Travel really does broaden the mind, according to a study in the September 2013 issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
German college students were divided into three groups: some who studied abroad for two semesters, some who did so for just one semester, and a third group stayed in college at home.
Prior to leaving, the students filled out a questionnaire that measured five personality dimensions - Openness to Experience, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness. They also listed their social network.
Those who chose to travel abroad scored higher on Extroversion.
Those who scored high on Conscientiousness (being more likely to follow rules and complete tasks) chose one-semester trips.
Those who chose a full-year trip scored higher on the Openness to Experience rating.
On being assessed after returning from travel, the travelling students showed an increase in their Openness to Experience ratings, their Agreeableness (getting on with others), and their emotional stability compared to those students who stayed home.
It seems it was adapting to new experiences that made the travellers more open, more agreeable, and better able to cope with day-to-day changes.
If you're travelling overseas on an exchange, make sure you take out student travel insurance before you leave!