Benefits of Studying Away

Over the years, the study abroad experience has evolved from what was commonly a  privilege, junior year experience abroad studying a language . Today this opportunity is very accessible to students from a wide range of academic and financial backgrounds and has become integrated into the academic culture and curriculum. The importance of  having an international experience has moved from something "nice to do" to a must-have criterion in todays world where globalization is everywhere.


 Studying away in another country and culture and at a different campus of learning  is a great way to compliment the academic strengths of a students home institution.  Whether it is through a more field-based experiential learning environments where students are actively engaged with the subject they are studying or they go to a university larger than their one at home that offers different courses and perspectives, there are a multitude of ways that an international education can expand a students learning base and perhaps spark interest in a new one.
With advanced planning and communication with academic advisors to ensure that credit is awarded for all courses taken abroad, a semester or year away can keep a student on track for graduation and possibly allow them to add a major or minor depending on where they go.

Language Study

One of the most practical and immediate benefits of studying abroad is language acquisition.  Encourage your student to consider programs that provide an opportunity to study another language, especially in an immersive or semi-immersive manner.  In addition to the cultural insights that your child will gain, language skills are becoming an increasingly important differentiator among hiring managers.  Even if your child is not proficient, a solid working knowledge of another language indicates an openness to - and an appreciation for - other cultures which is a critical 21st century skill.  And if your child has not studied a language much at all, encourage them to start learning!

Career Benefits

 It is becoming increasingly challenging for students to set themselves apart from other candidates when applying for jobs.  Students and employers alike acknowledge that international experience on a resume is a competitive advantage in todays job market.  In many cases, students add professional experience to their resumes when they are abroad through internships and volunteer work, while earning credit.

Many companies have offices around the world and hire an international work force and so look for employees who know how to travel and to navigate another country and culture with relative ease and confidence.  Students who have spent several months abroad living in another country, versus travelling short term for vacation, are best prepared for the new realities of the work place today.

A study by the Institute for  International Education (IIE) of students who studied abroad from 2006-2011 found
  • 90% of study abroad students secured a job within six months after graduation (compared to 49% nationally)
  • 90% of students who studied abroad got into their first or second choice graduate or professional school.
  • On average, students who studied abroad earned a salary $7000 higher than those who did not study abroad.

Personal Growth

For many students, their time studying away is the first time they have been fully responsible for themselves.  While it is fun and exciting to travel to new places, it is also extremely challenging to negotiate all the facets of a new culture and create a daily routine in an unfamiliar setting.  The experience is full of excitement and frustration and a students personal growth increases and changes consistently throughout ttheir​ time away and continues long after they have returned.

The same IIE study referenced previously also found that students who studied abroad:
  • Developed confidence in their ability to navigate the world independently.
  • Made friends from their host country that can last a lifetime.
  • Learned things about the world that will have a positive impact on their career path for the rest of their life.
  • Became conversant, or even fluent, in a second language.