- study abroad keeps your status as a student, so you don't go into a loan repayment program
- when you use the study abroad option in Europe, apparently tuition is very low ($2000-4000) and thus, you are able to live comfortably while discovering / exploring the country
- since you are registered as a visiting student, you get benefits from a student visa that you would not otherwise get as a visitor
- you could stay for an extended period.
What he ended up doing was spending 4 years abroad (2 years in France and 2 years in Germany). He also happened to meet his future wife during this time. He returned to US having mastered two languages to complete his bachelor's degree. Then, he went onto get his masters degree and complete his premedical prerequisites for medical school. What great guidance he got! He was able to enjoy life and relax before embarking on a long medical path. In addition, he is probably a lot more worldly and mature. These traits are critical in the medical field because you work with ancillary staff, patients, etc. In retrospect, I think this is such a great alternative to the direct paths that most of us take. I think we forfeit our opportunities to go on these adventures when we just keep drudging along and looking forward to finishing training. The reality is that the hard part of life probably starts when we complete training.