would obtain wouldn’t only affect how you treat other people. It directly helps you. A significant study has found that living and studying abroad increases self-concept clarity: knowing yourself and the type of person you are because living abroad “prompts self-discerning reflections on whether parts of their identity truly define who they are or merely reflect their cultural upbringing.”
After exploring the study after study, I reached the conclusion that there is a stupendous amount of cognitive benefits that are gained when an individual moves abroad. To help you out, I cherry-picked a few that are most relevant to benefit your career as a doctor/dentist:
Let’s start with the enhancement of creativity. People who learn in a multicultural learning environment were found to be much more creative than those who aren’t in a multicultural learning environment. You’ll get to know so many different cultures if you study abroad in international courses!
This boost in creativity is essential for the healthcare profession, as one of your primary roles would entail tailoring treatment for the patient that balances both their medical and personal needs. Another benefit is increased self-esteem and decreased intergroup anxiety.
Being able to be confident and sure of yourself in group settings is vital as a doctor/dentist, as healthcare is a multidisciplinary occupation that usually requires a team of people to manage treatment. Your input in a healthcare team is vital for the interests of everybody involved. Having that increased confidence in a group will help deliver better care to any of your prospective patients.
I understand that studying abroad is often a last resort however, there are many top European universities that are very popular for students like you.