Each year, over one million students from around the world study for a period of time outside their home countries. Over the past ten years, the number of American students who have joined ranks with those students going abroad has doubled. Colleges and universities across the U.S. recognize the benefits of study abroad as part of the curriculum. This opportunity to experience different cultures is invaluable, helping to prepare you for participation in a truly global 21st century.
So what does this really mean to you? Simply put, it gives you the opportunity to explore the world on your terms: You choose your destination; you choose the program; you choose what you get out of a study abroad experience. No matter your degree, you should consider the benefits of international study, possible internship, and active participation in a foreign culture.
Below are some of the many reasons students, faculty, and study abroad advisors cite as important for studying abroad:
- Study abroad is an excellent way to achieve proficiency in a foreign language, or even to begin study of a foreign language. Americans are notorious for being behind much of the world when it comes to speaking other languages. Students who study abroad in a non-English speaking country may use the society at-large as a language lab in which to perfect their language skills. Upon return, students are better prepared to read, speak, and to conduct research in their target language.
- Study abroad provides significant participation in another society gives students a special understanding of another part of the world, one that cannot be gained from traveling as a tourist or from reading a textbook.
- Study abroad may have enormous personal benefits and contribute substantially to individual psychological growth. Students often achieve a greater maturity, independence, self confidence, cosmopolitanism, and deeper appreciation for and understanding of their place in the world.
- Study abroad can prepare you effectively for a career in an increasingly global marketplace and expand your vocational horizons. The practical cross cultural skills that you develop overseas, your exposure to diverse cultures, your resourcefulness and flexibility, and your initiative, can set you apart from other candidates competing for positions in graduate and professional schools or jobs with companies and organizations.
Study abroad will open up a world of opportunities and experiences!