A study abroad experience can be benefited by your previous education, past work experience and your level of intelligence… somewhat! Over the many years we have been working in this field, what we have come to find out is that the attitude of the student is one of the key factors in determining their success, and ultimately, what they get out of the experience!
We recently came across a study by Psychologist Carol Dweck and her findings couldn’t be more relatable to what we too have found out. In one of her latest studies, she found that attitude is a better predictor of success than IQ. She explained that people’s ‘core attitude’ falls into two categories; a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
To sum it up, she described a fixed mindset as somebody who believes they are who they are and they cannot change this. Where as, those with a growth mindset believe that if they put in the effort, they can improve. Her study found that the people with a growth mindset outperformed those with a fixed mindset primarily because they are more likely to embrace challenges; seeing them as opportunities to learn something new as opposed to a cause to give up!
For us, this makes total sense. Students who study abroad will encounter many novel situations and come face to face with a brand new culture. Obviously, this is bound to bring challenges with it, and so we really see the value of having a positive attitude or as this study suggests: a growth mindset.
The conclusion that Dweck came to was that no matter how intelligent one may be, without perseverance / a growth mindset, you may not be as successful! Dweck also said that the deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. She said people with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms and she describes their approach to failure as:
“Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’
This pro active attitude is what we encourage our students to have when they arrive, and so…
How can you employ a growth mindset when you study abroad?
- Expect success. People with a growth mindset know that they’re going to fail from time to time, but they never let that keep them from expecting results. Believing that you’ll be successful keeps you motivated and makes success more likely!
- Be adaptable. Not everything will go the way you plan it to. Adjusting to situations is a big part of success, because you have to learn how to overcome unexpected challenges and still get results!
- No complaining. This may sound simple but if you complain and take the negative perspective, you are most likely missing the reason as to why this situation can actually better you. A growth mindset would see the opportunity in every part of the struggle!
- Observe. Lastly, a good way to know if you are improving is to analyze how you respond to situations. To be aware of your attitude and to consciously build on your weaknesses to change your mentality!
A study abroad trip is a life changing experience. With a strong attitude, there are no limits to what you can achieve! We provide many rewarding and adventurous experiences in Spain. To find out more about the different programs you can undergo, click here.