Benefits of Study Abroad
Like most parents, you probably have some reservations about sending your student away. Know, however, that a study abroad experience will help your student mature personally and academically and return from his or her experience more responsible, independent, and better-equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century.
Returning students report the following benefits from their time overseas:
- Intellectual maturity
- Appreciation for their own culture
- Desire to pursue new and challenging educational experiences
- Improved ability to communicate across cultures
- Increased desire to speak a foreign language
- Increased sense of independence and responsibility
- Desire to distinguish themselves from others when pursing higher education or career opportunities
- Exposure to new perspectives and ideas about the world
- Discovery of new cultures while earning college credit toward their degree
Read what others say about the importance of a study abroad experience:
Study abroad is a wonderful opportunity for your student to learn about a new culture, foreign language, increase self-confidence, and ultimately prepare your student to be more academically competitive. No matter where your student goes abroad, the experience will translate into tangible academic benefits. For example, your student will have the chance to:
- Use a foreign language on a daily basis with native speakers
- Learn from different teaching styles
- Explore new subjects not offered at his/her school
- Practice cross-cultural communication
- Study world events from various perspectives
Regardless of where your student is in their education, study abroad will prepare him/her for the next academic level. International study provides an incomparable academic challenge that will lead to higher academic performance in the classroom upon return. A study abroad experience is also valuable if your student is planning to go to graduate school. The experience abroad will show graduate school admission officers that your student has the initiative and eagerness to challenge him/herself academically and personally. Many graduate schools recognize study abroad and global exchanges as invaluable experiences. Additionally, mention of time abroad will help your student’s graduate school application stand out among their peers.
The skills your student gains from study abroad will help prepare him/her for a future career. Your student will gain a variety of skills that can be applied to diverse career fields. By going abroad, your student will:
- Learn from students from different cultural, ethnic, and national backgrounds.
- Communicate effectively across cultures
- Experience new ideas and philosophies
- Master a foreign language
- Adapt to new environments
- Look at projects and situations from different perspectives
- Understand diverse cultures
- Gain self-confidence
The job market for graduating students is extremely competitive. Students must be prepared to compete not only nationally but internationally as well. Students outside of the United States begin learning English along with their native tongues almost as soon as they are born. They are also being trained in similar subjects as your student. Understanding that these international students will be significant competition for your student, a study abroad experience can provide your student with the necessary tools to even the playing field. A study abroad experience on your student’s resume will help distinguish him/her from his/her peers.
Many students who have studied abroad say that it was an amazing experience that changed their lives; a study abroad experience may have the same affect on your student. Study abroad allows your student to learn and grow in many ways. By studying overseas, your student will return with:
- Increased self-confidence
- Increased maturity, both personally and intellectually
- A better understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses.
- A desire to learn more about his/her own culture.
- Learn to creatively solve problems
Studying abroad is a healthy challenge for your student. Why?
- Your student will be removed from his/her comfort zone and placed in a foreign environment
- Your student will be exposed to new social and academic customs
- Your student might not speak the language
- Your student will have to make new friends
There are ups and downs to study abroad. Learning from the challenges study abroad presents will give your student greater self-awareness and help with his/her personal growth. Your student will return home with a new sense of independence and more confidence. Your student will be better equipped to face many of the challenges he/she will encounter at school and in his/her career.